Bound by one goal

Bound by one goalMany brothers know the brothers Igor and Oleg Rodionov in the Airborne Forces. Some of them served urgent with them, having been on mission three times in Baku, which was full of nationalism. Others are their classmates at the Ryazan Airborne Command School or the MV Frunze Military Academy. Still others in the same team kneaded the clay on the winter roads of Chechnya or knocked down the heels of the berets on the rocky paths of hot Abkhazia. Fourth people remember joint patrols forever in a split Yugoslavia or a race for a retreating enemy in Georgia. But all these people, military commanders and subordinate guards lieutenant colonels Rodionov, are united by one thing - a good memory. Including Sergey Klyachkovsky, through the TV program “Wait for Me,” who found Oleg after 12 years after being wounded and evacuated from the battlefield - from the center of Grozny in January 1995. The finder, to say thanks and hug his comrade, who carried the fighter out of the shelling.

I admit, quite rarely does a journalist have such professional luck when, meeting with extraordinary people, he does not reach into his pocket for a word, so that when he talks about them, he adds bright colors or heightens the plot, but simply carefully records what he heard. This is exactly the case. Therefore, it is better to let the Rodionov brothers themselves tell about their life and service. However, one from the other is not much different. But the logic of being tells whom to start this history...


Tamara Konstantinovna, mom:

- Igorek in his early childhood was weak and painful, and therefore, when he decided to play sports, I initially protested. And then I decided: let him run, jump with a parachute, fight, finally, just to make sense. So it happened. And not only he got stronger - and his brother carried away. Oleg so loved the sky and the feeling of free flight, that even before being called up for military service he made more than five hundred parachute jumps!

Well, and after that they could be, if not the military? Their grandfathers went through the soldiers' greatcoats of the Great Patriotic War, leaving the grandchildren to inherit the medals "For Courage", "For Military Merit", "For the Liberation of Vienna" ... And my husband, a military builder, in his sons since childhood raised love for the Motherland, home and work ... Plus - patriotic songs, books and films, the most favorite of which is “In the zone of special attention”. What can I say - the choice of profession was a foregone conclusion!

Igor:
- They truly say: Moscow was not built right away. So, at first, the draft board recognized me as unfit for service, by providing a deferment. I was upset, of course, but there is a blessing in disguise: I graduated from an aircraft building technical school. And the next time I came to the military registration and enlistment office with my brother, who (you can confess (it’s past business), passed for me the most strict doctors, since you don’t distinguish me from Oleg without thinking.

They sent us to serve in the Krasnoyarsk Territory, in the strategic missile forces. Greater disappointment is hard to imagine: for what have we jumped with a parachute for years, engaged in wrestling and boxing ?! I did not reconcile and after three months of stress and boredom I wrote a letter to the Red Star, having addressed through the newspaper asking the USSR Minister of Defense himself: “Please listen, comrade Army General Yazov, to the opinion of the soldiers, transfer us to Uncle Vasya’s troops ". And a miracle happened - Dmitry Timofeevich listened: he transferred to Tula, in the 51 th paratroop regiment of the 106 th Guards Airborne Division.
But they didn’t have time to adapt: ​​Transcaucasia began to boil in the fall, and we, the junior sergeants, rushed to catch up with the regiment, which had just disappeared in Baku. We flew with joy, with the desire to prove in practice that the minister was not mistaken in us, that we are truly true soldiers of the Fatherland.

Baku has conquered from the first minutes - a multinational hospitable city, a layering of cultures, religions, traditions and customs, wonderful architecture and nature, sincere and temperamental people. It would seem, live and rejoice. But no ...

We stood at improvised checkpoints located at key interchanges of city roads, accompanied the first Armenian refugees to the ferry across the Caspian Sea to Krasnovodsk, carried out explanatory work with the population. Then the paratroopers were able to demonstrate strength, confidence, peacefulness, and this first four-month trip went without incident or shooting. They detained, however, about a dozen provocateurs with sharpenings and knives, handed them over to law enforcement officers, and that was that.

