Kuyda and Mazurenko, who by then had become close friends, came to believe that their futures lay elsewhere.
Both became entrepreneurs, and served as each other’s chief adviser as they built their companies.
“It was like a flamingo living in the house,” she said recently, sitting in the kitchen of the apartment she shared with Mazurenko. But it doesn’t really fit anywhere.” Kuyda hoped that in time her friend would reinvent himself, just as he always had before.
They remember him as an unusually serious child; when he was 8 he wrote a letter to his descendents declaring his most cherished values: wisdom and justice.
They started magazines, music festivals, and club nights — friends they had introduced to each other formed bands and launched companies.
“He was a brilliant guy,” said Kuyda, who was similarly ambitious.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, Russia experienced a resurgent nationalism, and in 2012 Vladimir Putin returned to lead the country.
The dream of a more open Russia seemed to evaporate.