Uładzimer Katkoŭski, a.k.a. Rydel23 and BR23, passed away yesterday after about a year in coma caused by a road accident. Katkoŭski was the webmaster of Radyjo Svaboda – the Belarusian branch of Radio Liberty, one of the editors of Pravapis – a site dedicated to Belarusian language, and a popular figure in Belarusian Internet culture. I knew him personally through the web and we exchanged some emails. While some people accused him of Belarusian nationalism and Russophobia, he was just a guy who wanted to speak his own language and tried to convince the world to give a little respect to the history of his country, which is considered by nearly everyone as just a bunch of counties in Western Russia.
May his soul rest in peace.
- Вянок памяці: Уладзімер Каткоўскі – an article in the memory of Katkoŭski at Radyjo Svaboda. It is written in Belarusian; if you know Russian or some other Slavic language, you will understand at least some of it.
- br23 blog. He won a national award for it.
- Rydel’s user page at Wikipedia – he got into heated arguments with Russian editors, at least some of whom were outright Russian nationalist, who did everything to promote the Moscow version of history.
- My older post about br23, with a pretty big discussion.
Oh (edit): The spelling of his name is inconsistent, because there are several contradicting spelling systems for Belarusian. -mier (-мер) is probably influenced by Polish, while -mir (-мір) leans more towards Russian. And of course i could just call him in the “simple” Russian-influenced form Vladimir Katkovski, but that would totally miss the point – he would certainly like the spelling of his name to be as Belarusian as possible.