15:34 Jun. 16, 2016
Kremlin officials deny participating in renaming process
Authorities in Russia's second-largest city, St. Petersburg, have named a bridge after the late Chechen President Akhmat Kadyrov. City officials said on June 16 that the decision "stresses respect to Russia's history" and "does not disrupt the city's traditions."
The committee that suggests names for St. Petersburg's public places proposed the idea in May. Many of the city's residents have protested the idea since then and an online petition against the proposal has gathered some 70,000 signatures.
On June 6th, about 1,000 protesters rallied in downtown St. Petersburg, saying that Kadyrov - father of Chechnya's current Kremlin-backed leader, the controversial Ramzan Kadyrov - had no connection to the city that from 1732 until 1918 was Russia's imperial capital.
Akhmat Kadyrov died in a bomb attack at a soccer stadium in 2004. Human rights groups have alleged that both his and his son's terms in office were marked by torture, abductions, and extrajudicial executions.