Tatiana Lokshina: “It is almost impossible to understand and accept that he is dead...”

Source: hro.org (info), 19/01/11

· Human Rights Defenders · Articles by Human Rights Defenders · Moscow City & Moscow Region · Chechnya

Tatyana Lokshina: If a friend of yours is killed by a bullet through the head, it is horrible. If he is only 35 years old, with two tiny children, if he is brilliant, funny, bubbling with plans and ambitions, it is almost impossible to understand and accept that he is dead...

And yet I cannot help saying it: Stas Markelov was a very lucky man. He loved his work, he did what he considered his duty, believing he would change the world.

And he did change it, by saving people, defending them and winning incredibly complex cases. And he was very popular, too. He was always surrounded by friends. He was someone you could share jokes with, sit up chatting with until dawn, devising impossible plans and making these impossible plans come true.

Even as he was killed, he was accompanied by a friend and so Stas died in the middle of a word, without seeing his assassin, without getting a chance to feel fear, without knowing that Nastia would be the next one to be killed. In this lack of knowledge, too, he was lucky.

On several occasions Stas and I found ourselves together in Chechnya and once, in 2005, we both stayed with Natasha Estemirova. A few years later, Natasha stood at his funeral stony-faced, and a mere six months later Natasha was killed, too.
But that's not what I want to talk about now. What I want to talk about is something wonderful, a young man whose jokes kept Natasha and me laughing till late at night, who danced around the kitchen waving his arms about and sweeping the cups off the table, who would discuss even the most serious and dreadful issues with so much energy you would end up feeling that anything was possible, that we would succeed in everything we tried. Stas was so alive that it is impossible to imagine him dead.
Rights in Russia,
20 Jan 2011, 10:01