Russian Nationalists Vandalise Kremlin-Critic Nemtsov's Memorial

People walk past flowers at the site where Russian politician Boris Nemtsov was killed, with St. Basil's Cathedral seen in the background, at the Great Moskvoretsky Bridge in central Moscow March 9, 2015. Sergei Karpukhin/REUTERS

Allies of Kremlin-critic Boris Nemtsov, who was shot dead in central Moscow last month, are to pursue legal action after a Russian nationalist group vandalised the tributes at the site of Nemtsov's murder and accused the deceased opposition leader of being a "traitor" to Russia.

Earlier this week a group of seven people wearing St. George's scarves - Russia's alternative symbol of remembrance of the war dead - posted photos of themselves at the site of the Nemtsov memorial on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, scattering flowers and tearing pictures of the deceased. The group then spray-painted over a sign placed by mourners which unofficially refers to the site as the 'Nemtsov Bridge', before breaking it into pieces.

Russian online newspaper Gazeta identified the group yesterday as members of the self-proclaimed Russian liberation movement - SERB, who declare themselves patriots seeking to "combat traitors to Russia in any form".

Ilya Yashin, a friend of Nemtsov's, as well as a vocal member of the RPR-PARNAS party which Nemtsov led, was one of those who has condemned the acts, referring to the vandals as "cowardly scum".

"Even in death [Nemtsov] sticks in your throat," Yashin tweeted along with images of the vandals proudly holding up pieces of the dead Kremlin-critic's tribute sign.

Какие-то трусливые мрази разгромили мемориал Немцова на мосту у Кремля. Даже после смерти он им поперек горла стоит.

— Илья Яшин (@IlyaYashin) March 24, 2015

"Here are the degenerates desecrating Nemtsov's memorial. The photo is literally taken where our comrade was shot," Yashin also posted, as other activists vowed to bring new flowers and maintain the tribute.

Какие-то мрази пытались разгромить мемориал Немцову на мосту и выкинуть цветы. Самое время завтра принести туда свежие цветы.

— Tikhon Dzyadko (@tikhondzyadko) March 24, 2015

Yesterday evening Yashin tweeted that by the end of the week the RPR-PARNAS party's attorney would file a legal case against the desecration of Nemtsov's memorial in the Russian federal investigative committee which is currently overseeing the criminal investigation behind the murder.

"We will call in the freaks," Yashin added referring to the nationalist vandals.

The leader of the nationalist group Igor Beketov, who uses the pseudonym Gosha Trasevich, has since appeared on Russian radio station Govorit Moskva, vowing to attack the Nemtsov memorial again. According to him the bridge is a public space and it should not be turned into "a garbage heap".

Boris Nemtsov was shot by gunmen on February 27 when walking home with his Ukrainian girlfriend, prompting thousands of muscovites to march onto the streets in mourning the following weekend.

Although Russian president Vladimir Putin said he and his close allies in the security services would personally oversee the investigation of the murder of one of his most high profile critics who had admitted fearing Putin would order him killed prior to his death.

So far five Chechen men have been arrested under suspicion of orchestrating the murder, with ties to pro-Kremlin militias, however they have given inconsistent accounts as per their involvement in the killing and the Russian government's investigation of the opposition leader's death has not yet successfully provided many answers about Nemtsov's murder.

Kremlin-critics and dissidents Garry Kasparov, Alexey Navalny and Yashin himself have all accused Putin of being responsible for Nemtsov's death.