Member of SEO community and her two children killed in Ukraine

We have learned the tragic news that a member of the SEO community has died. Tatiana Perebeinis was the chief accountant for SE Ranking, an SEO platform. 

Tatiana, 43, her two children (Alise, 9, and Nikita, 18) and another man were trying to evacuate from Irpin, Ukraine, when Russian forces fired on them, according to reports.

Tatiana Perebeinis, chief accountant for SE Ranking
Tatiana Perebeinis, chief accountant for SE Ranking

What happened

On Sunday, the New York Times documented the final moments of their lives. (Warning: the article contains a graphic image and video of the mortar attack and the aftermath):

“As the mortars got closer to the stream of civilians, people ran, pulling children, trying to find a safe spot. But there was nothing to hide behind. A shell landed in the street, sending up a cloud of concrete dust and leaving one family — a woman, her teenage son and a her daughter, who appeared to be about 8 years old; and a family friend — sprawled on the ground.

Soldiers rushed to help, but the woman and children were dead. A man traveling with them still had a pulse but was unconscious and severely wounded. He later died.

Their luggage, a blue roller suitcase and some backpacks, was scattered about, along with a green carrying case for a small dog that was barking.

Ukrainian forces were engaged in clashes nearby, but not at the site where civilians were moving along the street. Outgoing mortar rounds could be heard from a Ukrainian position about 200 yards away.

The shelling suggested either targeting of the evacuation routes from Irpin, something of which the Ukrainian authorities have accused the Russian army after a railroad track used for evacuations was hit on Saturday, or disregard for the risk of civilian casualties.”

– Lynsey Addario, New York Times

Tatiana had not tried to leave sooner because she was taking care of her sick mother. It’s unclear if the man Tatiana and her children were with was a family friend or a stranger. It was not her husband, Sergiy, as initially reported.

Message from SE Ranking

Here is the complete post that SE Ranking shared via LinkedIn and Facebook after learning about the death of Tatiana:

“We are devastated to say that yesterday our dear colleague and friend Tatiana Perebeinis, the chief accountant of SE Ranking, was killed together with her two kids by russian mortar artillery.

The family was trying to evacuate from Irpin – a small city right near Kyiv that has been left without water supply, electricity, and heating. 

There are no words to describe our grief or to mend our pain. But for us, it is crucial to not let Tania and her kids Alise and Nikita remain just statistics. Her family became the victim of the unprovoked fire on civilians, which under any law is a crime against humanity. 

The russian army are criminals, and they should be stopped. 

Our hearts are broken. Our prayers are for all Ukrainians, who are fighting for their right to exist.”

– SE Ranking

More about Tanya

I reached out to learn more about Tatiana – or Tanya, as her teammates called her – from SE Ranking. Thanks to Ksenia Khirvonina, public relations manager, for providing additional information about Tanya.

Tanya was a team member for more than five years, having been hired by SE Ranking in 2016. She was one of the first employees in SE Ranking’s Kyiv office. Over time, she eventually worked her way up to become head of the accounting department.

Just three days before the war, the SE Ranking team was meeting to make plans for the future. Now they are helping write an obituary for their beloved Tanya and her children.

“Tanya was adored by the team,” Khirvonina said. “You could always come to her for advice – she found kind and necessary words for everyone.

“Tanya was a highly qualified specialist – she quickly understood changing laws, helped to resolve issues at the intersection of legal and financial issues. At the same time, you could always come to her with the most stupid questions about taxes, international payments or anything else – she always patiently answered,” Khirvonina added.

Tanya and her family moved to Kyiv from Donetsk in 2014 when the war started there. They were looking to start life anew. In 2018, they bought and rebuilt an apartment in Irpin, a “resort” suburb of Kyiv. It was a big project for Tanya and Sergiy. They hoped the new home would become a fortress for the family for many years to come.

But sadly, that dream came to an end soon after Russia invaded Ukraine. A shell destroyed the family’s apartment. Tanya and her family were forced to sleep in their basement.

Even in the most difficult moments near the end of her life, Khirvonina said, Tanya never lost her courage or sense of humor. She continued to bring cheer to everyone around her.

“She had a great sense of humor,” Khirvonina said. “Her stories about children or disputes with her husband during repairs (of their apartment in Irpin) made everyone laugh.”

Community Reaction

The search community is heartbroken by this news. Here is just a small sampling of the comments from SE Ranking’s Facebook post. 

A large part of SE Ranking’s team is made of Ukrainians. They published a blog post, How You Can Help Ukrainians Today (SE Ranking Team Included), if you are looking for ways to help.

“We have no words but curses against those who justify the war,” Khirvonina said. “We have yet to accept everything that has happened, how to better and more correctly honor Tanya’s memory. But right now, we’re devastated, and all we want is for the Russian army to cease to exist.”

New on Search Engine Land

About The Author

Danny Goodwin is Senior Editor of Search Engine Land. In addition to writing daily about SEO, PPC, and more for Search Engine Land, Goodwin also manages Search Engine Land’s roster of subject-matter experts. He also helps program our conference series, SMX – Search Marketing Expo.

Prior to joining Search Engine Land, Goodwin was Executive Editor at Search Engine Journal, where he led editorial initiatives for the brand. He also was an editor at Search Engine Watch. He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.

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