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A Dirty War A Russian Reporter in Chechnya

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The Chechen War was supposed to be over in 1996 after the first Yeltsin campaign but in the summer of 1999 the new Putin government decided in their own words to 'do the job properly' Before all the bodies of those who had died in the first campaign had been located or identified many thousands would be slaughtered in another round of fightingThe first account to be written by a Russian woman A Dirty War is an I have a Bachelor degree in Journalism and Communication and I remember Anna Politkovskaya's biography very well I grew fond of her work and writing style as I went through numerous reads on investigative journalism Her research and articles were helpful and insightful not only to me but to every student who aspired to be a great investigative journalist Anna's life and experiences are a work study in itself let alone her investigations It is unbelievable that in 2002 there was an actual war followed by enormous atrocities that was happening right under Europe's nose While reading the book I felt like I was going through WW1 or at least WW2 but when Anna was mentioning elevators phones buildings with than five floors jeans personal cars and motorcycles I couldn't bring myself to grasp the fact that these almost Medieval like barbarisms were happening only 15 years ago I have a Masters degree in International Relations and Diplomacy and my dissertation's keyword was 'Russianness' Exactly Russia doesn't mean anything but 'Russianness' does Anna discerns it throughout her entire work and now I regret a little for not using her book as a reference for my thesis What about it though? When Russia begins to lose balance in her status then starts seeking it from over the fence Why? Cause she cannot find anything within the facades Though I have heard freuently that Anna is an anti Russian as it may seem from her work I do think that she loved her country than anyone could love a country but not in anyone's way We are all almost intuitively entitled to patriotism towards our country due to nationalistic propaganda in modern terms Foreign Policy nation's image branding process and so on It is different when it comes to feeling a part of a certain nation in a human levelI recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about a different image of Russia see how one huge country wages war to a weak country in order to become great in people's small minds

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Edgy and intense study of a conflict that shows no sign of being resolved Exasperated by the Russian government's attempt to manipulate media coverage of the war journalist Anna Politkovskaya undertook to go to Chechnya to make regular reports and keep events in the public eyeIn a series of despatches from July 1999 to January 2001 she vividly describes the atrocities and abuses of war whether it be the corrupt This was my first real exposure to Politkovskaya's work And after reading Nothing is True and Everything is Possible and The Sky Wept Fire just before this it's difficult to rate a book about how much I liked it Politkovskaya's prose is brutal mirroring her subject matter I would rate this as a must read for anyone wanting to understand Moscow's relationship with Chechnya and the Chechens

Anna Politkovskaya ì 2 Review

Ion endemic in post Communist Russia in particular the government and the military or the spurious arguments and abominable behaviour of the Chechen authorities In these courageous reports Politkovskaya excoriates male stupidity and brutality on both sides of the conflict and interviews the civilians whose homes and communities have been laid waste leaving them nowhere to live and nothing and no one to believe I have already read Babchenko's war memoir and this only reinforces the horror of that book Everyone involved in the tragedy of Chechnya was so terribly brutalized This book killed me a little La boîte à outils de la Création d'entreprise - Edition 2019 - 63 outils clés en main nowhere to live and Id Reflex' Location en Meuble LMP-LMNP nothing and 107 Principes Immobiliers (pour Investir comme un Pro et S'enrichir avec la Pierre) no one to believe I have already read Babchenko's war memoir and this only reinforces the horror of that book Everyone involved in the tragedy of Chechnya was so terribly brutalized This book killed me a little


10 thoughts on “A Dirty War A Russian Reporter in Chechnya

  1. says:

    I read this book a few years before Anna Politkovskaya was murdered and I was astonished at the time by her passionate need to pursue the truth of the Chechen war without favoring either side She was as contemptuous of both sides as she was sympathetic to those who were forced in whatever way to become part of the brutality for which both sides were responsible She wrote from and for the human level Her aim was to be a reporter someone who saw a situation and told us what she saw Too honest an approach too troubling for those in power too vivid in her descriptions of how war works on the human mind and body Someone decided she was too much of a nuisance too bothered by death So she too had to die


  2. says:

