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A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from…

A Small Corner of Hell: Dispatches from Chechnya

by Anna Politkovskaja

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It is still amazing to me that the modern world finds it so easy to let a 'conflict' like this go on for years without forcing a solution that involves punishing all those who perpetrated war crimes against non-combatants and prisoners. The fact that the author was herself a victim of this genocidal war by the time I bought this book just adds more weight to this real life drama that, for all I know, is still going on right now. Politskovskaya does her best to remain objective and to provide a broad, fair perspective, but when the organized police force cannot protect its people from the military, and from rogue bands of strong-arms who extort money and resources and kill civilians for fun, it is hard to see the 'Russian' side as having much of a good side. I was struck by how the people Polistskaya interviewed seemed to consider the days of secret arrests by the KGB and quiet disappearances of neighbors to be the 'good old days', compared to the current situation.
This is a very heavy read, but well worth it if you want to know what is going on in the world, outside the stories the media reports about. ( )
  JBarringer | Dec 30, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anna Politkovskajaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ackerman, GaliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burry, AlexanderTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Crowfoot, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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, was the only journalist to have constant access to the region. Her international stature and reputation for honesty among the Chechens 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. Anna Politkovskaya was assassinated in Moscow on October 7, 2006.… (more)

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