On 16 December 2010, Serguei Vinogradov, Russian translator at UNOG, passed away. His colleagues take this opportunity to remember him.
On 16 December, Serguei’s vibrant life
was cut short by an insidious and harrowing
disease that he fought against until the
bitter end. Quite simply, he did not know
the meaning of the words “to give up”. He
was always a winner, always able to find a
way out of the most hopeless predicaments,
even though, more than once, life led him
into what seemed to be a dead-end.
His long and impeccable service with the United Nations was by no means always cloudless and trouble-free. A translator and a journalist, guided by his heart and dictated by his sense of duty, he found himself many a time in critical situations where he had to exert all his unbending will and use all the enormous skill and expertise acquired during his service to take extremely tough decisions. In this regard, his mission to Kosovo, where he worked for several years as a UN information officer, was probably one of the most stressful times in his career. His impressions of that time are well portrayed in his novel covering that tough period of his life. For Serguei was not just a highly qualified translator and journalist, but a talented writer as well. For him, Chekhov was a paragon without equal, and his own writing, which was, like Chekhov’s, easy to understand, appealing and insightful, transformed his vast life experience into book form. Serguei wrote two novels and several short stories. He also contributed to UN Chronicle and to Ex-Tempore. Even while sick, he was working on stories and essays on an almost daily basis. He was also a talented musician and a great connoisseur of music: when Mother Nature endows somebody with talent, more often than not, she endows them with more than their fair share of talent. That was certainly true of Serguei. He composed and played his own songs, some of which – with a little help from his friends – were due to be released soon. And we are sure this will still happen. Serguei, our friend, may your memory be cherished! We love you, we are proud of you and all that you accomplished! We shall keep you in our memory forever!