JRL: Obituary For Stanislav Markelov

Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2009
From: Vladislav Bugera <bugerave@yahoo.com>
Subject: Obituary for Stanislav Markelov

I knew Stanislav Markelov since 1994. At that time he was still a law student, but despite his youth a well-formed personality with definite left-wing views. Even then he was a socialist and an internationalist, and so he remained right to the end. At my request he offered legal aid to a small independent trade union called “Workers Resistance” with which I myself was then involved. This was one of his first human rights cases.

Later fate threw us far apart over the expanses of our enormous country. I had only occasional contact with him, but from time to time I heard or read of his work for human rights. As an attorney he was always coming to the defense of ordinary people against bureaucrats, businessmen, the military, and the police. He defended the oppressed against the oppressors. He always acted within the framework of the law established by the bourgeois state, but at the same time he always fought against the bourgeois state.

His socialism was always of a very moderate kind ­ completely legal and reformist. Nevertheless, he was always glad to work with people who were more radical than him, further to the left. Everyone in Moscow’s left-wing milieu knew him well. But something that distinguished him from all too many people in that milieu was his consistent internationalism. To speak out against a murderer and rapist in epaulettes, against one of the occupiers and tormentors of Chechnya ­ that required not only personal courage but also the integrity of a political stance hostile to chauvinism. That earned him the hatred of the fascists.

He was a reliable person. You could always be sure of him. He chose his fate ­ to fight on behalf of the downtrodden ­ and fell in that fight. I am proud to have been a colleague of this man at the very beginning of his work for human rights. Even if my views differ from his, I still find inspiration in his courage and persistence. He is my hero.

Vladislav Bugera
Left-wing activist and philosopher
Ufa, January 20, 2009
[translated by Stephen Shenfield].


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