IL-76 was packed to capacity. Boxes, boxes, boxes, and between them - special forces with camouflaged immense bags "dream of the occupier" and the soldiers of the Sofrino brigade. The crowns added GAZ-66 and "UAZ", which loaded into our plane during the landing in Rostov-on-Don.
- What's this! - commented on the situation a contractor from Sofrino, with whom we shared the end of the landing bench. - Last time dogs of the dog service flew with us. As soon as the plane took off the ground, they were crap. So flew to Mozdok, inhaling the aroma.
Military transport Il took off from Chkalovsky 1 airfield in August 1995, and headed for Mozdok. “In Mozdok, I am no longer riders” - this popular saying I said in the fall of 1994, when my three-month trip in the Ossetian-Ingush conflict zone came to an end. But then I forgot a “soap box” camera at the base of the riot policemen who were sitting at roadblocks on the border with Chechnya. Now, according to the sign, I had to go back.
And not to me alone. At the airfield, I and the special forces in the "reed" without insignia for ten minutes looked at each other, until they remembered where they met. In the autumn of 1994, Oleg P. commanded a consolidated company of "red berets" in the village of Dongaron in the Prigorodny district of North Ossetia. “Krapoviki” cleaned the mountain ranges of Ossetia and Ingushetia from militants. I met Oleg in a plain autumn day in Dongaron when I arrived on the 5th anniversary of the company.
The holiday was traditional: awarding the distinguished ones, special forces "window dressing" ... Only one detail distinguished this event from the others. In the morning the guys were supposed to fly to the Dzheirakh gorge in Ingushetia.
The holiday was traditional: awarding the distinguished ones, special forces "window dressing" and a festive table. Only one detail distinguished this event from others. In the morning, the guys were supposed to fly to the Dzheirakh gorge in Ingushetia, which was notorious for the main base of the militants and the main plantation "dope" ...
In August, 1995, Oleg, as the deputy commander of the DOSD of the Department for the Execution of Punishments of the Internal Affairs Directorate of one of the northwestern regions, carried his children to Chechnya.
From Mozdok to Grozny traveled by rail. The building of the Grozny station pleased the eye with fresh whitewash. Nearby is a small market with everything you need. The optimism of the peaceful picture was violated by the gloomy ruins around and the recollection that it was here that the Maikop brigade died.
The platform was crowded with local residents, from whom a mile was carried by Dudayev intelligence. Especially arrogant asked questions in the forehead: from where, where, for how long to these edges? The lack of strict access control at the station, where there was no passenger message, was unpleasantly struck.
An old Russian woman collecting empty bottles on the platform told the last news. At night, the Russians were beaten to death - a forty-year-old man and a twenty-year-old boy who came to woo his daughter. They shoot, but mostly at night - snipers work. A riot policeman was killed on the square in front of the presidential palace: the detachment was about to go home and the soldiers came to take a picture of themselves. The young kid who sat down in the crane's cabin was sniped by snipers from a fitted BTR.
We eat up Mozdok watermelons and discuss the situation: negotiations with Maskhadov, skirmishes at night, reforming the separatist forces and the order "not to respond to provocations." War is not war, but what the hell.
A detachment of Oleg P. received an order to protect the federal center of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the Zavodskoy district and ensure the safety of the Russian participants in the negotiations during the trips to the areas of Chechnya. The federal center is located in the building of the former ROVD, which is almost not affected. The windows are broken, there are traces of fire in several rooms and the attic spoiled by bursts is not counted.
Before our arrival there was a detachment from the Urals. Now the guys on the rights of "old men" reserve for themselves only a post on the roof, giving the beginners to the security of the first floor and the checkpoint at the entrance. For the night, signal mines and stretch marks are placed around the building, in the morning they are removed. On the opposite side of the street stretched ruins. It was from there that the neighboring commandant's office No. XXUMX was fired from automatic weapons. The deputy commander who fired back and then rushed into the ruins of the house with the soldiers ran into stretch marks put by Dudayev and died.
At night, all off duty are gathering on the roof - to see how the regiment of the Airborne Forces will celebrate its professional holiday in Khankala. Apparently, the city is also walking. Only everyone does it in their own way.
The sky is colored with garlands of lighting and signaling rockets. Somewhere closer to the center is a fierce firefight. Looks like two of our roadblocks are beating each other. Again, some spirit passed between them and set them aside each in turn. The most witty ones start betting who will run out of ammunition faster or common sense will wake up.
Meanwhile, our attention is shifting to a new show. Walkie-talkie radio at the post works at the reception, and we hear some official message blowing on the air:
Send the 205 Brigade to the posts so as not to open fire. I'm coming from the side of the Old Works.
The answer to this is the roar of cannonade, which comes from the Staropromyslovsky district. Chin on the air material contract brigade. We, in turn, argue that he does it in vain. By chattering on the air, Dudayevites could also calculate it. In the meantime, someone third is connected to the shootout of the roadblock. Tracer flew in our direction. All the excess poured down the ladder - out of harm's way.
