Military Review

Train alive

Train aliveTwenty years ago, more than 500 human lives were saved.

The civil war in Tajikistan in the autumn of 1992 entered the bloodiest phase. Tens of thousands of dead and wounded, hundreds of thousands of refugees, mostly Russian. We still know very little about the dramatic events of that time to this day.

Tajikistan was the first republic in the USSR, where parties whose leaders were outspoken Wahhabis completely legally came to power. Islamic extremism has received the most important bridgehead for its further spread in Central Asia. The consequences were not long in coming. Blood poured over the river. In the most cruel manner, they killed those who adhered to the teachings of traditional Islam, who were an atheist in general, especially foreigners: Armenians, Greeks, Germans, Jews, but first and foremost Slavs.

The unpredictability of the development of the situation was seriously disturbed by the so-called Western democracies. But they did not have any leverage over Tajikistan. Only Moscow could help. But 1992 is the year of the complete collapse of the Union, the period of formation of sovereign states on its territory. And who in the then power of the Russian Federation was concerned with distant Tajiks and even “dear Russians”, who by the will of fate turned out to be on the verge of a great empire yesterday?

The civil war in Tajikistan and the rampant genocide of all those who didn’t like extremist Islamists could only be stopped thanks to the efforts of the GRU and the position of Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who saw Wahhabism as an almost personal threat. It is worth recalling that officers of the 15-th brigade of the special forces of the GRU, led by Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov, became one of the main participants of the armed resistance to the Islamists.

Everybody fought with each other: army and police units, armed gangsters and militia. It was very difficult to escape from the wall of mutual extermination, and everyone who had the slightest opportunity tried to escape from the embraced civil war of the republic.


At the end of November, a railway train was formed from 11 passenger cars in Dushanbe, which housed more than 500 Russian refugees. He could drive only a couple of kilometers. The train was stopped near the station Dushanbe-2, the diesel locomotive was disconnected and began to use a chain of passenger cars with all the people in them as a shield. The fact is that the train was located between the highway going to the city and an array of private houses in which the Wahhabis settled. Any attempt to break through the highway into the capital to the forces fighting the Islamists was blocked by the threat of shooting a train with refugees. Five hundred people, most of whom were women, children and old people, found themselves in a hopeless situation. The militants, who held the train under the gun, did not allow them to leave the cars.

Meanwhile, the fighting on the outskirts of Dushanbe became more intense. At some point, a detachment of the Popular Front militias — those Tajiks who fought against the Wahhabis — fell into a difficult situation.

The combined detachment of the same militiamen from 41 man, in which there were only two personnel officers, went to the rescue. One of them was Major Alexander Matrosov, an officer-adviser, and the other was an officer of the GRU special forces from the very 15 brigade. The detachment itself consisted mainly of civilians - former Afghan soldiers who lived in Tajikistan. He was armed with a T-62, BMP-2 and BTR-80 tank. The technique was old and broken. The detachment was commanded by a civilian Afghan Alexander Letikov.

Caught in the environment helped. The battle went all night, and only in the morning the detachment began to return to the place of deployment. During the nomination, the detachment of Letikov was not far from the blockaded by the Wahhabi echelon. A man jumped out to meet the column and literally lay down under the tracks. With tears, he said that at the sight of the gangsters, 10 had a train for a day, in which there were about a hundred Russian families. It is impossible to leave the cars, but it is physically impossible to continue in them anymore.

Alexander Matrosov contacted the leadership of the Popular Front, reported on the situation and asked for permission to help the refugees at least safely leave the wagons that had become deadly traps. And if possible, adjust the diesel locomotive and drag the train off the line of fire. Permission given.


The soldiers of the consolidated detachment passed along a train along the wagon and took up positions between the train and the Dushanbe-2 sorting station. And here the real hell began. Wahhabis from well-defended positions opened heavy fire from small weapons and grenade launchers with the support of two BMP-2 and one BTR-70.