Anger, dull and baseless aggression, distrust of Azerbaijanis to the authorities and the army, emotional chaos in relation to the Armenians and Russians - these are the distinguishing features of the second trip to Baku. It was visible to the naked eye: the situation was so tense that one spark was enough, and people would overstep the limits of what was permitted and start a meaningless slaughter. A wave of mass demonstrations, acts of disobedience and pogroms inexorably rolled over the region. And so there were enough worries: they served at checkpoints and residential areas, participated in the evacuation of the Armenian village with all belongings outside the republic, pulled out in columns along the roads, controlled the routes of possible movement of thugs.

12 January 1990, when Baku broke out again, we were in Tula, surprised by this discrepancy. And only a week later the regiment raised the alarm. The maximum loaded into the aircraft armored vehicles and weapon, even anti-tank mines grabbed. Immediately it became clear: the good will not end. And the deputy politician confirmed by sharing the information: “We are flying to prevent the transfer of power into the hands of bandits from the Popular Front of Azerbaijan”.

We landed at the airport of Kala, thirty kilometers from Baku. The NFA fighters, armed with machine guns and guns with hunting rifles, were blocked off the runway by trucks with construction materials, behind which they hid themselves, militantly shouting. After an hour of unsuccessful negotiations, the commander's patience dried up: we surrounded and disarmed these unbridled gorlopans and set off.

First, Ryazan and Kostromichi entered the city, tearing down barricades and raking debris, we followed. For the first time they walked in a column in combat, on armor. By the way, Ryazan pretty badly got - about forty people were injured and injured. On the highway, women and children with knapsacks were walking towards us. Mostly Russians. Occasionally in the crowd flashed and men, battered, beaten, hastily tied up. Everywhere the houses were filled with inscriptions that scrubbed at heart: “Kill the Russian!”, “Death to the Slavs!”, “Russians - occupiers!”, “Russians - get out of Baku!”.
In the morning they returned to the airfield, where they camped. Our area of ​​responsibility includes suburban villages and foothills. In addition, guarded aircraft depots, escorted refugees, patrolled areas of militant groups by helicopters and, as the statute dictates, overcame the difficulties and hardships of army field life: they were freezing, getting wet and starving. However, all these troubles seemed to us utter nonsense after the first loss: a fighter was killed by Kostroma when capturing members of the NFA in the naval station building ...


On January 26, on twenty helicopters, with a reinforced battalion flew to the south of Azerbaijan, to Jalilabad. The commander of the regiment, Colonel Orlov, setting the task, explained: there is no legitimate authority in the city — we will restore it. It turned out that the rioters looted the city executive committee, set fire to the city party committee and dispersed the police school. Were ready for any turn of events, but when the sky was filled with turntables, the militants, throwing off the leader of the local Communists, head down from the second floor and grabbing the party ticket office, hastily retreated to the surrounding forests.

While we were dealing with a crowd of young mountaineers who were dissatisfied with the arrival of paratroopers, the Orlov regiment imposed a curfew, organized patrolling the streets and cleared the town of debris, restoring Soviet power.

Together with us in Jalilabad acted a group of strong middle-aged men, apparently, officers of the special unit of the KGB of the USSR. Worked in close contact, and therefore drew attention to several equally equipped detainees of thugs, in which the Chekists were interested. We were given to understand that these are the Iranian military, the guards of the Islamic revolution. It became obvious: interethnic conflict is not so local as it seems at first glance.

From the floor of the huge Gorkom library, almost destroyed by the barbarians, I picked up a volume of Mayakovsky 1947 of release. Later this book visited Yugoslavia and Chechnya with me ...

