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
On the Feds’ side, these battles were conducted by (among other units) the tank regiment under the command of Yury Budanov, which was considered one of the best units of the Russian armed forces. This was the same Budanov, a colonel with two Orders of Bravery on his chest, whose experience has clearly shaped the new face of Putin’s promilitary and neo-Soviet Russia, where the ends once again justify the means. Right here, in the field between Chiri-Yurt and Duba-Yurt, in February 2000, several of Budanov’s officers were killed, among them his best friend Major Razmakhnin.
The world knows this gray-haired man completely differently from the way he appears now. They know him from photographs in the newspapers, in news agency reports, and on TV: a dashing, zealous, alert man with a khaki bandanna tied in back of his head, always next to Maskhadov. ∗ Dzhokhar Dudayev (1944–1996): The ﬁrst president of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (1992–1996), killed by a self-guiding missile in April 1996, during a phone conversation using a satellite communication system. An ofﬁcer of the Soviet army, a pilot who took part in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
With time, its consequences grow still more severe. Wandering around the war-stricken Chechen villages and towns for months, I met more and more people who, like the refugees from Duba-Yurt, obey only one law, the biological law of survival. The war hasn’t just damaged the Chechen land—it has also scarred the people’s souls. Hundreds of thousands were driven out of their homes, into the camps, into the ﬁelds, or just to the middle of nowhere, and forced to adopt new laws of life, the camp laws.