♦ Ilya Yankelevich Gabai is dead. He committed suicide on 20 October by jumping from the balcony of his 11th-floor flat ♦ More than a hundred people gathered at the Nikolskoye Crematorium in Moscow to pay their last respects to him. His ashes have been interred beside his father’s grave in Baku.
A teacher and a poet, he was 38 years old. He left behind a wife and two children.
One can only conjecture about the cause of his death. But explanations such as the effects of prison, interrogations, searches or the enforced idleness of a talented individual do not accord with one’s conception of Gabai.
To all those who knew him Ilya Gabai — an exceptionally compassionate man with an unrelenting sense of personal responsibility — was the embodiment of a moral presence. And even his last desperate act contains, probably, a message which it is incumbent upon his friends to understand…
See Ilya Gabai’s Last Words (Tashkent, 1970), CCE 35.13