Evgeny Zakharov on Arseny Roginsky

posted 15 Jan 2018, 03:56 by Website Service   [ updated 15 Jan 2018, 03:57 ]
18 December 2017

By Evgeny Zakharov, head of the Human Rights Protection Group in Kharkiv, Ukraine

Source: HRO.org

Arseny Roginsky died today. An old, old friend for more than 40 years, Senya, Senechka. A historian from heaven, a student of Yury Lotman. Someone with a wonderful sense of humour and an ingrained sense of artistry. How we all adored his story-telling! He was 71 years old, he was gravely ill for a long time. He was one of the creators and the leader of Memorial.

Earlier, in the 1970s, without any authorization, he created ‘Memorial’, when he collected materials on the history of the 20th century – documents, memoirs, photographs, etc, and put them together in the journal Pamyat (Memory), which was issued abroad for five years.

He wasn’t forgiven for that. They concocted a criminal case against him for forging documents, claiming that he had gained access to the ‘special collection’ [closed archive] using a fraudulent library card -- although it was his card he had used! He spent four years in a camp for criminals in the north.

“Memorial won’t die!” he wrote for me in one of its books in the mid-1990s. Memorial is not dead: through all our collective endeavours, it continues to exist. His presence truly enlivened our world, and we shall be forever grateful to him.

Translated by Mary McAuley