Returning to the airfield, we learned that when the militants were seized in Neftchala, Ryazan soldiers fired a machine gun, and the platoon commander, Lieutenant Alexander Aksenov, was twice wounded. He was given first medical aid, but a day later he died in a civilian hospital from a great loss of blood. After that, until we returned to Tula, we devoted all our free time to studying the basics of medical training, studying special literature, bandaging each other, putting on harnesses and tires, and making shots. Subsequently, this science helped me a lot.
Two days later, while blocking an armed gang near the border with Iran, the commander of the reconnaissance company, Senior Lieutenant Alexander Konoplev, died. The militants threw two bullets into the officer when he came to them to negotiate with the proposal to lay down their arms. It was hardly worth the risk, but then we were different. This gang of up to 50 people was essentially driven into a dead end, but many officers and fighters saw in them not sworn enemies to be unconditionally destroyed, but misguided and stupefied inhabitants of the fraternal republic. It seemed that it was only necessary to clearly explain that we with them in the same fatherland had nothing to share, and persuaded to hand over their weapons. After the death of Konoplev, it became extremely clear: it only seemed to us ...

The militants were tied up, thrown into a turntable and passed from hand to hand to law enforcement officers. And with the dead officers they said goodbye to the whole world. In a military manner, the division commander, Colonel Alexander Lebed, briefly recalled them in a farewell speech. On the same day, I sent a letter to my mother: do not worry, everything is calm here, they don’t even shoot ... Forgive me, guys. What else could I write?

Terrible winter

Oleg:
- Apparently, with our service we justified the confidence of the Minister of Defense. When it came time to go home on leave, the division commander Swan himself wrote in an accompanying message: “I, the commander of the Baku region of the special position of the city, ask to assist the movement of Sergeants Rodionov ...” and we, one of the first in the regiment, were sent on leave not in the standard parade, and “in Margelovski” - in vests and blue berets. Status!

After returning from the second Baku trip, my brother and I decided to submit documents to the Ryazan VDV School. The company commander Astapov, having learned about our desire to become officers, assured: “You will become! But not now, but in a year. While I need you and the Airborne Forces here and now, help, and then I will help you. ” We stayed, and the company officer kept his word: a year later we entered the school. Moreover, thanks to Astakhov's petition, I was enrolled with a maths tail, and Igor had injured his legs and very limped before the exams. Our external resemblance helped out again: I passed a physo for him, and he gave me a story. On the fives, of course.

Science was given easily, and the years of study passed quickly. But after graduation, for the first time, alas, we had to part with one profession for two: I was assigned to Ulyanovsk and Igor to Leningrad, to Garbolovo.

In the summer of the 1994 th in the 337 parachute regiment, I received a platoon, which by its functional purpose was considered reconnaissance, which, I will not hide it, was delighted. And soon Chechnya declared itself in full voice. In December, a neighboring regiment went to the Caucasus, and immediately after the New Year, in the evening of January 2, they announced to us: we will fly out! Early in the morning, the Chief Minister gathered officers, opened a huge bag full of cash, and silently paid out his salary for several months and also closed all the old debts on bonus and vacation pay. I sent a messenger home with a full package of money, and then I dropped by myself. The wife waited with a gift: she sewed a warm vest-unloading “in Afghan style” ... It was not light yet how the battalion tactical group hammered the boards, which headed for Mozdok.

Arrived. As I see that day now: we are proceeding along some kind of road, it is pouring from above like a bucket, chills to the bones, dirt and clay all around, incomprehensible forebodings. No, there was no fear, he stayed in distant Baku, weary of waiting, and it seemed like a bad dream that we loaded “cargo-200” into those boards that brought us, but not in coffins, not in zinc, but right on stretchers and tarpaulins, hastily, vainly, clumsily ...

Having received an excellent ration, they moved forward to Grozny. In machines cramped: do not budge, do not breathe. Someone turned around unsuccessfully and with a clumsy movement “flies” up. I had to slow down at the nearest checkpoint and present a grenade to the soldiers of the internal troops. Thank you, they say, roar where it should be.

