By Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Burry, Tatiana Tulchinsky, Georgi M. Derluguian
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Extra resources for A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya
The Dagestanis clearly wanted to avoid what they saw happening across the border in Chechnya. The campaign seemed to be over in a matter of days. But in September a series of apartment block bombings in Dagestan and Moscow and other Russian towns brought Russian society to a state of shock and indignation akin to what Americans experienced on September 11, 2001. Shortly before the bombings, President Yeltsin, to everyone’s surprise, anointed as his successor the little-known former KGB ofﬁcer Vladimir Putin.
Why should I be the one to get up? ” ∗ Representatives of Federal troop units and military departments. The term is used both by them and by civilians. ” It’s the old man who cut off the tough guy, who, by the way, has been silent ever since. The old man laughs somewhere behind us, if you can call body movements and raspy sighs against the ground laughter. “You don’t know how lucky you are, man; they might think you’re counting us. ” Vakha is silent now; it’s no time for jokes. Everything in its place.
London, May 2002: The Beginning It is the eve of the summer of 2002. We are in the thirty-third month of the second Chechen war. The end of this hopeless war is nowhere to be seen. The “purges”∗ never stop; they resemble mass autos-da-f´e. Torture is the norm. Executions without a trial are routine. Marauding is commonplace. The kidnapping of people by Federal soldiers in order to conduct slave trading (with the living) or corpse trading (with the dead) is the stuff of everyday Chechen life. “Human substance” disappears overnight, without a trace, a` la 1937.