One soldier’s war

The Boston Globe runs a Q&A with soldier-turned-author Arkady Babchenko. As an 18 year draftee he fought with the Russian Army in 1995 in the First Chechen War. In 1999, he volunteered to fight in the Second Chechen War. “One Soldier’s War” is his account of his experiences. Babchenko lives in Moscow and now works as a journalist with Novaya Gazeta – the same newspaper that Anna Politkovskaya wrote for before she was murdered. Talking about volunteering to go to Chechnya, Babchenko has this to say,

It’s hard to explain. War is a powerful narcotic; it gives you an exceptionally acute perception of life. Everything is simple there. It’s a kind of freedom. It’s also a kind of madness. Remarque described this condition very well. I never expected to come back alive from the first Chechnya war. If my father hadn’t died, I would have been dispatched to Grozny and killed there; I know it for sure. So I felt I had to go back . . . . Also I didn’t like the world around me then. In fact I don’t like it now either. If there is a third war in Chechnya I’ll go again, but I won’t pick up arms. Today I have a different means of influencing the situation: journalism. link