photo taken in The Hague in 2011, 5 years ago, when Valery was in the Netherlands and we went together to see a common friend in The Hague, Paul Rafferty (in the middle).
The news about the death of Valery Novoselsky has reached me when I was in Italy. He has passed away in the weekend before my departure and it took several days until I learned what had happened. I was shocked, I was more shocked than I can say.
I had seen his message on Facebook, where he expressed his being depressed. I knew about his difficulties in finding funds for RVN. Valery was 29 years old when he founded Roma Virtual Network. With thousands of subscribers, it was the biggest Roma network on earth. For about 17 years, Valery would spend all his energy, time and money on it. He did not have a private life. As a matter of fact, RVN was more than a full-time job, RVN was his life fulfilment, his life partner, RVN was Valery...
Thanks to a grant from Soros, he managed to survive and to develop the network. Numerous academics, journalists and human rights activists profited from the daily information being spread. But there was not enough money to have a break every now and then. There was too much work on the shoulders of a single man, who sacrificed all the good things of life in order to continue. No partner, no children, no house of his own. Valery was travelling a lot, staying in the house of friends. Always he had his laptop with him that enabled him to work.
I tried to help him to get a stable income. The work he was doing was so important for Roma and Sinti. His financial independence was a crucial thing. I turned to Amnesty, I nominated him for an award, I invited academics to financially support him... I am sorry I did not succeed. Valery had to work in a factory to finance the work for RVN!
I could have known that he was really feeling depressed, but he was such a fighter, that strong... And then I received the message of his death in Riga, in the weekend of 20-21 August 2016. He was only 46 years old.
The daily news from RVN has stopped. The initiator has stopped to send them. Dear, dear Valery, thank you for all your efforts! The best reward for you is relaxation after all the stress. And the second best reward is that someone else will take over your work. RVN deserves continuation!
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