Barely dawn broke, drove into Grozny. Around the fires, dilapidated houses, in the air - a thick smell of burning, black smoke across the sky, everywhere - fresh crosses. Between the rubble, people fumble, scream like mad, in one place someone is tied up, in another - they are buried right in the garden. And also - the heart-rending barking of shabby and terrible dogs gnawing human corpses.

I notice on the side of the armored personnel carrier stuck in a slush, and on it - a classmate at the Alexander Bogomolov School. While the Ural armored personnel carrier was pulling at it, the convoy went ahead. They rushed after it at full speed and, in the heat of the moment skipping the desired turn, got lost. Around the armed people, they watch warily, with the trunks of automatic machines. And then the radio grunted the voice of the company: "Where are you?". Named landmarks. “You have militants in the rear! Back! I did not have to repeat it twice: they took it right off the bat.

To his ripened exactly to the formulation of the combat mission. Ensign-logger opened marching weapons stock near the famous fountain in the park named after Lenin, giving the soldiers any ammunition without restrictions. He didn’t even ask for the last name, just squinted and grumbled: “Sign and go off!” Everybody got two “fly” grenade launchers, plus every second - a “Bumblebee” flamethrower. And we also strengthened the body armor with additional plates, so that they weighed one and a half or two pounds, no less.

We stand in front of the battalion commander, like medieval knights, hanging from head to toe with weapons and ammunition, helmets over their hats, and we expect him to bless with an invigorating word for his military deed. And the commander, specifying that we stand against the bandits at night, suddenly asked everyone for forgiveness ... For what? Later, the company commander explained: “Guys, we are sent to the very inferno, and how it will all end, no one knows ... I ask everyone to write their personal data and addresses of relatives on paper. Insert the leaflets into the sleeves, and sew the sleeves into the pocket of your trousers. Questions? What is there unclear: sewn. Quickly. Silently. Concentrated.

My platoon gave the reconnaissance of the 51 Parachute Regiment, ordering through the central market to advance to the intersection of Chernyshevsky and Rosa Luxemburg streets, where to gain a foothold and ensure the safe advancement of the column of armored vehicles in the area of ​​Dudayev Palace.

Under the cover of a tank and an armored troop-carrier, we drove up to the market, dismounted and went to get armor. Everything is blazing around, explosions from one side, then from the other, and we are maneuvering, moving in pairs and triples, dashes, covering each other. It was as if a conductor had grown out of the ground, corrected the direction of motion, pointed to a panel five-story building, in the basement of which was the headquarters of Lieutenant General Rokhlin.

After listening to my report, Lev Yakovlevich thoughtfully looked at the chief of staff of the Sever group, who immediately nodded and set me a task to dislodge the militants from the four-story building opposite the headquarters and hold it at any cost. I asked several counter questions about the organization of interaction with the neighbors of Pskov and artillery, the supply of food and ammunition. And here Rokhlin intervened, carefully arranging everything on the shelves. How many years have passed, and I am still convinced that Lieutenant General Rokhlin was the best commander of that campaign. “Note, the militants do not know how to fight at night,” he said then goodbye. “So it’s at night that you need to quietly occupy a building.”

Good advice in war is worth a lot. So we did: snakes crawled through the windows, because the entrance blazed hot, quietly made their way to the flight of stairs and sneaked shadows on the roof, from where they gave a signal to the submachine gunners sitting in the Rokhlin headquarters house. Those opened fire on the windows of the second and third floors, and we cleaned the fourth one from above. And then in the same way, floor by floor, they occupied the whole building. Having broken a platoon into two halves in order to gain a foothold in each stairwell, they barricaded the entrance doors, setting machine-guns on the landing between the third and fourth floors in case of shelling. And this case immediately presented itself: the militants did not spare the ammunition, but no one was hurt, from which I concluded that we “dug in” sensibly.

