Boris Nemtsov Place: Highgate junction named after Russian dissident who defied Vladimir Putin

Council leader Georgia Gould, Evgenia Kara-Murza and Evgenia's daughter  (Camden Council)
Council leader Georgia Gould, Evgenia Kara-Murza and Evgenia's daughter (Camden Council)

Camden Council has named a road junction after a Russian dissident who defied Vladimir Putin - despite him having little connection to the London borough.

Boris Nemtsov Place now stands in Highgate in honour of the man who served as deputy prime minister under Boris Yeltsin and later led the opposition to Vladimir Putin - who he openly criticised.

Camden’s Labour leadership said the move is also a stand in solidarity with Ukraine and all of the council’s parties have backed it. This is despite protests at the opening ceremony on Monday which called out the lack of connection and raised concerns that the monument could make Highgate a target and add to street clutter.

Mr Nemtsov was assassinated near the Kremlin in 2015 at the age of 55 and Highgate is the first place in the UK to follow a growing worldwide tradition to name landmarks after him. Points have been named in Washington DC, Vilnius, Kyiv, Bratislava, Prague, Sofia and Toronto in his honour.

Camden Council leader Georgia Gould said naming the junction of Highgate Road, Highgate West Hill and Swains Lane is a tribute to the “democracy, justice and peace,” Mr Nemtsov fought to protect.

She said: “In Camden we are proud of our radical spirit and our history of fighting for social justice, so I’m delighted that we are leading the UK in honouring Boris Nemtsov.

“Putin’s war in Ukraine reminds us how precious and precarious justice, peace and democracy are, and why we should never ever take these things for granted.”

The move was backed by Evgenia Kara-Murza whose husband Vladimir, a long-time supporter and friend of Boris Nemtsov, was arrested in April and put into jail for speaking against the war in Ukraine. Ms Kara-Murza attended the ceremony alongside her daughter.

She said: "I am deeply grateful to Camden Council and its leader Georgia Gould for commemorating a great Russian statesman, who gave his life fighting for a better future for his country.

“[I am also grateful for it] sending a powerful message of solidarity with all those Russians who, despite grave personal risks, refuse to be silent in the face of atrocities committed by the Putin regime and bravely stand up to its inhumane repressive machine."

Liberal Democrat councillor Tom Simon, leader of the opposition, said protests, while “annoying” for drowning out speakers, were also a welcome sign of what freedom Britain has that Russia does not.

He said: “It is about making a symbolic stand with Russian dissidents. It’s a small thing but a step that can add weight to something bigger.”