In the wake of the global financial crisis, Russia experienced a resurgent nationalism, and in 2012 Vladimir Putin returned to lead the country.
Mazurenko had been the consummate bon vivant in Moscow, but running a startup had worn him down, and he was prone to periods of melancholy.
On the days he felt depressed, Kuyda took him out for surfing and $1 oysters.
Meanwhile, Mazurenko had grown from a skinny teen into a strikingly handsome young man.
Blue-eyed and slender, he moved confidently through the city’s budding hipster class.
Mazurenko would keep his friends up all night discussing culture and the future of Russia.
“He was so forward-thinking and charismatic,” said Poydo, who later moved to the United States to work with him.
hen the engineers had at last finished their work, Eugenia Kuyda opened a console on her laptop and began to type. “This is your digital monument.” It had been three months since Roman Mazurenko, Kuyda’s closest friend, had died.
Kuyda had spent that time gathering up his old text messages, setting aside the ones that felt too personal, and feeding the rest into a neural network built by developers at her artificial intelligence startup.
In family photos, Mazurenko roller-skates, sails a boat, and climbs trees.
Average in height, with a mop of chestnut hair, he is almost always smiling.