Political prisoner Aleksei Pichugin on Marina Filippovna Khordokovskaya

posted 4 Oct 2014, 14:50 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 Oct 2014, 14:56 ]
26 September 2014

Vera Vasilieva 

Source: HRO.org
Aleksei Pichugin, who is recognised by Memorial Human Rights Centre as a political prisoner, has sent a letter dedicated to Marina Filippovna Khordokovskaya, mother of Mikhail Khordokovsky.

Written on 9 August, five days after the death of Marina Filippovna, it has only just arrived in Moscow from Penal Colony No. 6 in Sol-Iletsk, Orenburg.

"My head and my heart still cannot come to terms with what happened on August 3rd... My sincere and deepest condolences to Boris Moiseevich, Mikhail Borisovich, their family and friends... I grieve with you and feel for you... May Marina Filippovna rest in peace. God rest her soul. May she be remembered for eternity... God willing, we must move forward, but my heart refuses to accept what has happened.”

- Aleksei Pichugin. 9 August 2014

On 13 September, when Marina Filippovna would have celebrated her 80th birthday, the “Podmoskovny Lyceum in Korallovo was renamed after her.

"Our graduates and current students solemnly vow to protect, cherish and love the lyceum just like you did, Marina Filippovna”, promised the lyceum’s website.

Marina Filippovna and her husband, Boris Moiseevich, gave 20 years of their lives to this lyceum, which brings up and educates children whose parents have died in conflict zones. For the past 20 years, the lyceum has offered free schooling to children from Tajikistan, Chechnya and North Ossetia (Beslan) who have been victims of undeclared wars and acts of terrorism.

The Podmoskovny lyceum recently announced that it was planning to offer free places to a number of secondary school-aged children affected by the conflict in Ukraine. It emphasised that this would be ensured "regardless of the political views of their parents".

"All children should remain outside politics. Children should not be the victims of wars”, the statement read.

Lyceum founder Mikhail Khordokovsky had intended to establish several of these educational establishments, but the Yukos prosecutions prevented that from happening. 
Marina Filippovna Khodorkovskaya

Each time I come to Korallovo, I am always deeply impressed by the bright, warm atmosphere that prevails here. As soon as you step through the door, the air feels different. When I shared this observation with the head of the lyceum, Evgeny Nikolaevich Travin, he completely agreed and said, “It’s probably because we’re doing something good here…”

Now that Marina Filippovna is gone, the lyceum has itself become an orphan.

Marina Filippovna was buried on the grounds of the lyceum in a small chapel. The chapel is referred to in the “Lyceum Republic” school song – those at Podmoskovny like to uphold the tradition of Pushkin’s "Lyceum Brotherhood". 

Photo from the website korallovo.ru

The people of Korallovo are waiting for Aleksei Pichugin to be released from prison. He is the last person associated with Yukos remaining behind bars. Almost everyone who attended the lyceum’s “Friends’ Day” on 26 April wished to express their support to his mother, Alla Nikolaevna - Platon Lebedev, Vladimir Malakhovsky, Aleksei Kurtsin, Boris Moiseevich… and Marina Filippovna, who many people would see for the last time that day.

"We are hoping for the best. We will always remember", wrote Marina Filippovna to Aleksei Pichugin in one of her letters. This hope she had must absolutely come to fruition!

And we will always remember Marina Filippovna.

Translated by Emma Bale