Russian plane crash: The victims

People pay tribute in front of the home stage building of the Alexandrov Ensemble in Moscow, 26 December Image copyright AFP
Image caption People laid flowers outside the ensemble's headquarters in Moscow

When a military airliner crashed into the Black Sea on 25 December, with the loss of all 92 people aboard, the disaster sent a shock wave through Russian society.

It touched the worlds of entertainment, media and charity work, as well as the military itself. What do we know of the victims?


The Alexandrov Ensemble

Sixty-four members of the official choir of the Russian armed forces, men and women, were on the doomed plane, plus Lt-Gen Valery Khalilov, the Alexandrov's conductor.

The Alexandrov, which also includes an orchestra and dancers, is also known as the Red Army Choir, created in 1928.

It takes its name from its first director, Alexander Vasilyevich Alexandrov, who wrote the music to the Soviet and Russian national anthem.

Responding to news of the disaster, celebrated Russian actor Vasily Lanovoy could barely control his emotions as he explained the ensemble's significance: "When I was a kid, during the [Nazi] occupation in 1941, I heard their 'Stand up, great country' for the first time, on the third day of the war. I think it is a great ensemble and it needs to be revived. It should not disappear."

Image copyright vesti tv grab
Image caption Kirill Kolobrodov was one of the ensemble's stars

Among the ensemble's most distinguished artistes was solo dancer Kirill Kolobrodov, 39.

He had spent 20 years performing and had officially retired, with the title of "Labour Veteran". His father Alexander said he loved the ensemble so much that he had extended his contract for another year.

"He was my only son... After New Year he was going to fly to China for a three-week work trip, but it's all over now," Alexander Kolobrodov told Russia's Life News. The dancer is survived by a pregnant wife and three-year-old son.

Image copyright Ralina Gilmanova
Image caption Dancer Ralina Gilmanova hailed from Kazan, capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan

Ralina Gilmanova, 22, was a ballerina in the ensemble and died with her boyfriend aboard the Tu-154 jet, solo singer Mikhail Vasin, 25. They had met about 18 months ago in the ensemble.

One of Gilmanova's friends, called Ildar, told Russia's Komsomolskaya Pravda daily that the couple were planning to get married and had met each other's parents.

Gilmanova began her dance career at a ballet school in Kostroma, an historic city northeast of Moscow. Ildar, who also learnt dancing there, said she had asked him for advice about her career.

"She was ambitious - she was very keen to get into the Alexandrov Ensemble, and I was all for it, I supported her... She radiated good spirits, she smiled a lot," he said.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mourning candles burn next to a portrait of conductor Valery Khalilov

Lt-Gen Valery Khalilov, 64, was conductor and artistic director of the ensemble, as well as a composer.

He was decorated as a People's Artist of the Russian Federation in 2014 - one of Russia's highest honours. He was born in Uzbekistan, and his father conducted military bands.

From the age of 11 he specialised in music at school, mastering the clarinet, and learnt conducting at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatoire.

He was appointed conductor of the Alexandrov Ensemble in April this year, having spent years conducting other military orchestras. As a top musician he travelled to many European countries, as well as the US and North Korea.

He composed works for brass bands, choirs and chamber ensembles.

Image copyright balletvrn.ru
Image caption The Voronezh Choreographic School commemorates its star pupil Liliya Pyreva

Liliya Pyreva, 19, was a ballerina who only joined the ensemble six months ago - and she was the youngest member.

Joining the Alexandrov was a dream come true for her.

A teacher who coached her at the Voronezh Choreographic School said Pyreva had expressed extraordinary emotion in her final ballet exam. She was performing the role of a girl bidding farewell to her soldier boyfriend, as he headed for the war zone.

"Liliya got it perfectly," Anastasia Shcheblykina told Voronezh website Svezhiy Veter. "I watched and thought 'she's just 19 - where did she learn how hard it is to say goodbye to loved ones?' And now it's really hard for me too."


'Doctor Liza'

One of Russia's best-known humanitarian figures, Yelizaveta Glinka - known popularly as Dr Liza - was executive director of the Fair Aid charity.

Image copyright Russian Ministry of Defence

She was on the flight to deliver medication to a university hospital in Latakia.

In the Russian capital, she is mostly remembered for feeding, clothing and providing medical care to the homeless people who sleep in train stations.

"Liza Glinka helped the people that everyone turned away," human rights activist and opposition journalist Zoya Svetova, who knew her, told AFP news agency.

She was also known for evacuating sick and injured children from the war-torn separatist regions of east Ukraine, for treatment in Moscow.

Her actions in Ukraine brought her the enmity of some on the Ukrainian government side, who went so far as to accuse her of "abducting" children, while she was also criticised in Russia herself for her political views.

But tributes were paid to her right across the political spectrum in Russia.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former oil tycoon jailed under President Vladimir Putin, said: "She was ready to lay down her life for what she thought right. And she did so. Our disagreements are in the past. May she be eternally remembered."

Margarita Simonyan, head of Russian state broadcaster RT, wrote: "Dr Liza was a person who attracted nothing but admiration. Not for herself, it was never about her, only about the sick."

Just a few weeks before the crash, Dr Glinka was quoted (in Russian) as saying: "We are never sure we'll come back alive because war is hell on earth."


TV crews

Nine members of the Russian media were aboard the jet, including crews from Channel One and the NTV channels, and the military TV channel, Zvezda.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Flowers have been laid for the dead journalists at Moscow's television tower

Their deaths became the subject of a furious row on Russian social media after socialite Bozhena Rynska suggested on Facebook (in Russian) that some of them had been killed as divine retribution for past misreporting by pro-Kremlin media.

Her comments are now being investigated by Russian prosecutors, an official told Russia's Ria news agency.


Anton Gubankov

Image copyright Russian Ministry of Defence

The head of the Russian defence ministry's Department of Culture, Anton Gubankov, worked to popularise the armed forces with the young.

He once rapped on YouTube to encourage young Russian men not to fear military conscription.

He also wrote the song Polite People, which celebrates the Russian soldiers who oversaw the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2013 in a largely bloodless operation.


The crew

The plane was flown by its regular crew of eight, Sergei Bainetov, chief of the Russian Armed Forces flight safety service, told the Rossiya state TV channel.

Maj Roman Volkov (more than 3,000 flight hours) was in command, with Capt Alexander Rovensky his co-pilot (10 years of aviation service), the channel says.

Image copyright Russian Ministry of Defence
Image caption Maj Roman Volkov
Image copyright Russian Ministry of Defence
Image caption Capt Alexander Rovensky

Other victims

Two civil servants, one of them Oxana Badrutdinova, were also among the dead.

Image copyright Russian Ministry of Defence
Image caption Russian civil servant Oxana Badrutdinova was among the dead

More on this story