By fire, the fighters caught in the trap could only support the tank, and then only the old DShK machine gun, as the gun jammed, and the BMP-2 with a limited amount of ammunition. BTR-80 rolled over, trying to call on the railway embankment. At the critical moment, the reserve group of the detachment on one armored personnel carrier came to the rescue, which was able to suppress part of the enemy’s firing points with a blow from the flank and prevent the Wahhabis from surrounding the detachment.

The fight, which began at 10 in the morning, did not stop for a minute until midnight. That is, the soldiers of Letikov did not sleep for two nights in a row, but continued to fight. The Wahhabi militants were so carried away by the war that they forgot about the train. It can be argued that the militia of the Popular Front not only showed personal courage, but also showed real military mastery, although for the most part they were civilians. They managed to divert almost all the fire forces and all the attention of the militants.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the Popular Front was able to contact the Uzbek railway workers and convince them to send a diesel locomotive in order to get the doomed train out of the fire. When it was finally dark, a locomotive with a group of traveling workers approached from the territory of the neighboring republic. And while the Wahhabis tried with all their might to destroy the militia unit, the railway workers from Uzbekistan checked the ways, quietly drove the diesel locomotive, hooked up a train to it and late at night literally hijacked the wagons with hostages from under the nose of the Wahhabis. Taking advantage of the darkness, the militia of the consolidated detachment retreated to a safe place.


В stories There were no instances of the twentieth century when it would have been possible to save a whole train of hostages without loss — more than 500 people, having conducted a spontaneous, but as it turned out, very effective special operation. And it developed very dynamically and was multi-level. While the Tajik militia, after engaging in battle, diverted the forces of the Wahhabis, other people, using their Afghan ties and focusing on the still preserved feelings of internationalism, were able to mobilize Uzbek railway workers, who ensured the ultimate success of the rescue operation. People of different nationalities participated in it: Russians, Belorussians, Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Tajiks.

Logically, the leadership of the new Russia was to award the highest state awards to those who saved hundreds of compatriots from inevitable death. But what state logic was in 1992 year?

I wonder how the fate of the refugees who were in that echelon, and whether they know all the circumstances of their salvation? Alas, we cannot name those who diverted the Russian echelon from the Dushanbe-2 station first to Uzbekistan and then sent to Russia. Twenty years ago, the situation in belligerent Tajikistan was developing so quickly that, as it happened, the military units of the Popular Front completely changed personnel in a few days, no one dealt with headquarters documents.

It is only known that after the end of the war in Tajikistan, the detachment commander Alexander Letikov served in the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan, then quit, now lives in Russia, in Stary Oskol. Alexander Matrosov also retired from the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan, but remained to live there. In 2005, the retired hero officer went missing. Nobody who knew him had any doubts - Matrosov was killed. A special forces officer, whose name for obvious reasons I don’t name, after the civil war in Tajikistan, participated in the first Chechen campaign, currently serving in the ranks of the Russian Armed Forces.

A part of the Russian militia from the Letikov detachment continued their service in the Russian power structures - the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the FSB. Someone remained in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. To bring them together is hardly possible now. But the fact that 20 years ago they accomplished the feat is beyond doubt. This will be remembered by the people they saved and will tell their children and grandchildren about the feat.