After inspecting the basement, we made an unpleasant discovery, finding a well-fortified underground passage to a nearby kindergarten where the enemy had settled. Already in the pit of a stomach it was unpleasantly moaned, as he imagined how this could have ended. We rushed this hole to all the hell, and even stretch marks at the dam ponadavili. And only after that they felt themselves in a fortress.

By morning, the shooting had ceased, and this made the soul more anxious: when the enemy is firing, even if it is clear where he is. It turned out that the time had come for namaz. Their prayer chants, energetic and fascinating, barely subsided, when suddenly I heard a cry:

- 7-i company, give up! The officers of the Inzerts and Rodionov, drop the weapons and remove the soldiers to build, think of mothers, sisters and wives. Surrender now and we guarantee you a life!

I will not assure you that it was pleasant to me to hear the names — mine and company’s — in this context. A little more than a day has passed since we arrived in Chechnya, and the militants are already well informed. Someone passed us.

He answered purely in Russian: sending besfamilno, but targeted. Militants immediately rushed to the attack. Well-trained snipers of the head did not allow to raise, the grenade throwers riddled all the walls, but we fought off this sortie. Having changed their tactics, the militants waved white flags and sent parliamentarians - two politicians from the environment of a well-known human rights activist. Often, a man and a woman, guarded by tall Dudayev men, flickering on the television screen, cautiously entered the porch and timidly offered to lay down their arms and return to their homes, promising legal support and exemption from criminal liability for desertion. I advised them to return with the same proposal to their fellow militants.

The latter decided to increase the psychological pressure on us. I have already seen headless corpses with traces of torture, but this ... These sadistic savages put a homemade cross with a soldier-infantryman crucified on it in the kindergarten window. The fighter was still alive. The izuvera cleared him with anesthetics, skinned the skin and tied it in a knot over his head. Looking at the convulsion guy was impossible. I asked God to forgive me, I took a machine gun with optics and ... At that moment, someone from the neighbors, unable to bear it, fired at a kindergarten from a grenade launcher.

The house on Chernyshevsky Street, which stood face to face with us, was to be taken by the company commander Dmitry Inzerts with the men of another platoon. But having fallen on the fierce resistance of the militants, he managed to accomplish the task only by half: he controlled two of the four entrances. However, the enemy managed to blow up the adjacent wall and attack the stunned and shell-shocked paratroopers. Fortunately, the losses were avoided, but Inzerts himself and his deputy Zinenko were injured. In addition to this, a T-80 tank, which was on fire for half a day, was shot down between our houses with the Inzert houses, and suddenly it exploded with all its ammunition. The walls shuddered, and one of them collapsed, revealing a completely bleak picture in front of us, in which insurgents occupied a lot of space.

I saw how a vehicle for evacuating the dead and wounded drove up to Rokhlin’s headquarters, and several Inzert soldiers, including private Nikolai Dzhordzhadze, under fire from the militants carried their wounded comrades across the road. Inzertov considered that he would be able to cross the street that he shot through and, without calculating his strength, he fell. Dzhordadze rushed to his aid, cut off his body armor, covered him with an officer and, shielding himself, was looking for cover. The snipers killed the courageous guy of the leg, they could not save him ... A month later, Nikolay Dzhordzhadze was awarded the title of Hero of Russia posthumously.

The platoon of the Pskov regiment replaced the battered Inzertovo subordinates and, as the command insisted on decisive actions, tried to dislodge the militants from the house. Events unfolded, as in the American action movie. With a dash, he opened the door to the entrance, the fighter threw a grenade and slammed it. There was a powerful explosion. Jumping up from the ground, the daredevil again abruptly pulled the handle and immediately collapsed as if knocked down, knocked off a foot from a large-caliber machine gun.

