"The first of my longer trips
to Russia in the middle of nineties coincided with the beginning
of the Chechen war. At the time, traveling through numerous Siberian
towns and villages I was surprised by the amount of packmen in the
railway stations. Many of them were peddlers who carried around goods,
but increasingly, I noticed more and more people who moved around
with their whole families and children. "The
result of countless military conflicts," explained to me a philology
student. He had spent his Russian military service in Trans-Dniestr
region, in the very centre of first post-soviet military conflicts.
Later, at the turn of millennium, I met war refugees all over the
region, in the streets of Baku and Tiflis. The situation has not
improved till this very day. Today, several thousand Chechen refugees
live in the Pankis valley in Georgia, at the border with Chechnya.
They are people who have deserted their homes under blasts of artillery
explosions and never ceasing machine-gun fire. It is a blind old
man who has been crossing a dangerous mountain-pass on foot for three
days, and probably will spend his last days in Georgia, on the other
side of mountain range. They are exhausted mothers who have left
their dead babies in the snow.
Children, who have survived, seeing only violence and violent solutions
to conflicts, grow up in a foreign land with a single thought on
their minds - to return and revenge, some day. Former doctor of Grozny
hospital works in the field, to make a living for herself and her
Every week, a United Nations aid truck brings food and medical supplies.
An entire generation has grown up in an atmosphere of ethnic conflicts
and there is no solution in sight. Many thousands of people live
outside their native countries - people who have been expelled from
their homes, people who hate and are ready to kill other people,
people without future and children without childhood."