"I have been asked many times, why do I work in this region, don’t I find it frightening…But Chechnya means something more than a set of geographical boundaries […].”
“I have been asked many times, why do I work in this region, don’t I find it frightening…But Chechnya means something more than a set of geographical boundaries. Over the past ten years a state of lawlessness has spread from this region to the rest of Russia, and even beyond Russia. Order, the rule of law, must be brought where the lawlessness began. The criminal must answer for his crimes there where they were committed, and not in Moscow or even in Strasbourg. Only in this way will the law demonstrate its strength! (from a speech on 25 March 2005 at Groznyi’s October District Court during the trial of S. Lapin [“Cadet”])
“...war has already been unleashed. The opposition between fascists and anti-fascists consists of real political conflicts that are gradually turning into a war. The law enforcement agencies have failed to act in time and have allowed an enormous Nazi underground to form. The only thing opposing this is the anti-fascist movement that was born out of the cry: 'This cannot be tolerated any more, because they have begun to take control in our cities and in our streets' ". (from Anti-Fascist Red Book)
“I am tired of coming across the names of my friends in crime reports. I open the materials of criminal prosecutions and the first point of the accusation stands the word: ‘Anti-Fascist’. I am tired of reading the lists of those killed. This is no longer work. This is a question of survival. We need protection against the Nazis. We need protection against the mafias who occupy public office. And protection from the law enforcement agencies that serve them. No one apart from ourselves is going to give this protection. Not God, not the tsar, not the law. Only we ourselves…” (from a speech at a rally on 30 November 2008)
Stanislav Iurevich Markelov was born on 20 May 1974 in Moscow. He completed his high school education in Moscow. In 1996 he graduated from Moscow State Law Academy. He was married and had two children.
Stanislav Markelov was an active member of several nongovernmental left-wing movements. On 19-21 August, during the attempted coup d’etat in Moscow, Markelov was among those who defended the House of Soviets on the so-called “anarchists’” barricade. Over 2-5 October 1993, during the "mini civil war", he took part as a volunteer in a medical brigade helping victims on both sides of the conflict. From 1994 to 1995 he was one of the leaders of the radical trade union "Students’ Defence and of student protests. He organized numerous forums and protests on social and environmental issues.
Markelov became known as a lawyer during the years 1997 – 1999 when he successfully defended leftist activists who were charged with terrorism. During the “second Chechen war”, Stas served as legal counsel for victims in the most important trials involving war crimes – the cases of Lapin (from 2001) and of Budanov (from 2002). In both cases he succeeded in bringing in convictions for the criminals in uniform. He regularly visited the North Caucasus and the city of Groznyi and worked there with human rights defenders (including Natalia Estemirova).
It is impossible to enumerate here all the important cases Stanislav worked on as a lawyer. He defended hostages who fell victim to terrorists and “counterterrorist operations”. He defended workers and trade union leaders, anti-fascists, NGO activists, environmentalists, journalists (Anna Politkovskaya among them) and even the 342 citizens of Blagoveshchinsk who were beaten by police. In 2006 Markelov founded the Institute for the Rule of Law, bringing together lawyers who took on legal cases of social significance. In his work he strove to bring together left-wing activists, human rights defenders and lawyers.
On 17 April 2004, Stanislav was attacked in the Moscow metro, an attack that was never investigated by the authorities. He repeatedly received threats from neo-Nazis.
On 19 January 2009 at 3pm Stanislav Markelov was murdered in the centre of Moscow, near 1, Prechistenka Street, as he was returning from a press conference. Anastasia Baburova, a leftwing activist and journalist with Novaya Gazeta, was killed along with him.
Stanislav Markelov is buried at Moscow’s Ostankinsky cemetery.
This material was prepared by Aleksandr Cherkasov of Memorial Human Rights Centre and Olga Trusevich.