Yesterday, Friday 23 January, Moscow said farewell to Anastasia Baburova. The ceremony was held at 10.30 am in the hall set aside for such purposes at the capital’s Central Clinical Hospital.
Those who came to say goodbye to Nastya were her colleagues from Novaya gazeta, fellow journalists, lecturers and class mates from the journalism faculty at Moscow University, and her anti-fascist friends.
More than one hundred people had filed past the coffin and placed live flowers around her before the end of the funeral service.
The ceremony was opened by Sergei Sokolov, editor in chief of Novaya gazeta. Nastya had died very young but had lived her life to the full, he said, and acvhieved a great deal. Then her parents said a few words. Eduard and Larisa Baburov recalled what a cheerful little girl Nastya had been. She played chess and took third place in the CIS championships; she took up martial arts; she won places at several colleges and institutes at once. They said how much she had wanted to become a journalist ... “If I had known what you would be doing here I would never have let you go to Moscow,” Larisa Baburova said over the coffin of her only daughter.
Her friends recalled the Nastya they knew. She never let anyone down, was never afraid and had great inner strength. Many did not hide their tears. Her friends from the anti-fascist movement talked of their other comrades who had died at the hands of Russia’s neo-Nazis: Alexander Ryukhin, Timur Kacharava and Alexei Krylov.
A little later a delegation arrived at the hospital from the Russian Union of Journalists. They carried a large wreath of fresh flowers and expressed their condolences to Nastya’s parents. The honorary president of the journalism faculty Yasen Zasursky was also present. “It is becoming ever more dangerous to pursue the profession of journalism,” he told journalists in the foyer. “How outrageous and unjust that the victim of this cold-blooded killer was a young woman.” The dean of the Moscow University faculty of journalism Yelena Vartanova described Nastya’s work as a student and added that soon, evidently, the faculty would have to add courses in self-defence to its training programme. One of the last to come and bid farewell to Nastya was Oleg Mitvol, deputy head of the Russian environmental protection agency.
People were still filing past the coffin as the ceremony came to an end. By 2 pm only relatives and Nastya’s closest friends remained. The distressed anti-fascists smoked on the hospital steps.
On Saturday Nastya’s coffin was transported to her home town of Sebastopol in the Crimea. The funeral takes place on Monday.
PS The students and administration of the faculty of journalism have erected a portrait of Anastasia in front of the entrance. The previous day Victor Sadovnichy, rector of Moscow University, placed flowers in front of her picture.