We throw smoke. Pskovists pick up the wounded man, hastily bandaged them and carry them to the headquarters in short dashes from one dam to another. One soldier is wounded in the leg, he falls on the road. The colleague who has hurried to the aid is tipped by a sniper. Again we throw the smoke, but the gusts of wind carry the clubs in the other direction. I tried to jump on the road another soldier and also caught a bullet. The wounded man shouted that he would crawl: enough victims. And slowly moving forward.

But here, from a sympathetic observer, I turn into a participant in the events: a grenade from a grenade launcher flies into the window and wounds Sergei Klyachkovsky in the leg. With a small trophy knife, I rip off my boot, bandage it, as we learned in Baku. They decided to lower Klyachkovsky into the street from the window of the second floor: to go out into the courtyard is suicide. They took the belts off the radio stations, wrapped the wounded man around, threw him over the window sill and ... Another explosion filled the room with a thick sheet of red brick dust, but Sergei was kept, carefully straining the belts to the ground. Crawled after ...

At the obstacle course of the Ulyanovsk training ground, the scouts almost at the finish line had a track filled with liquid manure, which had to be crawled to prevent the wire from tangling. Psychological reception. But many crawled. At the headquarters of Rokhlin was a damaged car with manure in the back. Body riddled, fetid liquid flowed out. I crawl, dragging Sergey, choking on shit, but I don’t lift my head. Next - a fighter: not far behind and does not hesitate. Towards us, the infantryman earned his elbows the same way, deciding to help, but could not stand it - he lifted his head slightly from the manure, and the sniper immediately laid him in place. I feel a strong blow to the body - and they got me, but “my” bullet did not pierce a bullet-proof vest, see, it was gone. I pulled it all the same, loaded MTLB on the armor, covered it with a bulletproof vest and sent it with God ...

I stocked up in the store (write down to my account) with some compotes and pickles - the famine was not my aunt, I picked up a couple of grenades from the tank crews - and back to my fortress.

In the morning I went around with the radio operator our possessions in search of a suitable place to go on the air. And then the soldier suddenly drops his walkie-talkie, leaning over her - the bullet passes a few centimeters above the helmet and beats audibly into the wall. I push a fighter onto the floor, and myself, lifted by a wave of a gift from an RPG that rushed after, I fly a couple of meters and fall through the gap in the floor into the room on the floor below. Next - the darkness in the eyes and the failure of the void. When I came to, I was ready to hit anyone who said that there was no God ...

And here and the guests came to us, slipping miraculously under the noses of the militants, who vigilantly guarded the approaches to the house, - Valentin Janus, correspondent of the Pskovskaya Pravda newspaper, and Alexander Osadchiy, a major from the 76 Airborne Division, were in charge. We stayed with us for about a day, and on January 14 made an extremely risky raid, deciding to shoot an assault on the presidential palace. Alas, it was not destined for them - both died under heavy fire ...

On the night of January 15, they called me to headquarters, thanked me for the task and ordered me to transfer the house to the Marines unit that had arrived to replace them. The matter is not tricky. But without incident there was no cost. Returned already with changers. We run across the street, turn around - and the soul freezes: in a half-step from me, the marine with a cigarette butts in his teeth: the face is not visible, but the “bull” flickers, as if the signal to the sniper gives: I am here - fire! Without thinking, on this butt backhand and drove, knocking him out of his mouth.

- What are you, landing, completely stunned!? - yelled a crazed marine. - I'm an officer! Company Commander!

There was no time or place to explain to him that he was stupidly putting himself under a bullet. Yes, it seems, the guy himself, after cooling himself, understood everything ... Over the years, he saw him, already a Hero of Russia, on TV: he told how he brought his fighters to the Dudayev Palace ...

And my platoon was sent to the rear (although the rear in Grozny at the time was a relative concept), to the park named after Lenin. The company commander, Oleg Bulatov, who acted as the commandant of a small area on whose territory the Terek restaurant was located, found us a more or less comfortable room for a well-deserved rest — a spacious toilet in the basement of the restaurant: each fighter got a separate stall. There were no other options, but we were glad about this, and soon our improvised hotel was already shining with pristine cleanliness ... And the area around the restaurant became our area of ​​responsibility, in which I organized outposts.