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  1. Fox
    Fox 26 January 2013 09: 34
    my friend found all this ... in a personal file a bashful record: "participant in the events in Tajikistan ..."
    1. itr
      itr 26 January 2013 11: 17
      Why should he be ashamed ???
    2. Yuri
      Yuri 27 January 2013 01: 26
      The status has changed since March last year. We are now "War Veterans"
    3. Vodrak
      Vodrak 27 January 2013 21: 40
      It sounds bad .............
      not so necessary to celebrate HEROES .......................
  2. Sterkh
    Sterkh 26 January 2013 10: 53
    someone after one war falls on another, then a third ... and someone as he lived a civilian life lives on and did not survive anything by and large. Time was merciless for some and merciful for others .. that’s how it happens.
    1. Vodrak
      Vodrak 27 January 2013 21: 46
      You are right, thank God I did not happen to participate in the war.
      But people of such a warehouse, as I remember, about those who gave their strength (and somewhere life) for us, for our children.
      I bow to them.
      And their blessed memory .............
  3. cobalt
    cobalt 26 January 2013 11: 18
    And one should not forget how boorishly the "democratic" authorities treated the Russian-speaking population who fled to Russia from the Asian republics for a long time. For years, people could not obtain Russian citizenship, although they were Russian by nationality, only in recent years the authorities began to do at least something in terms of simplifying the procedures for acquiring citizenship. And so no one needed people for 20 years, neither here nor there.
    1. gizz
      gizz 26 January 2013 17: 49
      She is now also related. My classmate (Russian) has not been able to obtain Russian citizenship for how many years. The last time our bureaucrats advised her to go there and do everything there.
    2. FunkschNNX
      FunkschNNX 26 January 2013 21: 56
      Now Russians or Tatars from the former Soviet republics are given citizenship after more than six years: a year for a temporary residence permit and five years for a residence permit, and only then you can apply for citizenship. All on a common basis. Those. it makes no difference whether Russian citizens from Uzbekistan or Ethiopians from Namibia apply for citizenship. Now Tsar Vladimir promises to return the simplified procedure again, but as we ourselves take it: promising does not mean getting married.
    3. Yuri
      Yuri 27 January 2013 01: 29
      Quote: cobalt
      how boorishly "democratic" power has long referred to the Russian-speaking population,
      The same thing is happening now. I myself am a citizen of Russia, but my wife (purely Russian) still cannot receive citizenship.
  4. Egoza
    Egoza 26 January 2013 11: 40
    Honor and glory to these guys! Even if we don't know all the names. And this article should be sent to those who believe that the GRU is not needed. It is about such events that it is worth making films, and not all crap about American "great and fearless" should be shown to our children.
    1. Crescent
      Crescent 26 January 2013 12: 13
      And where is the GRU? Militias of all nationalities fought. I, as a witness of those events, I can say - in the very first terrible days, the population itself fought back, self-defense units were created, armed with anything from hunting rifles to armatures. Much later, regular units appeared in the city.
      1. StolzSS
        StolzSS 26 January 2013 21: 19
        After the collapse of the alliance, Uzbekistan got the GRU brigade, and here it eliminated the fears of the Uzbek leader about the Wahhabis, and simultaneously extinguished the conflagration of the civil war ...
        1. nic
          nic 26 January 2013 22: 36
          Kvachkov in Tajikistan, as it was, the quality is poor, but there is a lot of first-hand information.

      2. Yuri
        Yuri 27 January 2013 01: 44
        Quote: Crescent
        in the first most terrible days, the population itself fought back, self-defense units were created, armed with anything from hunting rifles to armatures.

        This is true in February 89, when the Islamists for the first time tried to take power into their own hands and staged pogroms in the city, the police simply fled, and then ordinary people stood up to defend their homes, self-defense units were created in each microdistrict, and in response to shouts "Russians go away" answered "Let's go on the last tank"
    2. knn54
      knn54 26 January 2013 13: 57
      I completely agree. And go through history: how the Russian soldiers liberated the peoples of the region from slavery by defeating the Kokand Khanate. And now, Russian soldiers and border guards, in fact, maintain the integrity of the state born from the Soviet test tube.
      PS Until recently, Slav specialists (craftsmen, engineers ...) who arrived in Dushanbe were given apartments without a queue!
      1. Crescent
        Crescent 26 January 2013 14: 27
        There are no border guards for a long time, riots in GBAO last year were suppressed by units of the Tajik Ministry of Defense.
        Quote: knn54
        More recently, Slav specialists (craftsmen, engineers ...) who arrived in Dushanbe were given apartments without a queue!
        What was this said to? It would be better for specialists - the Slavs who arrived in Moscow were given apartments without a queue. Correctly noticed Cobalt
        Quote: cobalt
        For years, people could not obtain Russian citizenship, although they were Russians by nationality
        take care of this in the first place, and not realities incomprehensible to you, to which you have nothing to do.
        1. knn54
          knn54 26 January 2013 14: 54
          There is a Representation of the border group (200 people). Yes, most advisers, but without them the protection of the Tajik-Afghan border would be fiction. And without our specialists (as well as without military advisers) the republics of Middle Asia would have been kirdyk, I know from Kyrgyzstan and my friends from Turkmenistan told me.
  5. Zomanus
    Zomanus 26 January 2013 13: 39
    It is interesting to read about the events in the republics of the USSR in the late 80s and 90s. It somehow cleans the brain well for "friendship of peoples". In the 90s, this was hushed up so as not to create doubts about the "triumph of democracies and sovereignties."
    1. Crescent
      Crescent 26 January 2013 15: 36
      And what does not suit you in the friendship of peoples? The article shows very precisely that very friendship, mutual assistance. Read carefully.
  6. Iraclius
    Iraclius 26 January 2013 14: 35
    If someone did not look - look. If you remove NTVshny chernukha, you can get some idea of ​​the life of contemporaries in Tajikistan.

