Friday, October 14, 2005

Waiting To Be Arrested

A fit fifty-year-old Chechen mountaineer named Vakha from the village of Tovzeni used to work for the KGB, and also as a teacher in the local high school. Now he works as a volunteer, collecting information on the atrocities committed by the Russian army. For that reason, he expects to be arrested and thrown into a pit every night.

Vakha knows how to answer the question dodged by the colonel. He tells me the most unbelievable stories about a short stay of Basayev's brigade in his village. The village residents had really hoped Basayev would finally be arrested. He and his men were exhausted; it could not have been easier. But the army, which had been positioned in a tight circle around the village, suddenly moved away, exactly for the time when Basayev stayed there.

And believe it or not, he left. But as soon as the bandits had gone into the mountains, the soldiers started to arrest and torture the village residents, who had had nothing to do with the militants. while leaving those who had actually taken part in the bloodshed alo:ne. After all, the villagers know everything about everyone.
Anna Politkovskaya, A Small Corner Of Hell: Dispatches From Chechnya (2003)
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