Obituary: Tragic loss of comrade Andrei Klimentov

Courageous socialist activist, campaigning journalist and human rights activist

Yesterday, the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) learnt of the sad news of the death of comrade Andrei Klimentov, from the Aktubinsk area of Kazakhstan. A member of the CWI in Kazakhstan since 2006, Andrei had already proven himself as a local socialist leader and organizer. For years, he was also well-known as a brave and campaigning journalist and human rights activist, which brought him frequently into conflict with the authoritarian Nazabayev regime.

The CWI and send condolences to Andrei’s young family and his comrades in Kazakhstan. His passing is a big loss for the country’s socialist and workers’ movement. However, Andrei’s courage, in the face of state persecution, and his struggle against poverty, corruption and capitalism, and for a socialist society, will live on as an inspiration for CWI comrades in Kazakhstan, the CIS and internationally.

Below, Ainur Kurmanov, a well-known Socialist Resistance (CWi Kazakhstan) activist, who like Andrei has been regularly persecuted by the repressive right wing government, most recently spending Christmas in jail, pays tribute to comrade Andrei Klimentov.

Tragic loss of comrade Andrei Klimentov

Our comrade has died!

On 20 January 2009, comrade Andrei Klimentov died from a heart attack, at the young age of 35. Andrei was a talented journalist, who for many years worked as a human rights activist in the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights, and a leader of Socialist Resistance (CWI Kazakhstan) in the Aktubinsk area.

Andrei was always one of those people who could not remain indifferent to injustice; this was always reflected in his work and private life. His outspoken articles often led him into law courts. He was recently appointed to head the ‘Aktubinsk Times’ and before that he was a renowned contributor to papers such as the national ‘Republic’, ‘Free speech’ and ‘Vremya’. Andrei also wrote for websites and was a reporter on the radio station ‘Azattyk’. For his outspokenness, Andrei was attacked by his opponents. In 2004, he was brutally beaten by unknown assailants and last year he was again beaten with severe consequences.

From his youth, Andrei participated in social and political activities. He started in a group close to anarchism and was a founding member of the famous ‘Punk-club’ at the start of the nineties. He then became a follower of the rock musician Yerman Anti. In 2006, Andrei joined Socialist Resistance (CWI Kazakhstan) and established its Aktubinsk branch, which immediately began to gain a following amongst youth in the city. He organized a number of successful political events and political rock concerts.

Like any artistically-minded person, Andrei took events in our country close to heart. Unfortunately, he also suffered heart problems from an early age. Nevertheless, as well as his youthful kindheartedness and genuine openness, Andrei also had a great sense of humour. Knowing his love of practical jokes, Andrei’s friends did not initially believe he had passed away – and no doubt they did not want to believe the tragic news.

Andrei leaves his wife, Olga, who is a representative of the Human Rights Bureau in Aktubinsk and a small son, Ivan.

Andrei died in bed, in his sleep, when his heart stopped. Socialist Resistance Kazakhstan mourns the unbearable loss of our comrade. We will not forget him.

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January 2009