To organize a conversation was not easy. Vladislav Kislyakov is in a strict regime colony and communication with him for well-known reasons is limited. It may be, he himself would not like to recall those events, but comrades on arms he was told to "have to". GUFSIN leadership also gave "good". The meeting took place in the office of the deputy head of the colony.
The door opened, a thin guy in a black zek form entered. Vladislav took with him the only photograph left in memory of Abkhazia. It was made in 1993. On it, he was photographed with two friends from a separate Cossack Don hundreds (OKDS). They look like little boys, who were given to hold the machine guns in their hands. Vladislav (he is on the left) on this card the entire 16 years. But these boys took Sukhumi, and became the winners in a very childless war. Both guys who starred with Vladislav Kislyakov are no longer alive ...
We are talking about events that, although they have become history, are still relevant. A fragile peace reigns in Abkhazia, which at any time can turn into a new war. Vladislav Kislyakov talks about the war, how he saw it from his side of the front. It is possible that there will be people who remember these very same events from opposite positions, quite differently ...
- Vladislav, you were one of the youngest participants in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict. What made you take a gun in 16 years and go to war?
- In 1993, I just finished eighth grade. I have not yet decided on my life choice, I was looking for myself. But for two years he was in the Cossack movement, namely in the 96 regiment. Remember, in the beginning of the 90-s collapse, anarchy, distemper reigned in the country. Everything collapsed around. And the guys from the 96 regiment were firm, disciplined, and most importantly, they were engaged in the real business ... These are events in Salsk, then in Veshenskaya. In 14 years I escorted the regimental guys to Transnistria.
At that time I read a lot about the ataman Krasnov, I was fascinated by his ideas about the Republic of the Cossacks. And when I heard that they were recruiting volunteers to Abkhazia, I firmly decided to go. First of all, to experience yourself.
- Why did you decide to take the side of the Abkhaz and not the Georgians?
- After Georgian troops landed on the beaches in Gagra with amphibious ships, massacres of civilians and holidaymakers began in Abkhazia. The landing force consisted of fighters "Mkhedrioni" - the personal guard of the Georgian kingpin Jba Ioseliani. Among them were many criminals who were specifically released for this purpose from Georgian prisons. When we took a fight with their positions, they found piles of drugs ...
In those days, the Minister of Defense of Abkhazia came to Rostov. An agreement was signed with the Confederation of the Peoples of the Caucasus and the Union of Cossacks of the South of Russia and Abroad (which included our 96 regiment) on rendering assistance to the people of Abkhazia. Our chieftains then were Vladimir Popov and Viktor Ratiev ...
I had to go to fraud: I added myself three years and said that I was 19. Together with a group of similar volunteers 28, April 1993 of the year boarded a train of the southern direction.
- How many volunteer groups?
- In my memory, seven groups of 25-30 people went to Abkhazia. There were Rostovites, guys from Azov, Bataysk, Kamensk, Salsk ... We were bought tickets to Khosta, there we were loaded onto a bus. In Sochi, issued certificates on which we crossed the border through Psou. They met us there. In the temporary headquarters were interviewed.
In the special section, conversations lasted a maximum of 15 minutes. I stayed there for about an hour. Colonel Grandfather Valery Nikolayevich Arshba asked me everything: why are you lying that you are 19 years old? I wanted to send back to Rostov. But I convinced him that I had to stay.
A week later we were outfitted, armed. We were taken to the landfill, where layouts were built for practicing street battles. We already knew that we were being prepared for the storming of Sukhumi. The instructor officers taught us very intensively, with a military specialization. I became a grenade launcher.
The first unsuccessful attack on Sukhumi was undertaken in mid-March, and I did not participate in it. Then the first echelon of the attackers entered the city center, in which there were Abkhazians, Cossacks and Chechens. But the second two echelons did not go on the attack, the attack choked. A few days the guys went back to their own, many died.
“Did you get paid to take part in the war?”
