My Priceless Loss in Kazan Plane Crash
Published: December 17, 2013 (Issue # 1790)
A month ago today, my girlfriend, Yana Baranova, and her British colleague, Donna Bull, boarded Tartarstan Airlines flight No. 363 from Moscow's Domodedovo Airport to Kazan. The airplane crashed when it attempted to land at Kazan Airport, killing all 50 on board.
Yana and Donna were representing Bellerbys College, a subsidiary of Study Group, an international educational supplier focused on providing children aged 15 and older the opportunity to improve their language skills and gain new life experiences by studying abroad.
Yana herself was 26. She was an incredibly focused and mature businesswoman. Her colleagues describe her as a "rising star" of their industry, and her drive would have doubtless carried her beyond her own expectations.
I met Yana while working for a competitor in Astana, Kazakhstan, and can testify to the intense travel that is necessary in the industry.
Yana loved seeing new places and having new experiences, so this part of the job was definitely one of the things that attracted her to it.
It is scant consolation, but when I think about why she was on that plane, at least I know that she died doing something she enjoyed.
She had worked with Donna in different parts of the Commonwealth of Independent States on a number of occasions and considered her more than just a work colleague. Indeed they were so engaged in conversation that we were unable to speak for a last time before they boarded the plane. They never disembarked.
I saw firsthand the close relationships Yana built with her colleagues at a memorial event organized by the Moscow office of Study Group. The warmth and support they and Yana's friends have shown me throughout this difficult time has really touched me, and I would like to express my sincere thanks for everything they have done.
In seven weeks, Russia will be thrust into the spotlight. The Sochi Olympics are as much a showcase for international business as they are for sport. The stadiums and huge infrastructure projects that have been built are a testament to the achievements of a Group of Eight nation that has incredible potential for economic and social progression.
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