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Mitin, Maxim
Written by   
, 16 2007

Age 20; Russia, Cheboksary.

Maxim was born on February 9th, 1982, in the city of Cheboksary. He grew up a well developed, and obedient little boy. He never cried and was not even capricious. In school he got 4s and 5s (Bs and As), and several times he participated in the school Olympiads in various subjects, taking honors and awards. After 8th grade he was accepted to the Chuvashsko-Turkish school, through intense competition 25students had applied for each slot. He attended school with great pleasure, and showed a keen interest in languages.

Maxim also graduated from music school, studying piano and the accordion, and was a good singer, participating in shows where he played the main roles, as well as the Azamat dance ensemble. He loved chess and participated in sports. At 14, to increase his stamina, Maxim would pour cold water over himself according to the Ivanov method.

After the Turkish school, Maxim applied right away to three institutes of higher learning: the College of Foreign Languages at Chuvashky University, the FSB academy, and the Moscow military university. Every school accepted him, but he selected the later, since he wanted to study Eastern languages.

At Moscow he was outclassed, but soon overtook his classmates by a wide margin. One foreign languages instructor, who had mastered 14languages, said that he was ready to leave the university, but, upon meeting Maxim, he decided the stay. He gave individual lessons to the cadet so that the young man would not lose interest in his studies. According to the instructor, never before had he seen such a gifted student. The English-language instructor at the military university used to call Maxim the extraterrestrial. She was amazed at Maxims kind and sympathetic character, and his many interests, since he enjoyed books, the theater, and sports. Young people like this these days are very rare, said the instructor.

Maxims range of interests was really unusually great. With great pleasure, he would go to the theater, museums, and even automobile shows. He knew backwards and forwards all the different makes and models, and their characteristics, just as if he had memorized a multiplication table. Since 3rd grade, Maxim did translations. He had long-time girlfriend pen pals in Greece and Trinidad-Tobago. They probably still do not know why he stopped writing.

The last time Maxim came home to Cheboksary, during summer vacation in 2002, to his parents he seemed to have grown up. The young man shared his plans with his loved ones: he said that he would travel to Greece during his next vacation, then later to another country, and so on, every year. He very much wanted to see the world. Maxim was in a big hurry to live, as if he wanted to do everything, to bind the boundless. Maxim never offended anyone, not even in word. On the contrary, he always tried to help others. They say that such a type is a bright and open person, and that only positive energy flows from him.

On October 23rd, 2002, for success in his studies, Maxim was given a ticket to the musical Nord-Ost, which was playing at the theatrical center on Dubrovka. At the beginning of the second act hostages were taken. Sitting next to Maxim was Kseniya Lomina. We know about the last days and hours of Maxims life from this woman, who said: Maxim conducted himself like a real man. He remained calm, self-assured, and showed strong self-control. He helped the people sitting nearby, and never let their morale fall. He did crossword puzzles and demonstrated his outstanding knowledge. There were children nearby, and in order to get food and water from the gunmen, one had to raise their hand and ask. The children were afraid to talk with the captors, so Maxim did this for them. I was very frightened that the gunmen would blow us up and shared my worry with Maxim. To this he replied: all right, just so long as we arent handicapped. I had a cell phone, and Ioffered it to Maxim so that he could call home, but he refused he didnt want to upset anyone.

Maxim Mitin could have left the auditorium; after all, the gunmen released foreigners and Moslems. With his complete knowledge of English and Turkish, he could have pretended to be this. But Maxim stayed; he did not want to abandon those alongside him in the auditorium. In their time there they had become friends, and supported one another as best they could. Maxim, apparently, decided that leaving his comrades in misfortune would have been betrayal on his part.



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Comments (4)
1.
Written by , on 16-05-200707:17
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02.11.2002
2. Written by YULIA TARARUTA website, on 17-05-200712:58
Yesterday [11-01-02] at the Miussk cemetary they buried Maxim Mitin, a cadet from the Moscow military academy. Theyhad searched for him for 4days, and found him in the morgue at Lefortovo prison he had been mistaken for a terrorist. There were a lot of people in uniform at the cemetary, and a military band played. Friends who had come for the funeral gave him a final salute. Maxim Mitin was 20years old. Hereceived a ticket to 'Nord-Ost' from his school as a reward for good marks. There were few tickets, only 5. Aclassmate of Maxim's, the son of the head of the foreign language department of the school, recalled how Maxim was worried about having to dress up for the play. Theclassmate's father, Colonel Zaharov, gave Maxim's memorial toast: Forgive us for not saving you. It was the colonel who had located Maxim in the prison morgue.

