Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The news of all the "special operations" in Chechnya.

The news of all the raids on the shabby, 5-storeyed khrushchevka buildings in the neighboring republics.

In Khasavyurt, Daghestan, today, blood on the floor of a tiny, shitty apartment with shattered windows and bullet marks on the ceiling. The blood is, possibly, of Raja Aliyev, b. 1984, allegedly head of a militant group from Chechnya. A dead body on the floor is probably Aliyev's as well. On the table, "the evidence": a few Qur'ans and a dozen other religious-looking volumes - and then, suddenly, a 1980s Soviet edition of the Arabian Nights, its cover filled with Islamic ornaments, pretty and so unmistakably familiar. But I'm sure there are people out there who'd think it's yet another "fundamentalist" text. Also, there's a knife on the table that looks like something out of an antiques store or a bootlegger's backpack. No kitchen knives presented as "evidence" - which is very encouraging. Nothing that looks 100 percent like weapons, either, just the books - which is frightening.

Elsewhere in Russia, a very young man, missing both of his arms. There are the shoulders - and then nothing. He's a former soldier and he's at a hospital, where there are quite a few young men like him, crippled beyond hope. Many of them served in Chechnya. The young man can walk but there's no way he can take a leak without external help. A woman from a nearby church comes to the hospital regularly to sit and talk with these boys. The church community has collected money and bought several cell phones for the boys, so that they could call their relatives.

All this, on the NTV's 10 pm news program.

As David McDuff pointed out in his comment to the previous post, the Chechens mark the 61st anniversary of Stalin's deportations tomorrow (today). For the rest of the country, it's the Day of the Defenders of the Motherland, a day off.

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