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His war stays with him as long as he lives2010-08-09 12:39
I love the lyrics of this song: "He says he saw death and he was death. He says he hasn't forgotten anything. He has his fingers shaking nervously: he speaks and cries quietly like a September rain. Don't interrupt him - let him be the speaker: his words about the past sound like a moan of the injured. Look him in the eyes - there's the smoke of shots in them. As long as he lives his war stays with him". I have never hoped for meeting such a warrior in common life.
Ivan Novikov, senior lieutenant, commander of air-assault brigade of 104th air-assault regiment of Russia's Air Landing Troops recalls August 2008. His group was in South Ossetia taking part in the peace-enforcement operation in Georgia.
Any war - be it five days or five years long - changes people irreparably by infecting them with its hostile virus, penetrating through gunshot wounds and wreathing soul wounds with fire tentacles. Some get over it and grow stronger; others never manage to cure this "disease". But these "laws" are true not only for civilians who were bitterly trapped by Mikheil Saakashvili's political maneuvers of "setting constitutional order".
Ivan Novikov is not verbose on murders and burning homes of civilians. He only speaks about doing his duty - his words are few and hard. He would very much like not to do such a job any more.
- What was the reason for the start of the five-day war?
- Georgian troops brought tanks and artillery to open sights and started shelling civilians. Before the arrival of Russian troops several regiments of the peacekeeping forces had been deployed there. Armed with small arms and light artillery and having no combat equipment the peacekeeping battalion failed to blunt the attack of Georgian troops which allowed their entry to the territory of South Ossetia violating the border and advancing straight to the capital - Tskhinval - that came under shell fire, tank and artillery blows on allegedly strategic and tactical facilities like the telegraph and post office. In reality the whole town was shelled, its most crowded districts. Suburban Tskhinval, particularly its southern and eastern parts, was almost completely destroyed. All that made South Ossetia turn to the Russian Federation for help while the peacekeeping battalion communicated break-up with minor groups were still resisting the Georgian aggression but failing to do that with small arms against Georgian tanks. Then, on the night of August 8 our battalion was sent to Beslan airfield, and on the night of August 9 we started approaching Tskhinval in columns via North Ossetia.