CHECHNYA

Blood And Belonging

September 2000 – 18’


GRINNING MAN FIRES MACHINE GUN IN AIR

NATSOT


GUESTS DANCING OUTSIDE HOUSE


VO It’s the middle of a war and we’ve been asked to a wedding.


BRIDE IN WEDDING DRESS WALKS INTO HOUSE PAST DANCING GUESTS


The guests, like the bride, are refugees.


They came here to Ingushetia, on the border of Chechnya, to escape months of Russian attacks.


INSIDE HOUSE – MAN PASSES GUN ACROSS BANQUET TABLE

Today, they’ve spent the little the money they had on a banquet.


The war may have destroyed their homes … but it hasn’t broken their spirits.


WOMAN WITH BRIDE GRAB - “There’s a war going on, but life goes on. We are happy that although some people are fighting, we are having a wedding, that we are living.” Zhivyot


MIX TO WEDDING GUESTS DANCING FRENETICALLY


VO Of all the people colonised by Russia, none are quite like the Chechens.


They rebelled against the Tsars, the Soviet Union and post-Communist Russia.


MUKHAMED GRAB (zastavit) The Chechens are very easy to provoke. Offend them, and they will fight immediately. Psychologists and ethnographers know this as do politicians, so it’s very easy to get them started in a war.” Voinye


MUKHAMED DANCING

VO Mukhamed Makhamedov is a Chechen human rights activist.


MUKHAMED THOUGHT-TRACK AS HE DANCES

Eta gortsi…’They are mountain people and the mountains mould people’s characters. They are tough, as this is what their environment demands of them.’ okrushayeshem

ochen legko – It’s very easy to use the mentality of these people – explosive, open, easily-provoked, kind-hearted, generous. From anger to love for these people is just one step.


NATSOT WEDDING GUEST FIRES PISTOL INTO RUG


TANK CROSSING BORDER

VO Last September, Russia invaded Chechnya in what it called a campaign against terrorism.


Hundreds of thousands fled.


OLD GUY IN FUR HAT

‘They came with their planes, murdering people. So we all fled. When I was fighting in Germany it was nothing like this. We never shot civilians. We never harmed them. And now look at this. Even Stalin never did anything like this.’


ASLAN AT BORDER

(v dorogi yedit avtobus) “Buses are hit by rockets as they are driving. They fire their rockets and kill everybody. Why? What for? If a man is guilty, kill him. But why harm the innocents? Why attack the children? What are the women guilty of? Or me, I’m 80 years old. What have I done?” (vinovat)


REFUGEES DRIVING THROUGH CHECKPOINT

VO Refugees trying to return have to bribe their way through ten Russian checkpoints.


ASLAN POINTS TO VODKA

Aslan has no money but hopes a bottle of vodka hidden in his jacket can buy his way through.


It’s his only hope of finding his grandchildren.


ASLAN CRYING

(mnye zhalka) “I’m so sad. I have to get the children. I have to bring my little ones over.” (nada zabrat)


SOLDIERS AT BORDER CLOSING BARRIER


Russia denies targeting civilians.


But it refuses to allow foreign journalists into Chechnya unless they’re escorted by the military.


DRIVING

Mukhamed smuggled us through Russian checkpoints to show us what was really happening.


MUKHAMED GRAB WHILE DRIVING – eta vorota v gori “This is the gateway to the mountains. It’s the last village before the Chechnya-Ingush border.” Ingushetii


VIKTOR IN BACK SEAT


He has been collecting evidence of atrocities with his friend, a Russian religious scholar, Viktor Popkov.


MUKHAMED GRAB IN CAR

on luche znaet “He knows the bible well, and I’m trying to get to know the Koran better. When we discuss passages, we often see that the message is the same in both books. It’s just worded differently.” raznami slovami


MIX TO SHOT OF MUKHAMED PUTTING STONE UNDER CAR WHEEL.


NATSOT GUNFIRE


Even on the border of Chechnya, it is dangerous work.


NATSOT (IN RUSSIAN) AS THEY WALK UP TO THE SHEPHERD’S HUT.


