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By Edward Limonov

A year ago I wrote a poem, concerning nineties. I will translate it from my excellent Russian to my broken English as best, as I can.

The Nineties

I drunked “Rakia”

I have fucked Maria

I had my happiness accented

And commandant me “browning”


Such were years nineties

Were populated by the serbs,

the mighties

Were truly wonderful those years!

Near Saraevo, amongst mountaineers

I was Iovan Tintor best friend

And Tintor wasn’t guy with happy end

He was a military chef and he got lost

So president have Tintor fired

from his post

That time I have expressed

by the reportages

With the ecstasies, excesses

and with rages

O, nineties those years!

Maria’s red moisty clitoris

And Serbian silent rivers

changing gears…

I hope that clumsy translation will, nevertheless, give to eXile reader some notion of my nineties. For me that decade was decade of adventures, of local wars, of political activities. As I have lived nineties first as a war correspondent for French and Russian newspapers, and later, after 1994 as a radical politician in Russia.

Nineties have started for me in November 1991, when peaceful, drunken Belegrade I have moved by the road in direction of Zagreb, where Serbs fought for the town of Vucovar. 115 kilometers from Belgrade I have catched THE WAR. War 1991 had a look of a war of 1941, as all local wars are archaical. Green, greenish and grey uniforms of soldiers, white freshness of young snow, red blood of wounds. Tired faces of living and peaceful faces of dead. “Tchetniks”-Serbian nationalists wearing beards and leather coats, regiment of paratrooper, wearing red berets: war have an exciting look. And a nasty smell, because dead bodes have smelled at Balkan’s climate. I have eaten pea soup with soldiers, have drunk “rakia” with Orthodox priests. Once, badly wanting to piss, have stepped near planted mine called “pashtet” (paste or pate), probably because that mine can make paste of human body. It didn’t make paste of my body, because Serbian soldier have pushed me off dangerous place, one of my feet, I remember was almost touching that fucking mine. When in January 1992 I was leaving that war, I crossed “23rd May Bridge,” named so after Iozef Tito’s birthday, on Danube River. On the other side of Danube I say hunters, peacefully waking with their dogs and hunting rifles, it was first day of hunting season. Some of the hunters carried dead hares.

In 1992 I went to Bosnian war, have visited fighting Serbian quarters Gerbovica at Saraevo, have slept some nights at frozen hotel room in mountain town of Pale, capital of Bosnian Serbian Republic. My neighbour at hotel was powerful member of government professor Bilana Plavschic, woman about 50 at that time. She had good coffee at her room and kerosin heater. It was great advantage because Pale was cutted of electricity. We have disputed with Miss Plavschic a lot, she was moderation politician. Now she is, nevertheless, serving her eleven years term in European prison at Haag. As well as another Bosnian Serb Kraichnik. At 1992 he was a chairman of Bosnian Serbian parliament. I have also interviewed for myself and for BBC television documentary doctor Radovan Karadzich, then President of Serbian Bosnian Republic. He have recited for me his poetry, we were both standing on the mountain ridge above Saraevo. Now Karadzich is hiding somewhere, despite the fact that he was also moderate politician, arguing with his minister of defense General Radko Mladich. Mladich was a hawk. But ironic of sort, both of them now in hiding, because they are defeated. Bosnian Serbian Republic is dead. Personally, I feel sad about that, because those Serbs from Bosnia were courages brave types, they deserved to have there republic no less that Americans their Independence from English crown. Serbs were defeated by foreign aggression, whole Europe came to fight Serbs. What is not fair.

Then I went to Transnestian Republic. Those guys are still in power. Republic was founded by some Russian policeman, fleeing Baltic states, as well as by local policeman and women organizations. When I have arrived they just repel Moldavien aggression, and they were happy. General Alexander Lebed was installing himself as a new commander of Russian 14th Army in those days. Transnesterians were happy to get such a brave and masculine general. Later they, however, discovered that General Lebed have a bad character and frequent bad moods, but when I arrived in Tiraspol in autumn, it was a honey-moon between Republic and General. I lived some time in detachment of colonel Kostenko, kind of a modern Nestor Makchno he was. Kostenko was killed shortly afterwards under unclear circumstances by Lebed and Transnestrian security forces. What I have discovered in Transnesteria, I was happy. I wandered in town of Benderi in search of legendary white-stockings, allegedly girls-snipers from Baltic states.

Then I went to Abkhazia. I discovered that beaches of Black Sea were deserted to such point that the grass have risen huge and mighty on those beaches, where few years ago human bodies were crowded together. The roads were broken by vegetation, bamboo were erupted in the middle of asphalted road. Pigs were eating young bamboo vegetation on Black Sea major highway. I liked it. Enormously.

At Abkhazia I first saw the regiment of Tchetchen fighters, “Regiment of Shamil” as they were called in those times. Nobody new yet Shamil Basaev, but it was he who formed that regiment and brought them to Abkhazia. For the first time I saw them at block-post near the village called “Low Esheres” (Nizhnie Esheri). They were very clean small boys, wearing black uniforms with green head bands. They were looking so young, so clean, so unoffesive with new, shining weapons, that I thought they have a look of cinema boys, of statists, hired for a movie. But you know now that Shamil Basaev is a serious man.

In 1993 I went to Serbian Republic of Kninskaia Kraina: mountainous republic located on rocking plateau inside of Croatia. It was such a dangerous place to reach and equally dangerous to be that I still wonder: how I managed to stay alive. On my way back I have crossed all Gersegovina and all Bosnia.

In 1994 I decided to move to Moscow, and I have moved. I have founded National Bolshewiks Party, I founded newspaper “Limonka.”

I was arrested not in the nineties, but in first months of 21 century, on April 7, 2001, seven days after Slobodan Miloshevich, who I have visited in his residence in 1992, when going back from Bosnia. Those nineties were wonderful years, indeed.

This article was first published in Issue #227 of The eXile, December, 2005.

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