The next day, bypassing the posts, I noticed a young pretty girl - a blonde in paramilitary clothes who walked in the cans park. She spun mainly around snipers from the divisional reconnaissance company. Wary and asked: who is this? She introduced herself as a local resident who, in the goodness of her soul, carried drinking water to soldiers.

At night, the enemy sniper began methodically to fire at the points where the guards of the park were during the day. Beat almost blindly, but surprisingly precisely, as if in front of him was a map of the location of posts! Agitated counterintelligence agents came running: give, they say, an intelligent sniper. Gave the best. He figured out the action movie by the glare of a night vision device, fired a shot, and the cuckoo stopped. And in the morning, when they made their way into a dilapidated house, from where the gunman was scorching, they were stunned to see the lifeless body of a kind-hearted blonde, as it turned out later, a native of the Baltic States. It was here that the counterintelligence and organized for the soldiers who arrived at the war a free tour with an instructive lecture on the topic "The enemy is not necessarily scary, it is not washed and bearded."

In the afternoon the battalion was transferred to the Old Provinces, on the outskirts of Grozny. Hastily dug trenches in wet clay, built dugouts. It was not for nothing that they hurried, in the evening the militants pulled themselves up and went on the attack. But I hardly remember this fight, because almost immediately I was contused ... Then they told me how stubbornly I refused medical help. And when my mind cleared, I realized that I was in the turntable. And again fell into oblivion.

In the same river ...

Oleg:
Upon discharge from the hospital in Ryazan, they almost got fired: my eyesight went down, I was bothered by headaches ... I still vaguely remember that period, but apparently I was convincing in my arguments before the medical commission. And then he ended up in Abkhazia, but, thanks to the skills acquired, he did not allow losses among the personnel.

And how could I not enter the same river again, not return to Chechnya? Then on this page of my biography there would be no logical completion. Flew in August 2000 th.

It was a different war. But it was still a war. And somehow, fulfilling the combat mission, I, the commander of the reconnaissance company 137 of the paratroop regiment, with a group of forty bayonets went up the river Bas to the foothills of Alistanzhi to search for militant bases with the aim of directing aviation and smashing this whole scenic panorama to devil mothers. Noticing the camouflaged tent branches on the opposite side of the mountain half a kilometer away, he passed the coordinates to the headquarters. Along the way, I requested information about the presence of reconnaissance groups from the GRU and VV Shtab in the area. He answered: apart from you, there are no people there, any man with a gun is a fighter. To no and no trial: summoned aircraft. But then suddenly a strong wind rose, fog thickened in the gorge, and visibility dropped to zero. The flown pair of Mi-24 fired a volley and left. In white light, like a pretty penny.

In the morning, they continued along the route, but only after 24 hours, thanks to the optics, they found a group of militants - 150 man, no less. My eyes immediately riveted to him a one-legged bearded man on horseback, surrounded by bodyguards. There are no doubts left - Shamil Basayev! One to one, as in the photo in the orientation!

Caused artillery. The first volley "Gradov" sowed a serious panic in the ranks of the Mujahideen. Having calmed down, they began to work the area around themselves with chaotic shooting, realizing that the scouts are nearby.

Art corrector bullet demolished the antenna. But it was impossible to miss Basayev: they urgently contacted my radio station, asking for another light in clear text. Half a minute later, on the same wave, they heard militants who, having intercepted the program, Allah swore that we could not escape a slow and painful death.

