A City in Mourning: In Memory of Lokomotiv

September 10, 2011

Yaroslavl Remembers Lokomotiv

Yaroslavl Remembers Lokomotiv

Many of you have already heard about the tragedy that recently occurred in Yaroslavl. On Wednesday, September 7th, shortly after taking off from the Tunoshna airport, a Yak-42 airplane containing the entire Lokomotiv hockey team crashed into the Volga River. Out of the 45 people on board, 43 have been confirmed dead.

Being both national and international champions, Lokomotiv was the pride of Yaroslavl. The team had members from ten different countries—a number of whom were Olympians—making this both a great local and international loss.

As soon as news started spreading about the crash, all the Russians I was with started receiving phone calls from friends bearing the terrible news. «Локомотив»[1]was on

Jerseys, Scarves, and Flowers

Jerseys, Scarves, and Flowers

everybody’s lips. From the classroom, we could hear car horns honking, and cries of “Loka! Loka!” The tributes have become yet more numerous, with flowers piled high at the crash site and the Lenin statue on the Yaroslavl Red Square, tables “reserved” for the team in many cafés and restaurants, and locals proudly sporting their Lokomotiv scarves and jerseys. The day after the crash, President Medvedev came to the crash site in recognition of the impact of this tragedy on Russia.

I was waiting for a friend at a bus stop a couple  nights ago when lights started flashing in the road. Tens of police officers swept through, followed by police cars, large military trucks, and a crowd of fans chanting “Loka! Loka! Yaroslavl! Yaroslavl!” It turns out that this was a parade escorting the team around the city. Even after their deaths, Yaroslavl will still cheer for all the players and members of the Lokomotiv team.

Lenin Statue in the Yaroslavl Red Square

In memory of the team, I added a rose to the memorial at the Lenin Statue in the Yaroslavl Red Square

Walking about today, I suddenly found myself lost in an enormous crowd. Police and soldiers were standing guard all around, and flowers were strewn on the street, laid on ledges of buildings, and propped against piles of dirt. Avoiding eye contact with the милиция (that’s always a good idea; take note), I quickly found a different route to my destination (generally avoiding crowds is yet another good idea). It turned out that the memorial service and burial of the Lokomotiv team took place today.

A couple hours ago, I made my way into the cemetery to pay respects. The graves are piled high with flowers and banners. There were mothers with baby carriages, men drunkenly leaning on their friends, teenagers wearing Loka paraphernalia, and elderly women blessing the graves. This tragedy affected everyone in Yaroslavl, and far beyond.

Please keep in your minds and hearts the family and friends of the Lokomotiv team, the city of Yaroslavl, and the nation of Russia. Спасибо за внимание.[2]


[1] Lokomotiv

[2] Thank you for your attention.


2 Responses to “A City in Mourning: In Memory of Lokomotiv”

  1. nateinsiberia said

    Sarah, if you can, lay some flowers for Ben and I. Their coach was Canadian, and two of the players were former Milwaukee Admirals that I watched play when I was young. Thank you.

  2. sarahinthegoldencircle said

    Of course, Nate. I’ll be sure to lay some flowers down just for you and Ben.

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