Around 4,500 participated in the march commemorating Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov on Sunday, the Main Directorate of the Russian Interior Ministry in Moscow told Sputnik. "That's why I'm here". Some blame Putin for Nemtsov's death but he has never responded to such accusations.
Some participants carried portraits of Nemtsov and flowers, while others held placards reading "I am not afraid" and "We remember, we won't forgive".
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But it has not written NPF off, claiming their "tried and tested" friendship is still on and indicating it has kept options open. Despite the party putting up candidates in 59 out of 60 seats, the campaigning of the party was the very low key affair.
Nemtsov's murder three years ago outside the Kremlin sent shockwaves across Russian Federation and the world.
Nemtsov, one of Putin's most vocal critics, was shot dead on February 27, 2015 as he walked across a bridge near the Kremlin.
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Opposition politicians said that three years after Nemtsov's murder the atmosphere in the country had gotten worse, with tolerance for dissent shrinking even further. Investigators said the murder was a contract hit in revenge for anti-Islam statements made by Nemtsov after the terrorist attack on French satirical outlet Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.
The opposition has been divided ahead of the March 18 election. "All the responsibility for the murder is on Putin", presidential candidate for the Yabloko liberal party, Grigory Yavlinsky told Dozhd TV.
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Organizers said beforehand that up to 30,000 people may show up on the streets of central Moscow, which were closed for traffic during the march, but the actual turnout was smaller.