Pasha has gone. This car explosion stunned all his friends and everybody who knew him. It’s so hard to find words. Memories fill your head, allowing only to pump air into your lungs but not to breathe normally.

Nicolai Khalezin
Nicolai Khalezin
Co-artistic Director of Belarus Free Theatre, playwright, director, journalist

We have been friends with Pasha for 21 years, going through different periods of relations from regular meetings, parties and collaboration to five years of silence, when we stopped speaking completely, divided by political differences. The conflict was settled like adults should do it, when Pasha wrote me after my father’s death: “My heart goes out to you.” I was thankful to him for being able to get out of the conflict zone through realising something important as opposed to momentary, something really vital for both of us.

1996. The parliamentary crisis. We are at the Supreme Council press centre, exhausted after sleepless nights, endless work and the starting apathy towards the situation due to politicians’ stupid actions. Film crews of ORT, NTV and RTR TV channels make five news reports a day. Pasha enters the press centre, sits down on a chair and says desperately: “I am tired of straining the revolutionary situation with my intonation.”

1997. The ORT film crew is arrested, we are preparing a picket to defend the journalists and help release them from prison. Pasha got released at night all of a sudden, and we rush to his place. First filming, then drinking vodka. Some hours later, when we managed to get drunk a little, Pasha says about our performance – a procession of journalists wearing prison uniform: “You can’t imagine how I regret that I didn’t march with you in prison uniform.”I said: “You yourself were in prison uniform at that time.” He thought a bit and answered: “Yes, but yours, striped, looked better.”

2000. We have a long talk with Dima Zavadsky in the evening in the yard of the apartment block where I lived and the ORT office was located. Next morning, he drove to the airport to meet Pasha, got abducted and killed. A few days later I go to the ORT office. We are sitting with Pasha, only two of us, and drinking Cognac. We are just drinking without saying a single word, each of us is absorbed in thought. I say a couple of hours later: “I’ll go.” Pasha: “Thank you for dropping in, I needed to talk to someone...”

We didn’t have an opportunity to meet when I was Kyiv this winter. Our visit was short and Pasha was out of town. We mailed to each other and arranged to go to the best restaurant in Kyiv with our wives when we fly to Ukraine in autumn. Unfortunately, we won’t go.

Bye, Pasha. RIP.

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