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eXile Classic / April 24, 1997

Few weeks ago, one of my party comrades brought me a present, a few military pennants. I hang them here and there in my apartment. One, with a sword, clenched fist, words “detachment of special task force” and slogan “The best form of word is action” I have hanged over my work-table. It hang there for sometime, then one day I suddenly noticed the name of detachment below. “Vitiaz” – it said. I immediately removed pennant from the wall. As those “vitiazes,” bastards, tried to kill me in the evening of October 3, 1993. Only my luck prevented me from been killed. After taking over the sky-scrapper of Moscow’s Mayor’s building (the former building of Soviet of Economical Mutual Help, or COMECOM) in afternoon on October 3, opposition masses, and me, among them, stormed the buses, awaiting for some reason near the Mayor of Moscow. Happy and drunk of victory we get in and headed for Ostankino. In our bus nobody had guns. Few boys were armed with aluminium shields and clubs confiscated of militiamen during the day, when we victoriously pushed through militia cordon’s towards blockaded Russian White House. We desired weapons, yes, but we didn’t have them.

The buses run through Moscow in general air of jubilation and feelings of revolution happening. In our bus, we removed glass-windows and screamed into the streets “Yeltsin-Kaput!” “Yeltsin-Kaput!” “The power to the people!” People were screaming back to us the same slogans. Even the reach, locking their “Mercedeses” and “Volvos” were showing us signs of “V” – victory. Certainly out of fear, not out of love.

Then suddenly in the middle of Prospekt Mira, we saw THEM. The detachment “Vitiaz”. A dozen of armed personal carriers, machine-guns pointing severely to all directions, soldiers, sitting on carriers, equipped with a strange modern-weapons, looking like a personages of “Star Wars” of Spielberg. They were waiting.

Now, I know that they were waiting for us. But in that late afternoon of October 3, we, riding our yellow bus, thought it is Army who’s heading to help us, people, to take over Ostankino. So, we cried “Hurr-a-a-a-a to the Army! Idiots.

They reacted differently. Some of them even show us signs of victory, others, majority of them, menacingly shaked at us their fists. Apparently in total confusion of that confused day they been waiting for order in the middle of Prospect Mira.

Dozen of us, we jumped off the bus at Korolyova street. We wanted to get some weapons from the militiamen, guarding the huge buildings populated by the Deputies of Supreme Soviet and their families. We have not succeeded. Militiamen said that they have no weapons here, all of them supposedly stocked at police-station. They have lied to us, of course. When we get to Ostankino we saw that special task forces armed carriers were already there. They been parked at the corner of Administration Building, one near the pond.

Towards 7p.m. a few thousands of us were blocking the both entrances at Ostankino television complex: that of Administration building and of Technical center. General Makashov arrived surrounded by a very few armed men. I counted eleven Kalashnikov’s, not more, not less. Makashov saw me, shake my hand. He said: “You should make uprising of intelligentsia, Edik!”. It sounded absurdly out of place. “Better to give me a gun, please,” replied I. “No spare guns. Sorry”, he said. “All are being used.” Makashov proceeded to negotiate with militiamen, in order to let revolutionary masses inside. It didn’t work, militia locked the doors from inside.

At 7.30 p.m., after twelve years of abstention from smoking I met a Russian cigarette “Yava” into my mouth. The leader of a Front of National Salvation Konstantinov gave me a light. We both were staying in no more then 20 meters from the entrance of Technical Center building. At 7:31, the truck of opposition started to hit the glass-doors of entrance. Numerous telejournalists and photographers oozed through us, straggling for the place in a first row of spectators. Then suddenly it was an explosion. And unbearable heat of it. After a moment of silence we heard the sound of heavy machine-guns working.

From my five wars I brought an instinct of survival. I fall to the ground and started to crawl out of reach of their weapons. When I reached the basalt rocks of unknown destination, probably they served as a border of gigantic flower-bed, I stopped there and looked back. From twenty to thirty bodies were laying there, some wounded and screaming some dead and silent. The Irish free-lance journalists and many others journalists were killed there by tracer bullets of those “Vitizaers” (in translation from Russian – “the knights”, “chivalry”). Very probable that one of journalists took my death, or Konstantinov’s death.

Later I crawled towards the small hut, containing an electrical transformer. We were about fifty people, taking refuge behind it. But “Vitiazies” have met a machine-gun at the roof of Administration building and shout at us, with a tracing bullets. In one moment I saw as a red point traversed my torso. It stayed on my hand then slowly moved on the shoulder of my neighbor. Behind infra-red sight brave “Vitiaz” took an aim at unarmed people, choosing himself a victim. Simultaneously the armed carriers came from Korolyova street. The voice through loud speaker announced “Leave the territory! Otherwise we will fire at you!”. People run into the bushes and trees, surrounding television tower. Almost immediately after warning the shout from a machine-guns on personal carriers, spraying the bushes and trees. General Makashov and his eleven men with Kalashnikovs tried to storm Technical Center. The brave and fearless adolescents have succeeded in putting on fire first floor with a Molotov’s cocktails. But is was very little what we, people can do against star war soldiers of President. They shot everybody in sight. The Russians they fired in Russians. I was in five wars. I never saw such a massacre. When few years later the “Vitiazes” were send to Chechnya, I was happy. Russians, we are very cruel people, indeed.

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