. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Who Was Paul Tatum?

A little time has now passed since someone ordered Paul Tatum's murder. I have read about him in many papers, I have had calls from many people asking me to speculate on what happened, I have done some quiet and not so quiet crying, drinking and questioning. I have had so many emotions about this man and I have been angry at what I have heard and read.


Paul was a man by the old standards, whether it be American or Russian. He was opinionated, gentlemanly, sexist, clever and many other adjectives. There are many people who are relieved that he is no longer here. Paul caused them embarrassment. These are tiny-minded people who should have supported and helped him but did not have the courage to do so. Others stood on the sidelines and watched instead of helping. This is to their shame, and they have to live with it.


Very few were allowed to be close friends. These few were the ones that Paul would listen to and sometimes even agree with. But like all men who are men, he always made his own decisions -- whether they were right or wrong. Paul was loved by many and probably hated by some, but no one was indifferent to him. Paul was polite and diplomatic when he thought it was needed and at other times opinionated, stubborn, humorous or persistent.


Paul was many times called a cowboy or a clown. He loved it. What have Americans become when we use these words disparagingly? Paul did in real life those things that American legends and stories talk about. I think that Russians probably understood him better. Stories of past heroes are not told about small people.


Why hasn't anyone talked about the many people that Paul helped? His causes were many. He was strongly for the "Toys for Tots" program at Christmas time. He instituted programs for education and the welfare of his adopted country. He brought many business people together. He spoke out about fair play and justice in a world that seems not to want hear about these things. He even organized meetings, rallies and parties for ethnically divided people in the former U.S.S.R. Many other people helped him on these projects and did not care too much about being recognized as long as things got done.


The dispute with the Radisson is the most stupid thing that I could ever have imagined. Were it not for Paul Tatum, the Radisson Slavjanskaya would have been just another hotel. Or perhaps Radisson would never have come to Moscow.


A man who could make this hotel happen in the first place did it so successfully that partners became greedy and grasping. Everybody tried to get more of the pie for himself. If they had supported Paul over the past few years, they could have used his strengths and had much more of a pie to divide.


He didn't break his word, and he insisted that others keep theirs. The whole issue was that Paul wanted the original contracts adhered to. This used to be important to Americans. Why do these same Americans try to turn it around?


It is said that you can't trust Russian partners, but what about so-called family-oriented American ones? Did Paul owe people money? Sure he did, but only because all of his funds had been taken from him by legal and maybe not-legal methods. But people don't talk about what they owed him. When Paul was fat, everybody was fat. He had a big heart and always helped those who needed it.


Paul appealed to everyone to stop what was happening. He told them he was in danger, and he was ignored. At any time in the past two years, the Radisson could have stopped what was happening. If the city of Moscow had wanted, it would have stopped. If pressure had been used from America, it would have stopped.


I don't know who issued the orders for his death, but all the parties that could have stopped this must share the blame. When they did nothing, somebody thought it would be all right to go further. Will it ever be solved? Probably not, because too much would come out in court about others, and they just want it to go away.


Paul Tatum was a man bigger than life and all who met him knew it. He did more in his time than most people would do in two or three lifetimes. Want to use the term "mover and shaker" in its correct context? He's the example. Paul stood up for the old American ideals that seem to have become unfashionable. A friend of Paul's once said "he has balls as big as church bells." That, to me, is the highest of compliments.


Paul believed in the movies that spoke about truth, justice and the American way. Do these things still exist? Paul Tatum thought so, and he was an example to all of us. If we don't understand, it is our loss.


Paul was not a martyr, he was more; he was a real American hero, and our world is smaller without him. If this country becomes a real business superpower in the future, it will be because of those who believe in and want to be part of it. How many of these people have lost the courage to do this? Paul's death is a major loss to Moscow and Russia.


To his family I can only say many of us grieve with you. He was a man in whom you can take great pride. He accomplished much, and there are many people who will remember him. To me this is the real measure of a man regardless of his time here. Was Paul a cowboy? He sure was and damned proud of it.


Who was Paul Tatum? He was my friend and I love and honor him.


It is a sad commentary that the hotel Paul helped to build didn't hold a memorial for him and instead left it to others. This brings great shame on their heads.





Robert Brown is a businessman who has lived and worked in Moscow for the past seven years.