“You destroy that which you believe in”

Natalia Antonova stopped me with that line.

Here’s the context:

What I keep coming back to, however, isn’t the mystery of Estemirova’s death, but that which is most obvious about it. You destroy that which you believe in. And Estemirova’s killers must have believed in Estemirova – believed in her power, believed in the danger she presented to them and their methods – especially when you consider the fact that she was kidnapped in plain sight, a gesture as terrifying as it is symbolic.

Both outsiders and many Russians themselves have a mythologizing approach toward Russian and, in general, Slavic femininity. A “real” Russian woman is beautiful, of course, and, what’s more important, she does not “threaten” a man’s view of himself as fundamentally better. This is a fantasy that is belied by the existence of women like Natalia Estemirova, the ones who, like their male counterparts, can only be subdued with a gun.

You can send a message of condolence and solidarity to Estemirova’s family here, through Amnesty UK.  If I was Estemirova’s sister or daughter, I would be comforted by reminders that my loved one’s work was meaningful and important –important enough to end violently– and that her death did not pass unnoticed outside Russia.

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