Avoid it. After a couple of days, the battalion counterintelligence officers rejoiced, saying that as a result of our work, the 42 bandit went to hell. It was a success that the whole group immediately recognized. But, alas, not only she, but also the militants. At night, two Niva with the automatic Flame grenade launchers mounted in the boot racks slowly approached the outskirts of the regimental camp and shot reconnaissances into the tents along the grenade box. By happy coincidence, we were not in tents at this moment. Fragment wounds were received by several BMD drivers.

Soon managed to capture the famous field commander. True, quite by accident. We returned from reconnaissance and search actions to the village, in which internal troops and the police worked by addresses. Colleagues-wavishniki asked to help deal with a group of detainees. They probed them, both literally and figuratively: are there any obvious traces of the recent use of weapons - everything is clean. And then an elderly woman shouted from the crowd: “Russians, let my son go, he is not guilty of anything!” And then - in Chechen, but I heard the name, painfully familiar. I tensed, not submitting the form, and I asked the woman: what is the name of your son such and such? Then he really is not guilty. “Yes, that's right, this is our last name,” she replied, finally giving up her little son: it was he who participated in a number of bloody raids of the Raduev gang and was awarded the main order of Ichkeria “Honor of the Nation”.

After a long conversation with the detainee, it was possible, by comparing the data we had, to locate behind the Kirov-Yurt a preserved base of militants, where the off-road Hammer Basayev was hidden. In the car found the securities with lists of militants, their accounting, addresses of accomplices. Following along the chain, they set up an ambush for the armored Suburban jeep, which belonged to Aslan Maskhadov. The “President of Ichkeria” itself was not in the car, but the driver, realizing that there was no chance of hiding, shot himself.

13 January 2001 of the year, having received the task of reconnaissance and search actions, I went to the mountains with my company. It was necessary to work out the forest area outside the village of Selmentauzen and destroy the stronghold of the members of the illegal armed groups. True, in the villages of Khatuni, Kirov-Yurt and Selmentauzen, aksakals knew about our raid and, of course, reported to the militants. But this was just the task, for my maneuver, accompanied by noise and explosions, in reality only covered the work of the special forces of the FSB. Having received information about the advancement of reconnaissance companies to the mountains, the militants had to evade the clash, withdraw from the bases and descend into the gorge, where they were waited by special forces.

They acted clearly according to the plan: the ridge ranged far and wide, found and blew up three militant bases with stocks of medicines and food, and the next day we descended from the mountains in a designated place to the road where the battalion column picked us up. From that moment everything went through the stump deck. First, the chain of cars stretched for a kilometer and a half, then one BMD sighed, stopping movement even more. In a word, only a lazy action movie would not have taken advantage of this situation: three landmine bombs simultaneously exploded above the convoy. The battery commander, Captain Alexei Lazarev, was immediately thrown from the body on the tent of the car to the dead, and three soldiers were injured in the legs. Not so much surprised by the attack, as a young lad-caretaker, who ran out a few hours ago, but in a peak position, he proved to be strong: under crossfire he took five wounded to the shelter, bandaged, then took up arms and fired back at the insurgents ... Twenty minutes later, the enemy, licking his wounds, crawled into the mountains. But I had no doubts: our medical instructor won this fight ...

The next time I flew to Vedeno as a senior officer in the direction of the Airborne Force in the OGVS in December 2003. He was supposed to coordinate the actions of the reconnaissance paratroopers from headquarters, but when Lieutenant General Tretyak saw me, he brightened: “We need an experienced and responsible instructor to help the“ Indians ”in the mountains. I am taking you for more interesting and mobile work than the headquarters! ”

The “Indians” turned out to be Chechen special forces, and their “leader” was Sulim Yamadayev, who immediately liked me: a decent, competent, intelligent officer. And his “tribe of the Redskins” is a disciplined, well-coordinated, efficient company. Somehow, in the first days of the operation in Dargo, I jokingly called them a bearded gang, which I involuntarily offended when I heard in reply: “We are the Russian army!”. I did not joke like that anymore ...

Photos from the personal archive Rodionovyh
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