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Killed in Slovyansk, Andrey Mironov Sought Out Truth Despite the Costs

Published: May 31, 2014 (Issue # 1813)




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Andrey Mironov, of one of the Soviet Union's last dissidents, was buried on Friday.

Mironov, who after the Soviet Union's collapse became a dogged observer of the Chechen wars, was killed on May 25 in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slovyansk when he and an Italian journalist, Andrea Rochelli, came under bombardment, allegedly from Ukrainian forces.

In some of the first news reports that emerged, Mironov was named as the Italian reporter's translator. But he was much more than that.

Mironov was imprisoned in 1984 — Orwell's year — as he would call it, for photocopying and distributing banned books. His friend, journalist and former Irish Times International editor Seamus Martin, recalls how he was tortured by the KGB.

"One interrogator made a rope from a towel, said he would hang him and asked him to write a suicide note. Andrey refused," Martin explained.

"The interrogator strangled him until he collapsed. When Andrey came to, he said that he felt he had won. "They were the weak ones. I was the strong one," he said.

Mironov was sentenced to four years in prison but released under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's administration after serving 18 months. As he told Martin, "At the Reykjavik summit with U.S. President Ronald Reagan, he announced there were no political prisoners in the Soviet Union. I watched him say this on the only television set we had in the Gulag."

After he was released, Mironov went on to work as a human rights activist, including as a member of the human rights group Memorial. He witnessed how the dissidents' struggle moved above ground after the fall of the Soviet Union and citied Russia's newly independent media as a major force for change.

"They are scared," he told Baltimore Sun reporter Deborah Stead, referring to the government authorities." A Kalashnikov has a barrel of only 7.62 millimeters, whereas the 'barrel' of a television camera is bigger. That is the difference."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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