Forever in captivity: the fate of Russian soldiers remaining in Afghanistan.
Arriving in Chagcharan early in the morning, I went to work at Sergei. It was possible to get there only by a cargo motor scooter – there was also a trip. Sergei works as a superintendent, he has 10 employees in his subordination, they extract crushed stone for the construction of the road. He also works as an electrician at the local HPP.
He accepted me cautiously, which is natural – I was the first Russian journalist to meet with him during his entire life in Afghanistan. We chatted, drank tea and agreed to meet in the evening for a trip to his house.
But my plans were violated by the police, surrounded me with protection and care, which consisted in a categorical unwillingness to let me out of the city to Sergei in the village.
As a result, several hours of negotiations, three or four liters of tea, and I agreed to take to him, but with the condition that we will not spend the night there.
After this meeting we met many times in the city, but at home I did not visit him any more – it was dangerous to leave the city. Sergei said that everyone now knows that there is a journalist, and that I can suffer.
At first glance, Sergei was impressed as a strong, calm and confident person. He talked a lot about the family, about wanting to move from the village to the city. As far as I know, he is building a house in the city.
When I think about his future destiny, I’m calm for him. Afghanistan has become for him a real home.
– I was born in the Trans-Urals, in the Kurgan. I still remember my home address: Bazhova Street, house 43. I was in Afghanistan, and at the end of the service, when I was 20, I went to the dushmans. He left because he did not agree with his colleagues. They all united there, I was all alone – they insulted me, I could not answer. Although it’s not even hazing, because all these guys were with me from one call. I, in general, did not want to run, I wanted those who mocked me, punished. And the commanders did not care.
“I did not even have a gun, otherwise I would have killed them at once.” But the spirits that were close to our part, I was accepted. True, not at once – for 20 days I was locked in some small room, but it was not a prison, there were guards at the door. At night they put shackles on, and in the daytime they shot it – even if you find yourself in the gorge, you still will not understand where to go next. Then the commander of the Mujahideen arrived, who said that since I myself came, I myself can leave, and shackles, guards I do not need. Although in the part I would probably never come back – I think I would have been shot right away. Most likely, their commander so experienced me.
“I did not speak Afghan for the first three or four months, and then gradually began to understand each other. The mullahs constantly went to the mullahs, we began to communicate, and I realized that in reality, God is one and religion is one, just Jesus and Muhammad are messengers of different faiths. I did not do anything at the Mujahideen, sometimes I helped with the repair of automatic weapons. Then I was assigned to one commander, who fought with other tribes, but he was soon killed. I did not fight against the Soviet soldiers – I only cleaned the weapons, especially from the area where I was, the troops withdrew fairly quickly. The Mujahideen realized that if I marry, I myself will remain with them. And it happened. I got married in a year, after that, I was completely deprived of supervision, before one was not allowed anywhere. But I still did not do anything, I had to survive – I suffered some deadly diseases, I do not even know which ones.
– I have six children, there were more, but many died. They are all blond, almost Slavic. However, the wife is the same. I earn one thousand two hundred dollars a month, they do not pay such fools here. I want to buy a site in the town. The governor and my boss promised to help me, I stood in line. The state price is small – a thousand dollars, and then sell can be thousands in six. It is beneficial if I still want to leave. As now in Russia they say: it’s business.
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