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Vojnova, Tamara
Written by   
, 29 2007

Age 56; Russia, Moscow.

A few years ago Tamara worked as an editor at the regional newspaper Bogorodskoye, where she made a great name for herself. Thepaper only came out once a month, in eight color pages with a print run of 20,000, and the editorial staff consisted of just Tamara. People Ispoke with at the Bogorod regional authority told me about the great influence that the paper and its editor attained. Theyshowed me many specific examples of her keenness, and her perseverance in achieving her goals and initiatives. Inher pursuit of effectiveness from the authorities the paper received lots of mail, and it was not rare for Tamara to go visit her readers at home, so that they could explain the essence of their complaints.

Many were surprised by her inexhaustible energy. Sherepeated what she had done at the Stavropol paper, and sought out all the area veterans from the Great Patriotic War (WW II) period. Shegathered them together and worked hard to ensure that the regional authorities presented them with the honors they deserved. Tamara often visited schools and talked with children, and offered teachers many interesting ways to educate the students in patriotism.

I was told of an unusual instance, when Tamara helped a bum who had served in Afghanistan and spent several years in captivity as a slave. WithTamara's help, he was able to return home to Kamchatka, where he had long ago been given up for dead. Buthere is the paradox: after giving such inestimable assistance to a former hostage, Tamara unexpectedly found herself a hostage, and suffered tortures no less horrible than did that soldier in Afghanistan.

Tamara's best friend said that Tamara called three times on her cell phone from the theater hall. During their first conversation there were still notes of optimism, and hope that the hostages would be freed. Thesecond conversation was different in disjointed phrases Tamara described the hell to which she and another thousand people had been condemned: hunger, thirst, sweltering heat, and the ghastly smell coming from the orchestra pit that had been turned into an open sewer. Shedescribed something especially horrifying: their mock executions by the terrorists. Theterrorists commanded the hostages to lay down, as if they were going to blow up the theater. Allthe hostages fell to the floor and counted off the last seconds of their lives. Thenthe bandits sounded the 'all clear'. After awhile, the terrorists repeated the command.

It is difficult to imagine what these people went through. Evenmore awful was Tamara's last phone call to girlfriend. Apparently it took place when the auditorium was already full of gas. Tamara asked her friend to take some money from Tamara's apartment and have her buried at the Hovrinsky cemetery alongside her mother. Sheeven told her friend what clothes to bury herin.

Her girlfriend believes that Tamara was already dead when they carried her from the theater and sent her straight to the morgue. Buther is the kicker: she was unidentified, since she had no documents on her. Regional authorities set up groups to look for her. Forfive days they went from to all the hospitals that had received hostages, and to morgues, until they found Tamara in the last ofthem.

The new Hovrinsky cemetery is in the village of Borodino. Theservice was held in the cemetery chapel. Speaking at her service was the regional head, A.Ruchkin, and several others. Theyall spoke very warmly about Tamara as an honest person, and a remarkable journalist. Anentire hill of flowers grew over hergrave.



Andrey Poputko, former editor of Stavropol Truth, from Stavropol Truth, December 12th, 2002.


She was what they call in the army the regiment's daughter. Herfather was Vladimir Voinov, a correspondent for Komsomolsk Truth in the North Caucasus. Hedied in an automobile accident. Colleagues from his paper looked after his daughter Tamara in every way. Likea sponge, she absorbed their lessons in how to run rural papers. Itwas not just through her beauty and charm that Tamara ended up on the staff of that paper's successor, Stavropol Truth. Itwas purely due to her professional qualities.

He creative palette was so multihued, and the subjects of her writing so extensive, that soon she herself became the yardstick others are measured by. Morethan anything, she pursued materials about art, literature, and creative works. Hersearch for original topics, people, and unusual destinies did not go unnoticed by Moscow publishers who were trying to bring young journalistic talent to the capital.

Thus Tamara and Isaid goodbye the first time. Today we are saying goodbye forever. Anavowed lover of the theater, Tamara could not miss a single premier: neither in Stavropol, nor in Moscow, and of course she had to be at the musical 'Nord-Ost'. Though the show was supposed to run for another two years, she chose October 23rd for her visit to the theater.

Her name among the victims of the terrorist attack was a complete shock to us. Allwho knew Tamara Voinova met the news of her death in a state of complete stupefaction. Itis hard to believe this; it is impossible to resign oneself to it. Shewill now forever remain in our memory as young and as beautiful as when she departed Stavropol. Thetragedy in Moscow has become a calamity for all of Russia, and its black wings have touched every journalist of the old 'Stavropol regiment'.


Written by a group of friends and published in Stavropol Truth, November 2nd, 2002.


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