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A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnyaby Anna Politkovskaya
Synopses & Reviews
The recent murder of Anna Politkovskaya is grim evidence of the danger faced by journalists passionately committed to writing the truth about wars and politics. A longtime critic of the Russian government, particularly with regard to its policies in Chechnya, Politkovskaya was a special correspondent for the liberal Moscow newspaper Novaya gazeta. Beginning in 1999, Politkovskaya authored numerous articles about the war in Chechnya, and she was the only journalist to have constant access to the region.
Politkovskaya's second book on the Chechen War, A Small Corner of Hell, offers an insider's view of this ongoing conflict. In this book, Politkovskaya focuses her attention on those caught in the crossfire. She recounts the everyday horrors of living in the midst of war, examines how the Chechen war has damaged Russian society, and takes a hard look at the ways people on both sides profited from it. Now available in paperback, A Small Corner of Hell ensures that Politkovskaya's words will not be erased.
"[A Small Corner of Hell] skips harrowingly from year to year and place to place. The arch-villains are the Russian death squads, venal and brutal, and the complacent, lying politicians and generals who profit from the illegal trade in booty, oil, and captives. Her heroes are not the Chechen resistance—a gangsterish and ill-fed lot—but the long-suffering civilian population, whose natural grit and solidarity has gradually dissolved under the relentless brutality of daily life."
"A personal, unblinking stare at the casualties of war."
—Jonathan Kaplan, Los Angeles Times
Chechnya, a 6,000-square-mile corner of the northern Caucasus, has struggled under Russian domination for centuries. The region declared its independence in 1991, leading to a brutal war, Russian withdrawal, and subsequent "governance" by bandits and warlords. A series of apartment building attacks in Moscow in 1999, allegedly orchestrated by a rebel faction, reignited the war, which continues to rage today. Russia has gone to great lengths to keep journalists from reporting on the conflict; consequently, few people outside the region understand its scale and the atrocities—described by eyewitnesses as comparable to those discovered in Bosnia—committed there.
Anna Politkovskaya, a correspondent for the liberal Moscow newspaper Novaya gazeta, is the only journalist to have constant access to the region. Her international stature and reputation for honesty among the Chechens have allowed her to continue to report to the world the brutal tactics of Russia's leaders used to quell the uprisings. A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya is her second book on this bloody and prolonged war. More than a collection of articles and columns, A Small Corner of Hell offers a rare insider's view of life in Chechnya over the past years. Centered on stories of those caught-literally-in the crossfire of the conflict, her book recounts the horrors of living in the midst of the war, examines how the war has affected Russian society, and takes a hard look at how people on both sides are profiting from it, from the guards who accept bribes from Chechens out after curfew to the United Nations. Politkovskaya's unflinching honesty and her courage in speaking truth to power combine here to produce a powerful account of what is acknowledged as one of the most dangerous and least understood conflicts on the planet.
About the Author
Anna Politkovskaya (1958-2006) received the Golden Pen Award from the Russian Union of Journalists in 2000, the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Womens Media Foundation, and the Prize for Journalism and Democracy from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
Table of Contents
Whose Truth? by Georgi Derluguian
London, May 2002: The Beginning
Ordinary Chechen Life in Wartime
It's Nice to Be Deaf
The Chiri-Yurt Settlement
Makhkety: A Concentration Camp with a Commercial Streak
A Zone within a Zone
The Hundredth Grozny Blockade
Viktoria and Aleksandr: Grozny Newlyweds
A Village That No Longer Exists
A Lawless Enclave
A Nameless Girl from Nowhere
The Burning Cross of Tsotsan-Yurt
Starye Atagi: The Twentieth Purge
The Chechen Choice: From the Carpet to the Conveyer Belt
What Are the Rules of the Game?
Modern Russian Life against the Backdrop of the War
Ruslan Aushev: "Nobody Guarantees Life in Chechnya Today"
Five Hundred Rubles for Your Wife: The Chechnya Special Operation Ruins the Country
Chechnya's Unique Islam
Executions of Reporters
Russia's Secret Heroes
Killed by His Own
It's Hard to Get Cartridges in Mozhaisk
Who Wants This War?
An Oligarchy of Generals
Boys and Girls
Westernizers and Orientals
Chechyna as the Price for the UN Secretary-General's Post
Special Operation Zyazikov
We Survived Again!: A Chronicle of Colonel Mironov's Luck
London 2002: An Ending without Closure
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