Chechnya Chronicles

Chechnya Chronicles of Stanislav Solovkin

The director of the magnificent «Barber of Siberia» Nikita Mikhalkov tried to create a scent called «Yunkersky». According to the plan of the author it should have comprised the scent of the «freshly shaved officer cheek, light air of vodka and a bit of war». In short - a real man's scent. Nothing of the kind could be achieved by the «Krasnaya Moskva» factory, which the author asked for help. No artificial ingredients can lead to the creation of such scent. This aroma exists only in natural conditions.

My conversation partner on the other side of the table has that ver real man's scent. At his 22 Stanislav Solovkin faced many things. In the call of his duty, if I may say so. But he's not a part of any special forces. Stanislav is the documentary director of the «VID» television company. It's the call of this duty, that made him go to Chechnya dozens of times. He was the head of the crew, taking part in the shooting of the armed conflict in Ichkeria and had to ride in a truck alongside with 17 gunmen to interview one of the field commanders, on top of an armoured vehicle heading to rescue a trapped special forces squad...

Is he showing off? Does he suffer from the exaggeration syndrome, so habitual for the people of his profession? Nope... The documentary, made by Stanislav, about the Russian slaves trade leaves a strong impression. The
«Slave market» film is absolutely not a Nevzorov-style action movie about Grozny in the first Chechnya war. All shootings are made in a habitual «true to life» manner for this kind of films. It shows how the bargaining goes, the price of a salve, how slaves are categorised by the traders.

Stanislav's monologue about himself and the film, about the stink of the current Russian reality I decided to present it was uttered at the table with shots of vodka. There will be no remarks or editions. It's up to the reader to decide where Stanislav shows off and where gives out the real man's truth...

- ...How did we come across the idea of the film? In 1997 in summer two journalists of the «VID» television company were kidnapped in Chechnya. At first it didn't seem that difficult. The guys were kidnapped to be exchanged for a ransom. Screw you, you kidnapped them, you got your money, you set the guys free. But by the summer of 1999 we realised, that this is a disease, a virus, ready to destroy us all. And this is what it looks like. In any Russian city, except for, may be, the most distant ones like Vladivostok, any man can become and object of a hunt. Under this or that pretence he will be baited to a place, where he will be hit with a club and put into so-called «coffin», then there will be a loaded truck with, say, glassware. with this «coffin» underneath going to Chechnya. And there the most difficult time of his life will begin.
In a month the crying parents of the victim, having searched every hospital and morgue, will receive a call from a person with a strong Caucasian accent and will demand ransom. The amount will be between 50 thousand and 50 million. And they pay and they get their relatives back. For the present moment I have a database with 6379 people, who were kidnapped and became a trade object in Chechnya during the past six years. It's not just a list of names. This is the description of certain episodes with surnames, dates of birth, addresses and places of disappearance. These real people became a part of Chechnya human traffic market, consisting of seven thousand people a year. Though, I think the real quantity is three times bigger. Frequently the victims are beggars, bums, prostitutes. They are not on any lists for the «liberation», they are not sought by anyone, it's unknown how many of them are still alive. These people end up in the so-called the second, cheap type of the slaves - free manpower. The first type is the children, grandchildren, relatives of the wealthy businessmen. In my database there are mostly such names and names of the kidnapped military men. By the way, the life of a military man in Chechnya costs 100 grams of heroin.

- To be on the safe side they from time to time cut the fingers of the victims and send them to their relatives - wealthy businessmen. The quantity of such deliveries is in direct proportion to the time, spent to collect and send the ransom. The amounts of ransom are so big because of one simple reason. Too many people feed off of these money: spotters, couriers, house owners, agreed to turn their basements into prisons. And many other free-loaders. For instance, Russian policemen, not checking the trucks, going to Chechnya, for 5 000 dollars. Nine of those are already in prison. The special attitude Chechnya slavers and just Chechnya people have towards the jews. They are completely sure, that the jews are to blame for everything, going on in Chechnya. Ari Baraev said, that the jews in the territory of Chechnya exist only for being milked for money. The kidnapped son of one of the directors of the Volgograd brick factory, a jew, had his finger cut, because his father send too little money - just 300 thousand dollars. The hunt for the jews children is considered the most profitable in Chechnya. You can remember Alla Geikhman from Saratov. The father of the girl was considered to be
«Berezovsky from Saratov». Now he is broke. He gave away everything to pay the ransom for his daughter. And every news on the liberation of the girl as a result of a special operation with no ransom paid are fake. That is why during the 6 years of activity the Chechnya militants turned around 200 million dollars - the amount, bigger, than the price of the whole Chechnya oil for the same years and than the whole Russian investments into the reconstruction of Chechnya. Allah's father was sent two cut off fingers of his daughter. I saw dozens of such fingers. And only one person, who came alive from the Chechnya prison. He is in my film...

I have watched the «Slave market» by Stas. Perhaps, the first in Israel. The film leaves a heavy impression. On the wide screens of Russia and several European countries where it was already on, it looked even more powerful. If you, guys, stumble upon the VHS with the «Slave market» watch it alone. Without women and children. This film is not for them.