    I have a Bachelor degree in Journalism and Communication and I remember Anna Politkovskaya's biography very well I grew fond of her work and writing style as I went through numerous reads on investigative journalism Her research and articles were helpful and insightful not only to me but to every student who aspired to be a great investigative journalist Anna's life and experiences are a work study in itself let alone her investigations It is unbelievable that in 2002 there was an actual war followed by enormous atrocities that was happening right under Europe's nose While reading the book I felt like I was going through WW1 or at least WW2 but when Anna was mentioning elevators phones buildings with than five floors jeans personal cars and motorcycles I couldn't bring myself to grasp the fact that these almost Medieval like barbarisms were happening only 15 years ago I have a Masters degree in International Relations and Diplomacy and my dissertation's keyword was 'Russianness' Exactly Russia doesn't mean anything but 'Russianness' does Anna discerns it throughout her entire work and now I regret a little for not using her book as a reference for my thesis What about it though? When Russia begins to lose balance in her status then starts seeking it from over the fence Why? Cause she cannot find anything within the facades Though I have heard freuently that Anna is an anti Russian as it may seem from her work I do think that she loved her country than anyone could love a country but not in anyone's way We are all almost intuitively entitled to patriotism towards our country due to nationalistic propaganda in modern terms Foreign Policy nation's image branding process and so on It is different when it comes to feeling a part of a certain nation in a human levelI recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about a different image of Russia see how one huge country wages war to a weak country in order to become great in people's small minds


  3. says:

    Anyone tempted to say that heroes no longer exist need look no further than opposition Russian journalists to be proven wrong Although there are many heroes and martyrs amongst that group the name Anna Politkovskaya is particularly sacred A furious truth teller Politkovskay always had the courage of her convictions descending into chaos corruption and the hell of the Second Chechen War in order to shine the light of her reporting on the deserving and undeserving alike Her murder about which doubts still linger was a tragedy but it is heartening to see that even in death she could not be silenced A Dirty War is a collection of her articles on the Second Chechen War here translated into English and provided with an introduction maps and notes to help orient the readerA Dirty War is neither an exhaustive historical overview nor the kind of balanced reporting American readers have come to expect from their own journalists Politkovskaya was writing about contemporary issues for a Russian audience and expected them to be familiar with the cultural context of Russia in the late 1990searly 2000s The maps and notes will aid readers less familiar with the topic to keep track but this is not a textbook survey of the situation and the players so if you are looking for an introductory text on the Chechen wars this is probably not the book for you And American readers used to the the fearful faux objectivity of much mainstream American news may be taken aback by Politkovskaya's overt presence within the text She has no fear of taking a position and making it clear even if it means contradicting herself the first article Grave Robbers slams the agencies responsible for identifying the bodies of soldiers killed in action during the First Chechen War for incompetence and profiteering while the second article Land of the Unknown Soldiers written after she had interviewed those in charge of the process sympathetically lays out all the obstacles facing them American readers may find the strident outrage that is so evident in Politkovskaya's writing to be refreshing or they may find it off putting but in either case they will find it strikingAlthough Politkovskaya has no problem in staking a position and defending it she does not shy away from presenting the voices of all sides of the issue A Dirty War includes interviews with refugees ordinary citizens Chechen leaders Russian functionaries Russian soldiers of all ranks including a surprisingly sympathetic interview with General Shamanov and Chechen separatist fighters The overall picture is of people drowning in confusion and incompetence both their own and others' Refugees are trapped in camps without food water or heating for months but attempts to restore Grozny to habitability are stymied by looters who strip the water and sewage stations of parts rendering them inoperable OMON kind of like American SWAT teams troops are forced to live off meager supplies of spoiled meat as they man checkpoints Doctors and the families of the wounded have to go barter on the black market for anesthetic to perform operations Even the higher ups are not immune to the soul sucking nature of the conflict Shamanov after issuing a number of platitudes about the need to do the dirty work that no one else will is last shown sitting by himself at a function honoring paratroopers so lonely and depressed that It was painful to look at him No one reading this can be left with the impression that war particularly this war is a glorious businessPolitkovskaya was in the business of revealing the ills of society not necessarily curing them and so there's here to infuriate the reader then to inspire them Or rather Politkovskaya wanted to inspire her readers by infuriating them into action A number of the articles contain direct appeals to the readers to take specific actions to help Politkovskaya and her colleagues at Novaya Gazeta in their attempts to do at least a little good for the most wretched of the people she encounters Although now the better part of two decades after these events have taken place and than a decade after Politkovskaya's murder there is not much that we can do about anything depicted in the book we can still bear witness And while A Dirty War may have much in it that is indeed dirty not to mention depressing it is also a testament to unrelenting heroism not just Politkovskaya's but that of the many doctors teachers volunteers and others who stepped forward at great personal discomfort and risk in order to help out people whom their government and the world at large had abandoned A Dirty War may leave you appalled at the depths to which humans can sink but it will also leave you astounded at the heights of altruism and courage to which they can rise


  4. says:

    This was my first real exposure to Politkovskaya's work And after reading Nothing is True and Everything is Possible and The Sky Wept Fire just before this it's difficult to rate a book about how much I liked it Politkovskaya's prose is brutal mirroring her subject matter I would rate this as a must read for anyone wanting to understand Moscow's relationship with Chechnya and the Chechens