    Someone in the beginning of the 90's frantically stuffed pockets with stolen goods, dreaming of yachts and lodging in London, and someone who didn’t have time to rest from one war fell on another and saved people without sparing himself.

    I recalled a fragment from the Hidden War of A. Borovik:
    - Peace and health to the buyer! - greeted me and an Afghan translator in broken Russian an old dukan, when I once appeared on the threshold of his shop.
    I intended to buy a lighter, however, the owner of the store bent an excessive price.
    “Too expensive,” I said.
    - Your business! - answered the joker and shook a smoky beard.
    “If I don’t buy this thing from you,” I assured him, “to whom will you sell it ?!” After all, in a couple of weeks there will no longer be Soviet ones.
    - Ahmad Shah will be! he smiled slyly. - Ahmad Shah has a lot of dollars from Pakistan, from America ... He is to buy!
    - Ahmad Shah will not appear here soon, believe me. And we are leaving.
    - We leave, we leave! he repeated, looking attentively at me with clever half-closed eyes. He waved and said something in his own language.
    When we left the shop, I asked the Afghan accompanying me to translate the last words of the dukan. “He said,” I heard in reply, “that the Russian soldiers are going north to their home. And then they will go even further north, leaving their Muslim republics.”
    These words creeped down my spine. I looked around: the dodger was still smiling warmly and again waved his hand at me.

    So that! recourse
    1. Crescent
      Crescent 26 January 2013 15: 27
      Thank you, Rahmati feces. Very often I watch programs about the house, I watched this one with great pleasure. My grandmother cried again remembering her native Stalinabad, my mother was sad for something. Ah, how good it was, after all, a long time ago. That’s to whom we tell the Ukrainians, who were exiled to the TSSR at the age of 30, we consider this Wed to be our home. Republic. Granny, like the heroine of the film, wants to go home before her death, to go to the grave with her grandmother, mother, husband ... Make friends. Everything there remained in the distant Soviet past.
      And at home everything remained the same, everything is also "in half" and bread, and joy and sorrow. We were Russians (Germans, Jews, Ukrainians ...) on the other hand, Tajiks, and bread is always in half!
      1. Iraclius
        Iraclius 26 January 2013 18: 01
        Not at all. yes
        Well, I myself have long wanted to go to Tajikistan. View ancient cities and mountains, bazaars and Amu Darya, people ... Yes, scary, to be honest. I watch the film and understand that the fragments of the USSR only remained on the outskirts of a great country. Like this kefir in wide-necked bottles and old RAFiki.
        1. Crescent
          Crescent 26 January 2013 20: 07
          Now tourism is developing, there are companies, you can search the Internet to see. But be that as it may, one should not go, it is advisable to find a person who knows local customs and orders. There have always been problems in this, we who were born and did not experience any special difficulties, and the whole family knows the language, except me. But visitors from Russia found a misunderstanding - a Muslim country.
        2. Yuri
          Yuri 27 January 2013 01: 46
          Quote: Iraclius
          Yes, scary, to be honest.