- From the very beginning, about any money even out of the question. I emphasize that we were all VOLUNTEERS. In the Abkhazian army we were put on a allowance, including money. They gave out about three thousand rubles. For those times it was ridiculous money. All that was needed was tobacco and personal hygiene items.
In May, we were transferred to positions near the village of Upper Escher, north of Sukhumi. The front line ran along the river Gumista. Airplanes were constantly flying over us: Su-25 and Su-27 attack aircraft. Bombed and Sukhumi, and Gudauta. Where are our planes, and where are Georgian, it was not clear: everyone has red stars on their wings. Once a Georgian plane was shot down, a pilot ejected into our territory. I saw him brought to headquarters with a blindfold. The pilot was Russian. I do not know his future fate.
There was a positional war: trench lines, dugouts, the struggle for dominant heights, artillery and mortar attacks ... In the early stages, the Georgian army acted more actively, thanks to better weapons, support aviation. They occupied most of the heights. Georgian "Grads" stood on Mount Tsugurovka, they did not allow our assault groups to advance. We had more people, but only light small arms. The situation was turned over (this is no longer a secret) when arms from Russia began to arrive in Abkhazia.
Many volunteers fought on the Abkhaz side: three Slavic battalions, four Cossack battalions, as well as units of the Confederation of Peoples of the Caucasus: Chechens, Ossetians, Kabardians. They all commanded Shamil Basayev, who later became a terrorist number 1. The relationship between the Cossacks and the Confederates was fraternal: they went to visit each other, sharing food, cartridges, and smoking.
- Remember your first fight?
- We were tasked with eliminating the breakthrough of the Georgian sabotage and reconnaissance group. They set up an ambush, the enemy came at us at night. I remember that I felt very uncomfortable in a night vision device.
The battle lasted only ten minutes. I worked from a grenade launcher, fired at flashes. When it's over, let's go watch the corpses. For the first time I saw what mine explosive wounds are: blood, torn meat. Then I vomited so much, I was ashamed in front of my comrades. But the more experienced boys said it was a completely natural reaction.
We lost two fighters. Georgian troops were completely destroyed.
- Was it scary?
- The only time I was scared on the train on the way to war. Psychologically screwed himself. When shooting, adrenaline kills fear.
- How was Sukhumi taken?
- In August, the Eshromskoye offensive began (after the name of the mountain settlement). Bypassing the mountains, we took Sukhumi in a half ring from the northeast. We reached the 920 height (Mount Apianda), entrenched on it. Sukhumi lay before us as in the palm of your hand.
At the same time, a naval landing in the village of Tamysh, 80 kilometers south of Sukhumi, was landed from two barges. There was a group of volunteer special forces “Edelweiss”: former “Afghans”, Kuban and Terek Cossacks, Chechens. The city was cut off by Tbilisi, so they could not bring reinforcements from the Georgian side here. An antenna station was destroyed.
On Tamysh, by the way, there was a monkey nursery destroyed by the war. Many fighters took monkeys for themselves. My friend Chechen Usman, then for a long time dragged a little monkey on his shoulder ...
In August we did not enter Sukhumi, because a truce was announced. However, it was not respected on both sides: the shootings did not stop. Then, during the Georgian artillery attack, the commander of our reconnaissance platoon Renat and another guy from the Rostov region, named Andrei, died. I and their three comrades let down their corpses from the mountain.
A few days later, a treaty was signed, according to which all the armed forces were withdrawn from the battle zone from both sides. We were taken by buses, which the locals threw flowers. Victory parade was held in Maykop. But they did not let us go home, settled in a tent camp. And soon it was announced that the Georgian side had violated the terms of the truce. We were transferred to the previous positions, and then the real attack on Sukhumi began. The Eastern Front forced Gumista and went into a frontal assault. The city was taken for 11 days.
The fighting was not only in Sukhumi. At the same time, Moscow was no less hot: the troops took the White House, they shot him from tanks. I do not presume to draw analogies, but the connection between these events in my opinion is obvious. The coincidence between the assault on Sukhumi and the capture of the White House was almost clockwise.
