Natalya Sokolova, our beloved colleague and friend, passed away on May 8, 2021. For many years she has participated in anti-fascist demonstrations in St. Petersburg on this day, and we have always celebrated this date together, even when we lived far from each other. From the age of 15, Natalya was a member of an anti-fascist group, she has published “TUM-balalaika” anti-fascist magazine with us, we have prepared street actions and held seminars together. She was behind the creation of the first website where she posted publications from our anti-fascist magazine “TUM-balalaika” (later to become “Anti-fascist Motive”). Later on, when our activities took a more professional and human rights direction, Natalya Sokolova helped establish Anti-Discrimination Center “Memorial”, she was so glad that she had found us a wonderful new office, which she herself decorated and equipped. While working for ADC Memorial, Natalya dealt with the rights of discriminated groups, held summer camps for Roma and migrant children, and helped publish the bulletin of ADC Memorial.
Later, following her move to Moscow, she worked for various human rights organizations there (including Human Rights Centre “Memorial” and “OVD-info”), while also remaining a member of the Council of ADC “Memorial”. In 2013, together with the other members of the Council, Natalya voted to liquidate the ADC Memorial in Russia, finding it unacceptable that our NGO was recognized as an non-governmental organization “acting as a foreign agent” by the Russian state. Our values and vision of the situation have always coincided. Natalya was a wonderful friend, an activist, a colleague and mother.
It is impossible to accept the terrible injustice of her deadly illness, which she heroically fought against for the last two years while continuing her work and raising her wonderful children. We will always remember and love her – young, beautiful and strong, who has departed so early. We grieve with Natalya’s children, her relatives, friends and colleagues.