  5. says:

    Eerie to read now my original review of this published in the San Francisco Chronicle in 2002The amazing thing is not that Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was ultimately forced into exile in Vienna after a series of particularly emphatic and believable death threats last September No the amazing thing is that Politkovskaya was able to plug away as long as she did with her fearless heartbreaking articles in Russia's Novaya Gazeta on the human calamity unfolding in Chechnya Many of those articles reported from 1999 to early 2001 during the second Chechen war have now been collected in this disturbing volume A Dirty War translated with refreshing immediacy and clarity by John Crowfoot Politkovskaya calls herself a reporter because in fact she gets out there and risks her life and finds out what's going on But she does not slow down in her writing in some pointless show of what American reporters like to call objectivity She tells it like it is again and again in a way that few short of Mencken and Orwell have before her A real war has its own bitter and proud symbols she writes in a dispatch from July 24 2000 Like May 1945 This war has nothing We don't even know if it's a real war or not We already know that there will never be a victory It's like some crazy broken merry go round dangling little zinc coffins instead of horses There will never be a victory Politkovskaya believes because even as Russian military forces have devastated the capital of Grozny and largely subdued Chechen separatist fighters they have burned into young Chechens an ever greater sense of separateness from Russia as well as a hunger for revenge The power of the book comes in the way it combines a sober grasp of the big picture so at odds with the official line pumped out by Vladimir Putin's press machine with an energetic exploration of the human particulars Learning of the pathetic residents of a Grozny home for the elderly for example many of whom are half mad with hunger and privation no reader can see the annihilation of Grozny in uite the same light again But it would grow tiresome to focus only on the terrible price exacted on the Chechen people There are many victims in this surrealistic cauldron of profiteering corruption and often pointless violence and that includes young poorly trained Russian soldiers Often these young men are not even given adeuate rations instead facing a choice between nearly starving or getting sick eating spoiled tins of meat Why? Because of greedy businessmen making an extra buck by cutting corners at every opportunity even in supplying food for scared young men facing death Politkovskaya's passion can at times make her fall in love with the power of her own observations as when she watches a general at a ceremonial dinner and remarks that he looked so lonely it was painful to watch Maybe he was just bored? Or had heartburn? But her balanced moral imagination and restless pursuit of telling details gives her tales a way of lingering in the mind This is especially true in her accounts of Chechen schoolchildren trying to carry on in the midst of humiliating circumstances A group of 15 Chechen boys was invited to attend a military academy in the Siberian city of Omsk as some kind of Russian PR gambit The Russian minister of defense showed up for the TV cameras to get credit for this wonderful show of humanitarianism But the venture soon turned sour The boys were taunted by their schoolmates; graffiti read N OUT OF OMSK The four who stuck it out despite the abuse were barred from taking their final exams Whatever happens a teacher told them Chechens won't study here The boys were basically left to their own devices to make it home and ended up sleeping in train stations hungry and broke slowly making their way back But that was not the end of the indignity or the deep cynicism behind the whole episode Even after the fiasco a Russian military officer still wanted to milk the episode for PR value Chechen lads are studying in Omsk he said on TV Now they're on holidays and soon they will return there To which Politkovskaya asks a reasonable uestion Who was he trying to fool? Elsewhere she visits a tent school for refugee children and records their essays on the idea of home including this one by a girl named Marina My city Grozny always radiated beauty and goodness But now all that is gone like a beautiful dream and only memories remain The war is blind it doesn't see the city the school or the children Soldiers Think of your children of your own childhood Leave us alone We want to go home Since Sept 11 the United States and its key Western European allies have all agreed not to put pressure on Russia over allegations of persistent human rights violations in Chechnya Such is the price of coalition building But no one reading Politkovskaya's brave collection can uite take at face value the repeated Russian claims recently echoed in Washington London and Berlin that in Chechnya the Russians are merely cracking down on terrorists There have been some links between Chechen separatists and Osama bin Laden and a truly independent Chechnya would most certainly be a Muslim state But that does not justify repeatedly killing civilians indeed targeting them as Politkovskaya shows all in the name of fighting terrorism It may take some time before any of the world's attention returns to Chechnya which has been seeking independence from Moscow for generations But it's unlikely that many readers of Politkovskaya will have as much success as many world leaders apparently have had in pushing the human tragedy of Chechnya out of their minds Steve Kettmann a finalist for the 2001 Online Journalism Award in commentary lives in Berlinhttpsfgatecomcgi binarticlecgiThis article appeared on page RV 6 of the San Francisco Chronicle


  6. says:

    Pundits have started yammering about a new Cold war with Russia after the Crimean Crisis Somehow Russian interests on its borders and in the Near Abroad have been cast as revisionist Soviet aggressionYet a look into 200 years of Russian Imperialism in the Caucusus would challenge that notion Russia's second great novelist Mikhail Lermontov lived and died in a duel no less in this part of the Czarist Near Abroad Pechorin his great Hero of Our Time traveled the same Dagestan Chechnya and Ossetia that Lermontov didIn the 170 years since the serfs were freed; the Czar lost regained and lost again power; Utopian socialism rose and fell; Stalinist socialism crumbled into the dust of history Yet through it all young Russian men have been sent to the Caucusus at the behest of the KremlinWhen the then new Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops into the Second or by my count Sixth going back to 1818 Chechen War these troops were not accompanied by a novelist Instead it was a journalist Anna Politkovskaya documents the atrocities of both sides and the failures of the Russian regime to protect its own people and soldiers A Dirty War becomes the Second Chechen War's Babi Yar With the atrocities and failures Politkovskaya also unravels the myth of the new Liberal Democracy in RussiaA Dirty War is also yet another brick covering the tomb of the End of History The attacks on the press she documents show that the New Russia is not all that dissimilar from Czarist Russia or the Soviet Union The racist fury and anti Muslim furor of the Russian blue Army seethes below the surface And when it boils to the top it is in acts of violence that are the same as those of the Soviet International Yet they still achieve the same end defending the Russian Empire based in MoscowThe Second chechen war is a battleground Lermontov Alexander II Stalin and Yevtushenko would recognize But in a larger sense lies at the very essence of all human conflict Some how we can view our violence as good while the violence of terrorists or Communists or Czarists is done for evil Politkovskaya herself was killed by the agents of the new Czar or Revisionist Soviet who sits in Moscow fighting the same battles fought for the last 200 years


  7. says:

    I would give this book 10 stars if I couldon par with the greatest journalistic novels Politkovskaya's book traces the first wave of the war Russia waged on the Chechen people Politkovskaya was one of the few writers to go there live there endure torture and other forms of abuse all in the name of telling it like it is Not only a great book by a great writer on the subject of freedom this book is a testament to this woman's couragethe parallels between USIra and RussiaChechnaya are also interesting


  8. says:

    Another book about the horrors and atrocities of the Chechen Russian conflict The book is similar to her A Small Corner in Hell as it revolves around families and the suffering of civilians in the war I thought A Small Corner in Hell was a little hard hitting and aimed at showing the horrific impacts of the war in comparison to this book


  9. says:

    I have already read Babchenko's war memoir and this only reinforces the horror of that book Everyone involved in the tragedy of Chechnya was so terribly brutalized This book killed me a little


  10. says:

    My knowledge on the Chechen Wars is extremely limited The only thing I really knew about them was what Anthony Loyd covered in his book My War Gone By I Miss it So While the chapter on it didn't exactly seem to fit the rest of the book I really enjoyed it and at the same time was repulsed by how terrible the war there sounded Anna Politkovskaya's A Dirty War A Russian Reporter in Chechnya came up when I was browsing other books on It wasn't overly long so I decided to pick it upThe book didn't end up being what I thought or hoped it would be I'm not super familiar with journalist accounts of war as the only two I've read are the aforementioned book by Loyd and Peter Maass' Love Thy Neighbor However those two books in my opinion give a great insight into war from a journalist's perspective Lots of action stories of incredible sadness and appalling brutality along with plenty of near death experiences for the journalists themselves Politkovskaya's book is about the politics of the Second Chechen War than anything else Because of this there's no you are there ness to the story and it failed to draw me in from the get go This book is also a collection of articles so it is not a narrative of her time in Chechnya and Ingushetia A Dirty War starts off with an introduction by Thomas de Waal and for the most part I liked it It gives an overview of both Chechen Wars but I found it a bit difficult to understand maybe because it wasn't uite thorough enough I thought maybe once I got into the book things would become clearer but because it's based on politics that didn't really happen Politkovskaya writes about many different topics and it's very easy to see that she would not have been well liked among certain Russian circles Bodies of exhumed Russian soldiers were left untouched for long periods of time resulting in not being able to be easily identified Russian soldiers were pulled into the war with only very minimal training While the Russian government promised aid to Chechnya rarely did this ever actually turn up Ridiculous curfews imposed on locals The terrible situation refugees faced etcThroughout the book I simply felt detached I feel bad saying it but I really did not enjoy this book It is a very uick read but nothing stayed with me nothing affected me; I was never there with the reporter I read it simply to finish reading it and I'm glad I'm done Regardless A Dirty War is a testament to what a corrupt business both war and politics are as well as to Politkovskaya's bravery in reporting things as they were not filtering them to make the government and the situation to sound better than it was


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