Near the “filter” there was a large neglected garden, in the depth of which was a column. Each hike for water looked like a small military operation: in the garden you could come across anyone
A couple of days later, DOS officers from the Far East agreed to take me to the filtration point, which they guard. Our UAZ is passing the residence of federal bodies. A little distance away is the post of Chechen militiamen who have switched to the service of the new government. All of them, without exception, flaunt empty shoulder straps. Under Dudayev, many foremen suddenly became lieutenant colonels, so the feds, after checking, removed their ranks to new certification.
Barely missed the post, as several shots thundered. By sound - "Makarov." We have no desire to determine whether or not we are.
“It was their black shawls that angered us,” the peasants laugh when the car passes a dangerous area.
Grozny "filter" was located on the territory of the former fleet. Along the perimeter it is surrounded by a concrete fence. In the block, located on the outside of the fence and as remote as possible from the others, are the guys from the squad who invited me to visit. At night I leave with them on duty.
Opposite the "path of life", on which people walk in the direction of the block, is a bus cemetery. The landfill is mined; nevertheless, they have a stupid habit of crawling separatist snipers. The unit controls the approaches from the ruins of the taxis. On the eve of the guys noticed through the gap from the tank shell equipped sniper bench. Armed with night-time binoculars, we are waiting for the owner of the sunbed.
A special commando with an SVDU equipped with infrared optics sat down at a nearby embrasure. It takes an hour and a half - the sniper does not appear.
“The spirits have the same weapons,” notes the detachment doctor. He, like everyone, goes on duty. - They could well detect the glare of the sight.
- Well, to hell with him! - The machine gunner Seryoga drove a long line into the breach. - Now this bastard just will not come.
Suddenly there were problems with the return. Observers determined that “guests” had snuck into the landfill. From the post on the roof of the “filter” the dump looks great, so the guys contact him by field telephone. “Vole” was established after the men from the block shouted “roof” to “walkie-toki”:
- Sniper in the third sector! Cover it from AGS!
“Thank you, dear,” they heard on the same wave. - I have already left it.
"Roof" is in no hurry to scald the landfill with fire. And we have to go back: change on the way. There is nothing to do: cursing, we rush to the saving wall. We ran. We were lucky to be the first, and the snipers, apparently, did not expect such impudence from us. True, after a dozen minutes, when the second shift took over duty, they were still marked by shots.
We fall asleep under the cacophony of bursts: the posts water the landfill with lead.
Tactics snipers known: go hunting together, not counting the group cover. One has the usual army SVD, the second - a rifle with a silencer. The first one makes a couple of provoking shots at the posts, the second one starts to hit the lighted firing points. The truce was usually fired by teenagers. The boys trained in shooting, while helping Dudayev propagandists. If such a "free shooter" was covered, the partner took him weapon, and the press demonstrated another example of the "atrocities of the federal troops against civilians."
From the roof you can see the dump of buses, where snipers find shelter at night.
Returning from the “filter”, I am going to Khankala, from where columns of federal troops are leaving in all directions of Chechnya. From the Special Forces base in the Zavodskoy district, which became my base in two weeks in Grozny, I first go to the CSCE mission. There you need to find a certain general who is a member of the negotiating group and who oversees the process of exchanging prisoners.
The process is not shaky or shaky, but the results are still there - the soldiers are returning from captivity. This seems to be the only positive result of the 1995 truce of the year.
A dozen and a half soldiers' mothers crowd around a private brick house, which rents a mission from Chechens. They are waiting for the arrival of the delegation of Maskhadov - what if there is new information about the missing sons?
The delegation arrives in black jeeps, with banners unfolded and in irritated feelings. She was braked at the checkpoint at the entrance to Grozny. Kontraktniki, flustered by the view of the separatists, rolling out the federals with flags on the territory, took up a machine gun. Only the intervention of an escort officer saved from slaughter and imminent complications.
As soon as Maskhadov disappears behind the gates of the mission, his guards play a propaganda performance, designed primarily for journalists. The guards give the master boy ice cream, then they hand him a machine gun, they put a green bandage over his head. The happy guy "serves" for the protection of the mission, and Dudayevites demonstrate "unity with the people."
Our “fighters of the ideological front” obviously lacks the ability to conduct propaganda from scratch in the same way as Dudayev’s people do. Ours have arranged to arrange "window-dressing" with the obligatory breaking of bricks, but they did not bother to change into the decent form of the marines who guarded the mission. Compared to Maskhadovites dressed in NATO camouflage and black jeans, our people just looked like “illegal armed groups”.
Maskhadov brought with him a captive soldier. The transfer takes place on the street. We are transferring it from a Dudayev car to our “UAZ”.
- What are you, man, captured something? The general asks him.
Squeezed in the backseat between the general and the journalist, the soldier confusedly lowers his head. He is ashamed, although he is not guilty of anything.
