In memory of Boris Maksovich Kreindel

posted 26 Apr 2015, 12:42 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 26 Apr 2015, 12:49 ]
22 April 2015

Source: (info
Sergei Nikitin, head of Amnesty International Russia

Yesterday we received the sad news that Boris Maksovich Kreindel, a human rights activist from Tomsk, has died in the USA.

Amnesty International began to work together with Boris Maksovich and his colleagues back in the 1990s as part of our human rights education programme. It was thanks to him that our work in this field was so successful in Siberia, with many children at local schools finding out what human rights mean from teachers who had been trained by Boris Maksovich.

Boris Maksovich was an astonishing man of many talents, who could never rest easy once he had learned (whether at first or second hand) that an injustice had been committed. His exuberant and dynamic approach to life was a remarkable contrast to his talent for calmly, judiciously and self-assuredly engaging in debate and bringing round his opponents.

I am sure that many residents of Tomsk still remember the good works done by Boris Maksovich in the city where he was born in 1948 and spent virtually all of his life. He was a member of
the board of the Tomsk branch of Memorial, was involved in the coalition For a Democratic Alternative Civilian Service and headed both the regional Human Rights Commission and the Anti-Fascist Committee.

Not everyone admired Boris Maksovich’s integrity, however, and his activities were a thorn in the side to many. His efforts to help the Novosibirsk Roma after a number of their houses were set on fire provoked a heated response from people who preferred not to be identified, with despicable flyers containing death threats against his family appearing all over Tomsk.

Russian human rights activists called on the country’s law-enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of Kreindel and his family, but the authorities firstly dismissed their concerns and then announced that there was nothing they could do.

In 2006, Boris Maksovich was forced to leave the country where he had been born and find a new home in the far-away US state of Idaho out of fear for his family’s safety. They spent some time in Moscow before they left, and many human rights activists provided them with help during this period.

I continued to exchange the occasional letter and phone call with Boris Kreindel after he and his family had emigrated, and I was pleased to learn about his involvement with Amnesty International USA. My American colleagues still remember the speech he gave at one of their conferences.

The veterans of the human rights movement are starting to depart this life, but the name of Boris Maksovich Kreindel and his achievements will remain fresh in our memory and in the memory of all those who had the good fortune to work with him and to receive help and support from him.

Human rights activist Yury Dzhibladze: 

Boris Maksovich was a wonderful person who had a unique talent for expressing his passion and principled commitment to human rights and justice not only in words, but also in tireless and even feverish activity.

What he said was always grounded in facts and often hard-hitting, albeit somewhat naïve on occasion. This man, with his Biblical appearance and strong humanist convictions, set a high standard for all of us. We will never forget him.

Translated by Joanne Reynolds