“Fighting rages on in Grozny. The bodies lay in the street and no one bothers to clean them up off the asphalt. Carriers rumble over them at speed and they get tossed around by explosions. Blackened bones are scattered around charred vehicles.
When it gets dark, strange silhouettes in skirts appear on the street; lots of them, wandering from curb to curb stopping at the corpses. They turn them over onto their backs and study the faces for a long time. We can’t figure out who they are, meanwhile the silhouettes steadily approach us.
The moon shines over the streets and ghosts in skirts wander between the bloated corpses. Someone’s nerves don’t hold out, and he opens fire, joined by two or three others. They fire a few bursts and even drop one of the silhouettes before cries are heard from over there.
Women’s voices shout in Russian, and we finally realize that these are the mothers of soldiers. They have come here to find their missing sons and are searching for them among these mangled bodies.
‘Hold your fire! They’re mothers! Our mothers!’
Some of the women run over to the one who fell. She is wounded and they carry her into one of the courtyards.”
– Arkady Babchenko, Russian army. First Chechen War. 1996
As we always say here at Battles and Beers (TM) Every soldier has a story, and every story deserves to be told.