By Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Burry, Tatiana Tulchinsky, Georgi M. Derluguian
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Additional info for A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya
Then they gather Vakha’s remains and spend quite a while discussing where to bring them. To his mother, wife, and children in the camp at Ingushetia? Or to his empty house in Achkhoi-Martan? Reason prevails—the body should be brought to Achkhoi, of course. It will be buried there anyway, in the family cemetery. So why waste money lugging it to Ingushetia? You need to bribe a lot of people to get there. At the Kavkaz checkpoint, the border between this war and the rest of the world, you need to pay twice, once each way.
Wounded? “Don’t move. Don’t raise your head. That’s my advice,” a man next to me says. He dropped to the ground right where he was, in his black suit with a white shirt and black tie. My neighbor Vakha starts talking nonstop. This is a good thing; it’s better to talk now than to be silent. Vakha is a land surveyor from Achkhoi-Martan, a big village not far from Ingushetia. In wartime Chechnya, everyone is afraid of everything. This morning, Vakha left his house wearing his suit and carrying his folder as usual, so as not to attract attention, as if he were going to work.
Even in the presence of Putin’s presidential special ambassador for the observance of human rights in the zone of antiterrorist operations? As soon as you enter the former dormitory of the old cement factory in Chiri-Yurt, which has been turned into a refugee settlement, you 44 / A S M A L L C O R N E R O F H E L L hear wailing. A protracted half-animal monotone evoking the farthest reaches of despair. When these people ﬁnd out that you’re a journalist, they cling to your clothing, your hands and feet, as if you were a magician, as if something essential depended on you, such as a gigantic truck with more than enough ﬂour for everyone who is trying to survive.
A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya by Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Burry, Tatiana Tulchinsky, Georgi M. Derluguian