          Come over. Honestly, there is nothing to fear.
          1. Frigate
            Frigate 27 January 2013 18: 17
            Quote: Yuri Vladimirovich

            Come over. Honestly, there is nothing to fear.

            Yes, indeed, there is nothing to fear there. In general, if you find a common language, then you can and should get along everywhere
  7. George
    George 26 January 2013 17: 09
    Thank you for the article. That war is like a book for me, which is just open. I'll take it to the archive.
  8. Eugene
    Eugene 26 January 2013 18: 37
    How much blood is on the conscience of the Marked One! How many corpses, broken destinies! I remember those years when the EBN only shrugged his hands, he is still a ghoul!
    1. knn54
      knn54 27 January 2013 16: 51
      And on his wife-adviser, peace be upon her, Raisa Maksimovna. And to EBN
      add Judas Kravchuk and Shushkevich.
  9. Sterkh
    Sterkh 26 January 2013 21: 49
    [media = http: //] filmed somewhere in the mid 90s, but not a word about the role of special forces in putting things in order
  10. Sterkh
    Sterkh 26 January 2013 21: 52
    the film was shot in the mid 90s. But not a word about the role of special forces in putting things in order
  11. pinachet
    pinachet 27 January 2013 14: 44
    I’m constantly tormented by the question, how did it happen that in 85 everything was fine, but after a couple of years it caught fire and rolled across all the republics? After all, there was a strong city police department and a police department where they looked? It couldn’t form in a night ...
    1. Jarilo
      Jarilo 27 January 2013 17: 47
      Quote: pinachet
      I’m constantly tormented by the question, how did it happen that in 85 everything was fine, but after a couple of years it caught fire and rolled across all the republics? After all, there was a strong city police department and a police department where they looked? It couldn’t form in a night ...

      Long accumulated ..... (As in a steam boiler with a jammed valve) .... and bah!
      So the classic said that it always happens when:
      Tops cannot, but bottoms do not want (s)

      In modern Russia, it also smells of gunpowder, only many pretend that everything is OK
      1. Frigate
        Frigate 27 January 2013 18: 13
        Quote: Yarylo

        Long accumulated ..... (As in a steam boiler with a jammed valve) .... and bah!
        So the classic said that it always happens when:
        Tops cannot, but bottoms do not want (s)

        In modern Russia, it also smells of gunpowder, only many pretend that everything is OK

        Yes indeed, there is something in it
  12. Sterkh
    Sterkh 27 January 2013 18: 08
    Quote: Yarylo
    In modern Russia, it also smells of gunpowder
    otherwise we do not know who is interested in heating up passions? My opinion: the liberal 5 column (Western values ​​have been grafted over the years), snickering and stealing officials who have something to lose with GDP (and there are a lot of them), "intelligent" idiots who got everything (apartments, cars, rest in Egypt) with GDP but who believe that this is not enough and they have achieved everything by themselves despite the efforts of GDP and its environment
    1. fartfraer
      fartfraer 27 January 2013 19: 51
      who appointed Serdyukov? with whom the education reforms are being carried out, after which it’s difficult to talk about education? with whom Norway gave the shelves in the Barents and Ukraine in the Black Sea? No, this is not with the GDP, this is with the 5th column! I don’t give a damn to everyone by column 5, but we noticed a reduction in free places in universities and the liquidation of some military universities and hospitals. Who was in power at that time? 2010-12, don’t you tell me?
  13. Iraclius
    Iraclius 27 January 2013 20: 00
    I asked my acquaintances "Afghans" if there was a feeling on the eve of the withdrawal of troops "across the river" that the end of the USSR was coming soon? The majority answered no. The composition of the troops was international and, in principle, there were no more problems with people than always. And it took only a couple of years and everything flew into tar-tarars. And then yesterday's soldier shoots at his former commander. And the former officer joined the Wahhabite detachments and is fighting for some kind of illusory independence (from whom?). As if some kind of dope was sprayed over the country. what
  14. borisst64
    borisst64 28 January 2013 16: 46
    I live with in the same city as Letikov, I would have to find him, raise a stack for the past.