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Litvinov, Konstantin
Written by "Московский комсомолец"   
Среда, 30 Октябрь 2002

Age 50; Russia, Moscow.

The Mitin cemetery proved to be the first of churchyards, which were to accept the numerous victims of the terrorist attack on 'Nord-Ost'.  Yesterday [2002-10-29] the funeral of Konstantin Litvinov was held here.  He was a colonel, the commander of one of the military units in Moscow.  He was a fellow who gave his whole life to the army, yet died in an undeclared war in the center of the capital.

“He was a real colonel: smart, courageous, businesslike, caring, yet at the same time a demanding commander,” say those who served with him.  “He loved sports and music.”  On that fateful evening he went to the musical with several comrades.  They survived, but he was carried out of the theater without a pulse.

The funeral was very creative.  Several busloads of relatives and friends came to see the departed off, and there was an honor guard and a military band.  Pillows holding the medals of the departed were carried before the coffin.  After the coffin was lowered into the earth, the honor guard fired thrice.

His wife, Vera Andreevna, and his two adult sons, Maksim and Denis, accompanied Litvinov on his last trip.  The sons held themselves bravely, neither crying nor sobbing.  The wife, to the very last, could not seem to believe that her husband was no longer among the living.  During the funeral she ran her fingers over her husband’s clenched hands, and cried only when the time came for the farewell kiss.

“All those days, while the terrorists were holding people at the theater, there was no news from Konstantin,” said Nina, a close friend of the Litvinov family.  “It turned out that he left his cell phone at work that night.  We all were going crazy from worry; we searched for him wherever we could.  We called all the numbers the authorities gave to relatives of the hostages, went to all the hospitals and morgues.  At last Denis, the younger son, called Hospital #29, and went to Morgue #6 located there.  Among the computer printouts of pictures of the unidentified bodies, he recognized his father.  Afterwards he identified the body.”

The medical certificate given to the Litvinov family reads: “cause of death was not determined”.  The autopsy was performed in the regulation fashion, but the forensic diagnosis has still not been made available to members of the family.

The Litvinovs have lived in Mitin seven years, and so they picked a place close to home for Konstantin’s grave.  The administrator of the cemetery told ‘MK’ that a grave application had only come in the evening before, and so the churchyard workers had to work hard.  By midday they had dug a grave in the most prestigious spot, right by the entrance, and laid fresh pine branches and hung red and black funeral cloth.  The city paid for everything.

They had even prepared in time a white marble headstone, on which were engraved the deceased’s name, and dates of birth and death.  This July Konstantin Litvinov had turned 50.

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