September 12, 1996. 2 p.m. Gogolevsky Bulvar, near metro Kropotkinskaya. I am walking alone. I am returning from a demonstration of protest against shameful, unjust Chechnya peace accord just concluded by General Lebed. Event took place near Russian White House. It was organized by my National – Bolshevik’s party. Slogans were explicit: “Lebed-The No. 1 Chechen of the Year!” “Lebed -to the jail bench!” “For what been killed our boys!”
Suddenly I am stopped by an acquaintance of mine, young painter with his wife. “Edward, you are followed by two guys. You better to walk with us, cause they prepare something: they have exchanged the signs behind your back, pointing at you…”
Turn around I see them. One, sporting ugly Turkish training suit, walks behind me. Another one-blond, rather fat, crew cut on round head, clad in brown leather jacket, steps on opposite side of the street. I am surprised, because the fat one I saw about an hour ago. He and few friends of him been watching our demonstration. “What a hell such criminal types do at such political event,” thought I. Now it is clear, they went to see me.
Painter Aleksei, his wife and me, we walk to Novy Arbat. We enter huge book store “Dom Knigi.” We go through it, exit from the back door. An hour later they walk me home. I am disturbed but not too much. It is Moscow-city of all dangers.
September 18, 7:30 p.m. I am leaving “bunker”-the basement premises of my newspaper “Limonka” on Second Frunzenskaya street. I am heading home. This is Wednesday, the day my biweekly comes out. Long working day is over and I am tired. So, I forget simple security arrangements what I been following lately. I am alone, while I should be escorted by my boys. In order to shorten my way to metro station I am cutting through courtyards.
I hear heavy breath behind me simultaneously with a blow on the back of my head. I am falling down under the force of a few bodies. They beat me in the head, and only in the head, with their boots. Silently, with precision. After a while they stop, because of crowd of passers-by walking from metro station. They run away as they understandably don’t have intention to be seen. Raising myself from a pool of blood I realize happily that I wasn’t designated to be beaten to death. It is just first warning.
I am walking back to the “bunker.” Blood is pouring over my face. My clothes spilled with blood. I found a dozen of my boys in “bunker.” They are horrified to see their “vozhd’” in such a state. But I was reckless, so I paid the price. Next day I visited police station and have undergone medical examination. I discovered that my nose is broken twice and that surface of my left eye is damaged. Now I have permanent black scratches that look like a period and comma in my vision. Everything I see out of my left eye has these scratches.
Police starts investigation. In a few days time they show me six photos of persons who I wasn’t able to recognize. On September 23, at 9:30 p.m., Igor Yegorov, member of editorial board of “Limonka,” is attacked in the similar way, beat on the head, until he lost consciousness. Medical staff of hospital No. 20 certified severe concussion of the brain. On September 25, at night time door of our “bunker” on Second Frunzenskaya is broken, personal questionnaires of party members are stolen. Later, they are found by me in my letter-box with a note:
“Limonov, have pity for your boys. Otherwise-yes, death!” Afterwards-silence. Nothing. Attack is over?
“Things will be quiet now, for a year, or a year and half,” assured me captain Vladislav Schurigin, friend of mine. “But afterwards you risk to be killed.” Schurigin knows too well what that business of killing is all about. Himself he is condemned to death by Chechens, for the crime of showing on television… a Chechen’s ear, sliced off by soldiers of Russian special forces.
Who did assault me? At press-conference on September 19, I have said that I suspect people of Lebed. “Limonka” have severely attacked him almost in every issue. Yes, we have abused many politicians: Yeltsin, Chernomyrdin, Zyuganov-but Lebed was and is our main target. Then I know the methods of General too well: his personal guards, the ÓBlue Berets” from Transdnestr, have beaten, arrested and killed opponents of the General, including Lieutenant-Colonel Kostenko. When he came to Moscow, Lebed took some of the Blue Berets with him.
Some sources of Ministry of Interior and those of FSB suggested that I’ve been assaulted by one of the rival Nationalist parties. But as the goal of the FSB and Ministry of Interior is exactly to neutralize us nationalists, and to divide us, I don’t believe their version. Marks on my left eye will remain forever, said doctor.
This article first appeared in Issue #1 of The eXile.
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