After 19 years of being married Nikolai Pechkanov and Maria Kononets from the city of Chernigov did not wish to be parted from each other. At the end of August Nikolai received the awful news: he was diagnosed with liver cancer. Doctors told him he only had one month to live.
“After Maria found out about her husband’s condition she lost her liveliness. She was deeply grieved because Nikolai rejected the surgery,” tells friend of the woman. Maria Kononets took care of her husband and gave him painkilling injections.
On that tragic day the neighbors sensed that something was wrong. “When we knocked on the door no one answered. Even though we had a spare key we didn’t dare to come in and instead called the police,” explains neighbor Galina.
When the investigators arrived they discovered a horrible scene. Inside the apartment by the living room entrance two bodies were hanging from the door jamb. The couple passed two loops through the holes they made in the door frames.
Next to the hanged bodies lay the overturned chairs. Tatyana Chikova, an attorney’s assistant said she could not recover from what she saw at the apartment for a few days.
Once the apartment was examined it became clear that the spouses carefully planned and prepared their suicide. They clean the apartment, covered the mirrors and destroyed all their photographs. On the table lay money for the funeral and clothes which they wished to be buried in, Ukraina Kriminalnaya reports.
In their suicide notes Nikolai and Maria asked not to be brought back to the apartment but instead be taken directly to the cemetery from the mortuary. They also asked not to collect money for the funeral wreaths. “Please burry us close to each other, if possible in the same grave,” Nikolai Pechkanov wrote.
Friends and neighbors spoke very well of the married couple, highlighting the fact that Nikolai and Maria lived in peace and unity and always were seen together.
Friends also mentioned that for the deceased the marriage was their second. Nikolai had a son from his previous marriage but apparently there was no relationship between them, and the man did not attend his father’s funeral.
Psychologist Yuriy Levchenko told Pravda.ru that there could be various reasons for suicide in a case like this. First of all there is a stereotype that two people that shared their whole lives should die on the same day.
“This tragedy shows that stereotypes could be useful and harmful,” Levchenko says, “People tend to hide their weaknesses behind the stereotypes.”
The second reason according to the psychologist has to do with the social isolation of the couple. After the collapse of the Soviet Union many people found themselves to be alienated from the rest of the society and sought to find comfort within the family. As a result they doom themselves for loneliness together.
Maria and Nikolai were very close and they found remedy from loneliness and meaning for their lives’ in each other. That is why the 75-year-old woman could not bare to live on completely alone.
Still, says Levchenko, one should not forget the power of true love in cases like this. The two must have appreciated each other so much that the idea of being separated was more terrifying to them than the idea of death.
Translated by Natasha Vysotskaya