IN MEMORIAM – MAXIM PETROV
The Access Now team would like to pay special tribute to Maxim Petrov, a Safety Specialist for the Digital Security Helpline — and also a friend. He passed away on September 15, 2021.
As part of the Helpline team, Maxim provided invaluable digital safety advice and support for civil society groups at risk around the world. Since his start in March 2021, Maxim managed and solved nearly 200 Helpline cases, aiding activists and human rights defenders across a number of countries. Maxim excelled as a Safety Specialist, showing deep care to those who reached out to the Helpline. Maxim’s kindness was contagious; he truly believed that everyone deserves appropriate respect and treatment.
Before joining Access Now, Maxim studied Computer Science and Marketing and worked with various organizations to give technical support to end users, including from financial institutions, businesses, and NGOs.
His loss is heartfelt by his colleagues and friends in the Helpline and by the entire Access Now team. His legacy of kindness and compassion will forever live with us.
“I was fortunate enough to work with and get to know Maxim. He was a very kind and caring person committed to helping users at risk to stay safe and secure online. Even though he worked with us for a short period, he has left an impact on the organization and the larger digital rights community. He is dearly missed by his colleagues and friends at Access Now.”
“I did his finance onboarding and had a really great time. In one hour, you could feel he was a really great guy. He was so kind and was always smiling.”
“I did Maxim’s little doodle for our website and my small interaction with him was very sweet.”
“For those who knew him well, or even just on a Zoom call, it was immediately clear what a lovely and caring man he was. I remember when he was introduced to the team. He told us of his three cats and an injured bird (the victim of the eldest cat).”
“Maxim had a unique persona within our team. I was lucky enough to team-up with him closely, and everything about him was unique: his lovely accent, his charismatic voice, his cheerfulness and his honesty. Maxim was also a remarkable record-breaker work-wise — what he did with his Helpline tickets was simply unprecedented.”
“I was lucky to have the chance to recruit Maxim and welcome and onboard him to Access Now. From day one, you saw that he was a man with a very kind heart and such a positive spirit. And he had a great sense of humour! I will always remember our conversations.”
“Maxim was a great colleague, always willing to help and showing a positive attitude. His contributions to the Helpline and the at-risk communities that we serve had a great impact, and he will be missed.”
“Maxim and I had our onboarding chat together, and even in that brief interaction, I was struck by his cheerful, gentle, and caring presence.”
“This is a tragic loss for us, his team, the digital rights movement, and anyone fortunate enough to have met him. He was such a kind, smiling and courageous soul, and the deep sadness he leaves behind speaks volumes about the kind of person he was.”
“I didn’t get the chance to know Maxim for long, but his presence made a huge impact in the region, especially the positive vibe that he had as a colleague in the Helpline team.”
“I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Maxim when he applied for his job at Access Now — hands down I’ve never enjoyed a conversation with a potential candidate more. He was, of course, well-qualified for the role and experienced in all the areas we would ask of a candidate, but more, it was his enthusiasm — call it delight — at the prospect of working with and supporting activists and actors at risk that resonated with me. He smiled through the entire discussion — as did I — and I left the discussion feeling like we were going to be lucky enough to bring someone onto the team with a deep commitment to the cause and a level of humanity and empathy that would be transformational for the work of our Helpline and the experience of our clients.”
“Maxim had suffered a lot throughout his life, but he always had a smiling face and was ready to help others. He fought this horrible disease bravely until the very end for over two months in an intensive care unit, where he had to find out about his grandmother and his mother had passed away. He loved the team and enjoyed working at Access Now. It is so unfair that he had to leave.”
“Each time I spoke with Maxim and better understood his circumstances and views, it was clear that he cared deeply about people and about the future. He was a kind and thoughtful person who imagined a more just and compassionate world for everyone. His presence and attitude will be deeply missed by his colleagues, those he had (or would have) on the Helpline, and by those who loved and cared for him. His legacy and impact will remain with me for years to come.”
“I will be quoting a TV show I watched recently called ‘What If …?’ The character speaking is named ‘the vision,’ and he is reflecting at the end of episode 6 about the loss of one of the Avengers: ‘Heroes are never really gone; they live forever — as do the ones they inspire to carry on the fight.’ We lost an admirable hero and we should carry on to honor his memory.”
“He was a very caring person who worked hard to provide support to the communities at risk in our region and beyond. He will be missed by the Helpline, Access Now, and the digital rights community.”