Translated from the Russian by Arch Tait
Opening: The Army in Russia is a closed system no different from a prison. Nobody gets into the Army or into prison unless the authorities want them there. Once you are in, you live the life of a slave.
This is definitely THE book to browse before the 9th May extravaganza in Red Square. All those shiny new tanks – all those poor bullied soldiers.
Re criminals (p 30)‘[..]people who are not fighters but who just happen to be Chechens when someone needs to be convicted.’ Look at the poor sods who have been scapegoated for Boris Nemtsov’s murder along the Kremlin wall.
Re the Budanov rape case (p 101): ‘Lynch law was encouraged from the Kremlin itself – an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. We discovered that we were moving backwards, from stagnation under Brezhnev to the out and out arbitrariness of Stalin. It was terryfying to reflect that we probably had the government we deserved.’ Judge Bukreev’s defence claims trial protraction
This book marks an important stepping-stone on the road to where we are now but it does feel dated, so much has happened since Anna’s assassination. Well worth a skim through yet it is worth reading word by word from page 269 to the end, it is an impassioned summation.
Named and Shamed:
Yuri Budanov – On 10 June 2011, Budanov was shot dead in Moscow by an unknown perpetrator