Kiev mulls naming street after slain Kremlin-critic Boris Nemtsov

Kiev could soon honour slain Kremlin-critic Boris Nemtsov by naming a street after him, according to the Ukrainian capital's mayor Vitali Klitschko.

Nemtsov was fatally shot within view of the Kremlin last February, prompting thousands to take to the streets of Moscow in honour of the politician. Nemtsov, who was deputy prime minister of Russia during president Boris Yeltsin's presidency, had openly opposed Yeltsin's successor Vladimir Putin on many occasions such as his petition against the war in Chechnya and his opposition to Putin's backing of separatists in Eastern Ukraine.

Now Kiev's local authorities are mulling over the prospect of renaming a street after Nemtsov in recognition of his vocal support for Ukraine's efforts to resist the Kremlin's aggression.

"There is an idea to rename a street in Kiev [in Nemtsov's honour]," Klitschko told journalists at the international open architecture competition Terra Dignitas in Kiev yesterday.

Nemtsov had many ties with Ukraine's liberal politicians, joining the country's progressive Orange Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko as an adviser in 2005, after Yushchenko beat pro-Russian rival Viktor Yanukovych to be elected president. Nemtsov also compiled a report before his death, detailing evidence of Russian military presence in Ukraine, contradicting Putin's numerous denials that there are Russian troops in the country.

"He truly worked with our country and he wanted to see our state as a democratic one. We will not, under any circumstance, forget that and we have spoken numerous times with Kiev's chief architect about this matter," Klitschko said.

There has been no official publication of a motion in Kiev council to rename a street after Boris Nemtsov yet, however a mayoral endorsement is more than what he has received in his homeland of Russia where initiatives by friends and supporters to officially commemorate him have been put on hold by local government.

Independent Russian member of parliament Dmitry Gudkov asked the mayor of Moscow to honour Nemtsov with a memorial plaque earlier this year but was told that this would only be possible 10 years after a person's death, unless in cases where the president of Russia intervenes and endorses the plans himself.

Currently there is an unofficial tribute at the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky bridge where Nemtsov was shot where a small plaque which reads "Nemtsov Bridge" hangs. Supporters of Nemtsov have continued to bring flowers to the site since March, despite several vandalisation attempts by pro-Kremlin groups.

Five Chechen men were arrested in March, under suspicion of orchastrating Nemtsov's killing. The main suspect, Zaur Dadaev, initially confessed his involvement in the attack but then retracted his statement saying that he had made it under duress.

The investigation into Nemtsov's death continues, with Russian liberals such as Alexei Navalny, Garry Kasparov and Ilya Yashin branding Putin responsible for the death of one of his biggest critics.

Pro-Kremlin media, meanwhile, has flooded the airways with alternative versions, some suggesting Nemtsov's murderers were Islamists, the CIA or that the cause of his death was paranormal. Nemtsov's eldest daughter Zhanna Nemtsova has held pro-Kremlin media partially responsible for demonising her father, which led to his violent death.