Young replenishment in DON-100, which stood near Orekhovo, was brought in May. Dembel continued to serve in order to somehow compensate for the lack of personnel, so they did not give out weapons to the young. “The old men will go home, the automata will give you,” they were told. The gunner of the BMP Sannikov, eighteen years old, originally from Novorossiysk, was sent from one position of an infantry fighting vehicle to another with some insignificant task several days after arrival. The path lay through a ravine, where he was met. They pushed the machine gun, moved it under the ribs, put the bag on its head and dragged it in an unknown direction. At first, Sannikov was kept in Shali, forcing to dig trenches. Banged? “At first, some young one was throwing everything with a saber,” the soldier told me. “He was even dragged away.”
Before the storming of the Shali, the soldier was transported further to the mountains, where he lived in the family of an elderly Chechen. There they treated him normally, fed him the same food they had eaten, although the food was more than modest. In the mountain village, the name of which Sannikov never learned, he continued to dig trenches and helped with the housework.
- In Islam did not offer to join? - I asked him.
“They have this business voluntary…” answered the “Caucasian captive” of the twentieth century.
Completely separate tank
- Who did you lose? - the senior lieutenant with a green kerchief around his neck addressed me, dressed in a tanker jacket, despite the warm morning.
A separate tank battalion of the 166 th motorized rifle brigade really stood in a clean field without infantry escort, covering the direction to Shawls
Before that, I had been wandering around the Khankala checkpoint for half an hour, still hoping to meet the convoy to Bamut. The men from the Sofrinsky brigade, who had promised to take me with them, left early in the morning, and now I cursed myself for the love of sleep. Having listened and smoked “Flying” for acquaintance, Starley advised:
- Spit! Come with me to the tank battalion of the Tver Brigade. We stand under the Old Atags. Without any infantry cover, damn it. And tonight he killed a bullet gun. Write about his heroically wounded body. Why do you care?
I waved my hand and climbed onto the BMP.
The separate tank battalion of the 166 th motorized rifle brigade did indeed stand in an open field without infantry escort, covering the direction to Shali. T-80 burrowed into the caponiers, deploying trunks almost in a circular defense.
Nearby on the mountainside there is an obelisk. It reminds tank crews of 23 February 1995 of the year. Then the battalion commander Major Kurakov and the company captain Toporkov set off in their vehicles to explore up the mountain slope. Returned back through the position of the 245-th regiment. The contract soldiers, who were sitting in the trench, were not warned about this and took two tanks for the attack of Dudayev. Combat set fire to the first ATGM. Ammunition detonated, so it was not necessary to save anyone from the burning car. Tank Toporkova knocked in a few minutes. The platoon commander of the tank battalion escort jumped out on the “eighty” under his fire, covered the company’s armor, pulled the commander out of the tower, shoved him and only realized that he had saved the dead. The crew died all. And the lieutenant (unfortunately, the notebook did not keep his surname) maneuvered for a long time under the fire of the infantry, until they figured out what was happening.
Desperate 245 th later threw under Vedeno. Among his soldiers it was usual to get out without the permission of the commander somewhere on the trail and "throw down" the spirits in retaliation for the death of a comrade. For desperation, the regiment received the attention of Dudayev, who ordered no prisoner to be taken from this unit. In the gorge Yarysh-Mardy, the order of the late general was executed.
“We are leaving for Shali the other day,” the commander of the first platoon Sidorov, the one who brought me to the battalion, told me. - If you want with us, climb on the tank to master NSVT. We do not need passengers. The battalion lacks thirty percent of the personnel.
In the crew where the starley sent me, there is no commander. However, the gunner learned to do without him.
As soon as Maskhadov disappears behind the gates of the mission, his guards play a propaganda performance, designed primarily for journalists. The guards give the master boy ice cream, then hand him a machine gun, put on a green bandage on his head
“The review, of course, is smaller,” he told me, “than at the commanding position, but still enough.” Especially since we haven't fired any guns for a long time. To unmask the firing point of the spirits or set fire to the car, the NSWT is sufficient.
From the march on Shali most memorable is the bridge over Argun dangling under the tracks. Cars slid it one by one at maximum speed. They prayed for a mechanic, an urgent soldier named Junior. He knew his business tightly: engines roared like animals.
The next day, with a Uralov column for young recruits, I returned to Khankala with a BMP of a reconnaissance company. The road was brightened up by senior columns.
“Somehow an anti-tank mine drags me to the village of Dudaev,” he said, choking with laughter beforehand. - Well, like, wants to put it on the road. The elders of the village approach him and say: “What a fool, you do, we have people here, children play!” And Dudayev’s reply: “It’s safe for people!” And in support of his words he put the mine on a combat platoon, put it on land and let's jump on it!
- What ended? - someone asked.
- exploded! Neither saboteur nor elders. One big funnel.
- Yes ... Listen, why take fools to war?