We descended from the mountains on the east side, squeezing the ring of attack. They acted in groups of 7-8 people: several machine gunners, a machine gunner, a grenade thrower, a sniper. Later, this tactic proved to be effective during the Chechen campaign.
The assault was not easy: many houses on our way were turned into fortresses. Were equipped and long-term firing points. I personally burned one of them with a shot from the Bumblebee flame thrower. This time, aviation helped us well. In the sky constantly hung "turntables".
The most combat-ready units from the Georgian side were those that consisted of Svans — the Highlanders, not spoiled by the benefits of civilization. Western Ukrainians, members of the UNA-UNSO, also fought hard against us. In particular, the well-known mercenary Sashko Bily, who later fought against Russia and in Chechnya, and boasted about his exploits on television. For him, the Abkhaz even announced a reward. It is a pity that he did not get us then.
The heaviest battles were in the center of Sukhumi, especially near the Council of Ministers building. Desperate guys defended there for almost a week: they mined the lower floors, cutting off the path of retreat to themselves, and fired from the upper ones. As a result, the building was set on fire, they all burned down there. Fought to the last, which is certainly worthy of respect.
- In the war did not take prisoners?
- War is war. Captured is both extra weight and extra mouth. If they took, only for the exchange of our prisoners. On the other hand was the same.
- When you announced the victory?
- Our hundred, like other volunteer units, did not linger in Sukhumi. They moved west to the Gali district, pursuing the retreating Georgian units. The operation ended on the 20 in October, when we reached the right bank of the Inguri River, where the historical border between Abkhazia and Georgia lies. Our commander Yuri Blinov built a hundred and said: guys, finish. War is over. We began to shoot into the air with all types of weapons. Probably it was on Victory Day in 1945.
Two guys from our hundred married Abkhaz girls and remained to live in the republic. One of them became the deputy head of the administration of the Gagrinsky district, the second - a deputy in the parliament of Abkhazia.
- Is it true that you were at the wedding of Shamil Basayev?
- At the front we saw Shamil quite often. He commanded all the troops of the confederation. In his personal subordination was also a unit consisting of Chechens. This is the “Abkhaz battalion”, which later became notorious in connection with the events in Budenovsk. Chechens, by the way, occupied neighboring positions at 920 height under Sukhumi. In those trenches were also Salman Raduyev Ruslan Gelayev, which also will not soon be forgotten in Russia. I communicated with them all normally.
Basayev wore a beard, but not as thick as in recent years. At first it was interesting to speak with him, he was a well-read man. But the idea of fixing him was the Islamization of Abkhazia, and he somehow reduced any conversation to Islam. We have distanced ourselves from such disputes.
Once, when we rested in Gudauta (after three weeks in positions we were taken to rest in the rear), Chechens came to us on several buses: guys, Shamil is getting married, inviting you to the wedding. We arrived in Gagra, in a huge private house. I did not see such large mansions at that moment. The people were at least 500 people. Abkhazian and Chechen dishes were served, chacha flowed like a river. By the way, the Chechens at the wedding were not more than ten people, as I understood, they are all from teip Shamil. The wedding walked for three days, during which time the Chechens did not drink a single drop of alcohol, only juice or drinks. The bride was dressed in white, with her face covered. Only eyes looked out.
- What were the losses in the Cossack hundred?
- From 147 man we lost 17 mates. Four were buried there, others tried to send the rest home: to Bataysk, Rostov, Kamensk ...
When it was all over, I took a bus to Psou, crossed the bridge on foot and left for Rostov by train.
- Did it bother you that you shot at your former compatriots, citizens of the Soviet Union?
- I did not fight for the USSR, but for the Republic of Cossacks, the dream of Ataman Krasnov. Historically, the land of the Kuban Army stretched to the village of Gudauta, the border ran along the Black River. My comrades also believed that they were fighting for their Cossack interests.
- You do not dream that war?
- Not. Dreams of war are tales.