Saturday, August 30, 2014
 
Follow sptimesonline on Facebook Follow sptimesonline on Twitter Follow sptimesonline on RSS
MOST READ



PARTNER NEWS



BLOGS



OPINION



WHERE TO GO?

The Romanovs in St. Petersburg

History of St. Petersburg Museum

Small Tragedy, Fatal Passion

Rimsky-Korsakov Apartment Museum

 

Перевести на русский Перевести на русский Print this article Print this article

All Captured on Camera: The Last Shots of the Perm OMON

Published: May 14, 2002 (Issue # 768)



  • Eight of the 10 service personnel captured by Chechen rebels after an attach on March 29, 2000, near Dzhanei-Vedeno.
    Photo: For The St. Petersburg Times

On March 29, 2000, an OMON detachment serving in Chechnya was ambushed by rebel forces, who killed 42 of the 49 soldiers in the column. Now, photos and video footage seen by The St. Petersburg Times shed light on the human tragedy that lies behind the statistics. By Nabi Abdullaev.

BEREZNIKI, Perm Region - When he left for his first mission in Chechnya in February 2000, Sergei Udachin, a 37-year-old OMON officer, took along a cheap Kodak camera.

Before he was killed near the village of Dzhanei-Vedeno in one of the most painful episodes of the military campaign in Chechnya, Udachin had used up about half a roll of film.

He had someone take snapshots of him and his comrades: around a table celebrating a birthday, posing on their bunks in a Chechen kindergarten, standing with their weapons outside their Vedeno headquarters.

The rest of the roll was shot by a Chechen rebel who picked the camera off of Udachin's body. He used it to document troops the rebels had killed and taken prisoner in their attack.

Udachin's family and fellow OMON officers in Berezniki, a polluted industrial town in the north Urals, were to see the photographs only two years later. They said the camaraderie between the men, so visible in the early photographs, was what led them to Chechnya and what still keeps the town's OMON officers going back in spite of the horrors of the war.

Surrounded by birch woods, Berezniki continues to nurse its wounds from March 29, 2000, when 23 of its 101 OMON officers were killed in the attack near Dzhanei-Vedeno.

The rebels, commanded by Abu-Quteiba, a warlord of Arab origin, also killed 19 others: three OMON officers and nine regular police officers from Perm city, six army conscripts and one police officer from Vedeno.

Only seven men from a column of 49 survived to tell the tale. The rebels killed 31 men on the spot, and one wounded OMON officer was later found dead under a nearby bridge. The rebels took 10 men prisoner, later offering to trade them for Colonel Yury Budanov, who was in military custody on charges of murdering a young Chechen woman. The offer was turned down, and the mutilated bodies of the prisoners were either found near the battle site or bought from locals.

"That day a column led by Mayor Valentin Simonov left from Vedeno, where we were based, to the village of Tsentoroi to conduct a mopping-up operation there," recalled Colonel Sergei Gaba, the head of the Perm city OMON, who commanded the 100-member combined team of the Perm region's Interior Ministry forces on its 18th mission to Chechnya.

Pages: [1] [2 ] [3 ] [4 ] [5 ] [6 ] [7 ] [8 ] [9]






 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



Times Talk