We were calling around to the hospitals and morgues for four days, recalls Maxim's uncle. We checked the lists. Hewasn't on any of them. Notas alive, or dead. Wewent to identify one that had a similar desciption, but it wasn't him. Theytold us to go to Lefortovo, while the school checked through their channels. Sothey (Colonel Zaharov) found him, as like they say, through connections. Maxim was taken there with the terrorists. A hostage from Yaroslavl named Ksenia came to the funeral. Shehad reserved a ticket 3weeks in advance to 'Nord-Ost', and at the show she made Maxim's acquaintance, since they were in adjacent seats. While we were sitting there, Maxim described to me how to field strip a rifle. Andhow he crashed his dad's car.

He was, recalled Maxim's father, almost smiling. almost twenty years old. Anddidn't get a scratch. Butthere (at 'Nord-Ost')

When the gunmen said that they would shoot military people in the audience, Ksenia had a hard time talking her neighbor into giving her his military IDcard. Shehid it in her purse, and the only document Maxim had was for the school library. Maxim did not call his parents. Hewas from Cheboksar, and did not want to alarm them. Ksenia talked him into giving her the phone number of a friend. Shecalled her husband, who was working that day and had not gone to the show. Herhusband called Maxim's friend, and the friend called the university. Ksenia was discharged on Sunday, with a diagnosis of pulmonary inflammation. Before they stormed the theater, we had gone to sleep. Iwoke up a few minutes before the gas attack, but Maxim wasn't there. Perhaps, that's why I'm here, while he

Relatives of the victims know that those who were asleep at the time of the gas had better chances, since they did not hyperventilate out of fright. Ksenia says that all those who were sitting alongside her survived. Maxim's parents believe that their son was carried out of the building much later that the other hostages, among the terrorists. Perhaps they mistook him for one, the elder Mitin guesses. He was very powerful, and tall. Iheard a rumor that some of the boys were suspected of being accomplices. Buthow could they mistake our son? Hehad a kind face. Whydid they think he was a traitor? There were six others like Maxim at Lefortovo. Ayoung man in camouflage looks out from a photograph in a black frame. Inthe coffin lays a university student in military uniform. Thesilence of the funeral is broken by a volley of gunfire. Ksenia shudders: At the theater, they were always shooting in the air. Tokeep us in suspense. At the funeral dinner, Maxim's teachers and classmates all had the same things to say: he was a nice person, a good comrade. Alexander Zaharov raises his glass: We are a fighting school, our boys serve in the 'hot spots'. Theyknow foreign languages, and are useful in special missions. Thisspring they are going to Chechnya. While there all of them will remember the face of their fallen comrade.
3. Written by MaroK., on 09-03-201615:57
it's true, Ididn't know why you stopped writing, Max. Ididn't know for quite a long time, Ithink for about seven years.. and Iwas sad, disappointed, even angry at you, 'cause you suddenly, for a mysterious reason, just stopped writing. Isent you a couple of letters at first, then Istopped Iwas hurt, Icouldn't expain it! Youcertainly had guessed that Ihad feelings for you although we 'd never met in person! but well, teenage girls are often like that, kind of romantic.. well, Ibelieved at the time that you also maybe felt something for me, and Iwas so so so happy that you would finally come that summer to greece, to finally meet in person! Ohhad Imade plans for that summer! Iwas really looking forward to it, excited on the one hand, little scared on the other would Istill like you in person, would you like me?.. Well, then, you suddenly just stopped writing, no explanation..

I was really hurt, but at the beginning Ikept looking for you from time to time on the internet, then Istopped.. and one afternoon, Ithink it was about seven years after your death, Idecided to google your name again after a long time, and Ibumped onto this article in english, finally learning what really happened to you so many years ago, finally understanding why you just stopped writing.. and Icried for you, Max. Icried 'cause what happened to you was just unfair. Because you had so many dreams and the will to fullfill them. Because you were kind, cultivated, smart, passioned. Cause you had a good heart. Cause you were special. Cause you just didn't deserveit.

Another six or seven years have passed since Ifound out about you.. Ibecame a doctor, I'm married now, Ieven have a little son. ButI still keep thinking of you from time to time, and when Ido, tears still come to my eyes. SoI just wanted you toknow.

Your once upon a time girlfriend penpal from Greece,

MaroK.
4. Written by tan, on 23-03-201814:59
,

, 2005, .

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