The moral compass of Maxim Borodin
Journalist Maxim Borodin, who wrote about mercenaries in Syria, died after falling from the fifth floor. The police in Yekaterinburg, where Borodin lived, did not see any signs of a crime in the incident, but the journalist’s friends and colleagues suspect that the fall might not have been accidental. About Borodino recalls journalist Ksenia Kirillova.
After the death of Sasha Shchetinin, and after him his brainchild - “New Region”, for some reason I naively thought that in my life there would be no more deaths associated with the “New Region”. And suddenly - Max.
Maxim Borodin was for me, of course, a “man from a past life,” from the pre-emigration period. I knew him for ten years. We were not close friends, but always maintained good relations, and from time to time we cooperated periodically in some investigations. Sometimes, I gave comments for his stories, helped with materials, we discussed some issues together, met regularly at various press conferences. I remember how we discussed the situation with Yegor Bychkov eight years ago, in some ways we did not agree, argued, called up, shared information. I remember many other common topics ...
I last saw him live on an anti-war march in Yekaterinburg in March 2014, just before leaving. Maxim was there as a journalist, and I wondered if he supported the position of the protesters. Previously, his attitude towards some oppositionists was very ironic, and, as happens with an unfamiliar person, at crucial moments you do not know what to expect. He did not disappoint, and expressed a sharply negative attitude regarding Russia's actions in the Crimea. “Stupidity is putting it mildly,” Max then told me.
Maxim always had this - moral compass, personal honesty. He was ruffled at times, moderately cynical, he was not afraid to provoke and ask sharp questions, but he never participated in mean tricks.
I remember when I started to cooperate with Sasha Schetinin, one of the first things that I told him at the beginning - I know Maxim Borodin from your agency, we cooperated many times. In fact, Maxim, without knowing it, turned out to be my first binding thread with Sasha and his brainchild.
After the start of the hot phase of the Russian-Ukrainian war, Sasha fully supported Ukraine and had to break ties with the Russian edition of the site. I supported Sasha and began working in the Ukrainian “New Region”. Maxim, living all his life and working in Yekaterinburg, remained in the Russian edition, which changed its name to “New Day”. It would seem that our paths diverged. But Max never blamed me for my choice. His moral compass did not disappoint this time either. He fully understood everything I was doing. We just worked in different "New Regions", each doing their own thing.
Anyway, Maxim always tried to write the truth - as much as it is possible for a journalist to live in Russia. Meticulous, stubborn, always having an opinion. He wrote about Russian mercenaries in Syria, established their personalities. It was very difficult to find fault with him, because he always got to the bottom of the facts. Exactly a year ago, he was not afraid to contact me again for a comment - at a time when in Russia I was almost officially considered the “enemy of the people.” He asked for a comment on one problem organization, the investigation of which we had been working with for several years.
I refused, explaining that I didn’t want to play into the hands of modern Russian propaganda. Then, when I was studying this organization, I approached the case from the point of view of protecting human rights, the interests of individuals. Now, in today's Russia there is no question about the protection of someone's rights, and all such investigations and decisions are only political and repressive. And she explained that no organization, even the most problematic, in terms of human rights violations compares with the Russian authorities, and therefore I do not consider it ethical to criticize someone else under such conditions.
“I understand, and, probably, it is no longer appropriate. In the country, Crimea has changed a lot, ”then Max answered. Again, an unmistakable moral compass, an understanding of the changed situation, even against the background that it beat on his investigation. And his permanent: "Good luck, write, if that."
That was always the main thing in him. He was decent. He was not ashamed of his friends, did not hide from the truth, was not a conjunctuator. In the terrible conditions of modern Russia remained a man. Not afraid to climb on the rampage. Now I understand that when there was an opportunity, it was necessary to be closer friends, to communicate more often. But then, in Yekaterinburg, we are so used to it that Max is always there, always there, which seemed to be forever. That he will always come to the press conferences, that he can be called or written, that he will never constitute or lie. Always knowledgeable, reliable, a little stubborn, always doing what he thought was right. Never in our conversations over 10 for years has he disappointed me in anything.
I did not know what he was doing in recent years. Judging by his page, he complained of attacks, beatings, security officials, who were waiting for him at the door of his apartment, but certainly not of depression. Such as Maxim, do not go out from the fifth floor. I know that in Russia they kill easily, every year it gets easier. They kill with approval at the highest level, and at all other levels - also: abroad, in Moscow and in the regions. It is not only Putin who is killing, but also the security forces themselves, and the gangsters, and the gangsters in collusion with the corrupt security forces - depending on the level and causes of the murder. Every year, human life in Russia is depreciating more and more. What is the life of a journalist in a country that threatens the world with nuclear weapons, advises its own population, what to take with them to the bomb shelter, and reason that "in peace and death is red"?
But Max did not complain about the country, he did his job in the framework in which he could. And he finished the way many decent people in Russia end up, once again confirming their decency. How so, Max? When I left, it was important for me that someone stays. That someone who can be trusted, who can be no doubt, and who does not doubt me, will definitely remain. Even here it is important to me that you are there, guys, because the past is not forgotten. But you are getting smaller. And you, Max - you have always been alive, so alive, you just can not be imagined as a person who is read in obituaries!
Death again, New Region again. Thank you, Max, that I always understood my choice, that I accepted both consent and refusal, which I respected and never judged. It was brave, like everything else. I'm glad I knew you personally. Forgive me if something has let you down ...
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