In 1984, Congress voted to name a stretch of 16th Street immediately outside the then-Soviet Embassy “Andrei Sakharov Plaza,” in honor of the Soviet Union’s best-known dissident. The move infuriated Moscow, whose diplomats were confronted with Sakharov’s name every time they entered or left the building or received a piece of mail. But the tactic raised awareness of Sakharov’s courage and, according to his family, contributed to his release from internal exile two years later.

The District of Columbia Council is now to consider a new renaming that would be equally worthy. A measure sponsored by Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and Ward 3 member Mary Cheh would name a block of Wisconsin Avenue, outside the current Russian Embassy compound, “Boris Nemtsov Plaza,” in honor of the opposition leader who was gunned down in February 2015. Nemtsov dedicated his life to the cause of Russian democracy and had a large following, making him a prime target for the regime of Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin, which has never identified those who ordered his murder, deserves a constant reminder of his case.

Nemtsov’s career flourished during the 1990s, when Russia experimented with democracy: He served as deputy prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin. When Putin rose to power and began dismantling the country’s fragile new institutions, Nemtsov became a determined opponent.

On Feb. 27, 2015, Nemtsov was walking across a heavily guarded bridge within steps of the Kremlin when he was felled by a hail of bullets. Memorials on the site of his death are still left by his followers but are quickly removed by police. By naming the block in front of the embassy after him, the District Council could create a memorial that is not easily wiped away.