Doctor killed in Russian plane crash had ties to Vermont

AP News
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Posted: Dec 27, 2016 1:38 PM

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A widely revered Russian doctor killed in the crash of a Russian military plane had lived for years in Vermont but had been working in her native country for the last several years, dedicating her life to helping children, terminally ill patients and people in war zones.

Dr. Yelizaveta Glinka, 54, was one of 92 people killed when the Tu-154 crashed Christmas morning after taking off from an airport in Sochi. The plane was headed to Syria, and Glinka was taking medicine to a hospital there.

For years she had been helping the poor and disadvantaged in Moscow. She also was tirelessly raising money, medical supplies and contributions to be shipped overseas to those in need, said her husband's Vermont law partner, Jess Schwidde.

"With a great deal of grace and dignity and joy, and with an amazing moral compass and authority, she was able to help the hopeless and to help those who were in need or terminally ill," Schwidde said Tuesday.

Glinka's husband was Vermont bankruptcy attorney Gleb Glinka, the son of a Russian language professor who taught in Vermont, Schwidde said. The two met in Russia and married in 1988 in the United States. They have two adult sons, he said.

The couple lived and worked in the U.S. for years, but Gleb Glinka started focusing his legal work in Ukraine and Russia about 20 years ago, and his wife started a hospice in Kiev before expanding her charity work to other areas, including war zones in eastern Ukraine and Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave her an award earlier this month.

"We never feel sure that we will come back alive," she said when Putin presented her with the award. "But we are sure that kindness, compassion and charity are stronger than any weapon."

The Glinkas still own land in the tiny village of Cabot, Vermont, where there is a Glinka Road, and they have a home there, Town Clerk Betty Ritter said Tuesday. Ritter worked as an assistant to Gleb Glinka for about seven years and knew his wife well.

"She was very caring, giving — loved her children, loved her husband," said Ritter, who last saw Yelizaveta Glinka about three years ago.

"I think Cabot has always been considered their home," Schwidde said.