Crowds gather in Moscow for march in memory of murdered Putin critic Nemtsov

Thousands of people gather in Moscow for a march in memory of murdered Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA (MARCH 1, 2015) (REUTERS) – Thousands of Russian opposition supporters were seen on Sunday (March 1) gathering for a march through Moscow in memory of Kremlin critic Boris Nemtsov, whose murder has increased concern about Russia’s future among opponents of President Vladimir Putin.

Thousands of people laid flowers and lit candles on Saturday (February 28) on a bridge near the Kremlin where the opposition politician and former deputy prime minister was shot dead late on Friday (February 27).

Nemtsov, who was 55, was one of the leading lights of an opposition struggling to revive its fortunes, three years after mass rallies against Putin that failed to prevent him returning to the presidency after four years as prime minister.

The opposition has little support outside big cities and Putin has now been Russia’s dominant leader since 2000, when ailing President Boris Yeltsin chose the former KGB spy as his successor, a role Nemtsov had once been destined to play.

Nemtsov, a fighter against corruption, had hoped to start the opposition’s revival with a march in Marino on the outskirts of Moscow on Sunday to protest against Putin’s economic policies and what they see as Russia’s involvement in the separatist war in east Ukraine. The Kremlin denies any role in the fighting.

Organisers announced a new plan after Nemtsov’s death.

The opposition said Moscow city authorities had approved the march from 3 p.m. (1200 GMT), allowing for up to 50,000 people, though the organisers say more could show up to march alongside the River Moskva.