SHEPHERD “Bandits!”

MUKHAMED - He’s joking.

SHEPHERD - ‘Look, Russian troops.’

MUKHAMED “He’s calling them bandits. They shoot at us, after all.’ poetomu on govorit) “So that’s why he said, if they see you, they’ll shoot you. Don’t worry, I’m only joking. (esli mi v les) But if we go into the woods, then they shoot us. It’s full of snipers.”

KIM “OK, we won’t go into the woods then.” (v les ni idyom)


WALK UP STEPS INTO HOUSE


VO Salambek is a shepherd who discovered a massacre.


AT TABLE – SHOWING PHOTOS – VICTOR FILMING


SHEPHERD (ludi paubivali) “They’ve murdered the shepherds, killed people. They cut off their ears, pulled out their teeth, gouged out their eyes.

VIKTOR – When was this?

SALAMBEK – Not long ago, on the seventh. (sedmovo) They came and killed everybody. Look, a body. (SHOWING PHOTOS) – I don’t know this man, but he was lying there murdered. I buried him there, in Al-Khoroi. (ya yevo zakopal) See he has no eyes, no ears. I didn’t know him, so I left him there. The rest I took back to back to bury in the village. (pokhoronili ikh)


Viktor and Mukhamed hope to show the information they collect to Russian and international authorities.


MUKHAMED – (vot documentarlnoy This is documentary evidence – these photos- see the destroyed tractor, the murdered cattle (skotina lezhit) (VICTOR CLIMBS ON CHAIR WITH CAMERA)


MUKHAMED – (esli u nevo) If this man doesn’t have a tractor, if he has no cattle, then he has no means of survival – and it is easy to control someone when they are hungry. (kogda on golodni) (kogda u nevo nichevo) - When they are completely starving, the Russians will bring them humanitarian aid. Then, out of hunger, they will say, ‘yes, give me half a kilo of wheat and some olive oil, and I will agree to be a submit to Russia. Their stomachs will dictate…(zheluduk diktuet)


SALAMBEK – (SHOUTING) - If one of my sons agrees to stand under the Russian flag while I’m alive, then I will kill him myself.’ ( ya sam ubyu)


SALAMBEK – ( pust vsye znaet) Let everyone know, even if they kill all of us, then we will not be under the Russian Government.”


VO Viktor believes that’s exactly what the Russian Government wants.


VIKTOR GRAB – If judged by the definitions supplied by international conventions, this policy must be defined as racist and genocidal.’


MOSQUE


Older Chechens still remember how Stalin tried to wipe them out.


In 1944 he deported the entire population to Central Asia fearing they would side with Nazi Germany.


MILITIAS IN HALL

The Chechens won de facto independence in 1996 after a war with Russia that claimed up to 80,000 lives.


But the war lords refused to serve a central Government.


The republic soon descended into lawless chaos.


MUKHAMED GRAB

(Rossiya zhostki podchineniye) ‘Russia has a strong sense of hierarchy. The boss is always right – you are a fool. We Chechens have never accepted this. This internal resistance and disrespect for authority began with Tsarina Yekaterina and Peter the Great, and continues even under President Maskhadov.’ (Maskhadova)

(Vot eti conflicti) – This conflict has always stood in our way. Our people aren’t made of plasticine, for the government to mould at will. We are people of free will…25.16 (sam virazhaet svoi vol)


REFFOS AT BORDER

Today, the instability has spread across the border into Ingushetia.


The Ingush are the ethnic cousins of the Chechens but chose not to split from Russia.


Kidnappings are so common here that foreigners are required to have armed guards.


POV THROUGH WINDSCREEN OF HELICOPTER FLYING OVERHEAD


KIM AND ADAM SITTING IN CAR

We were assigned a young soldier named Adam.


NATSOT IN CAR

KIM “So why does everybody here know how to shoot?

ADAM “It’s a tradition of the mountain people. The mountain people of the Caucasus always have guns and knives. We’ve been brought up like this.”


POV FROM CAR PASSING ARMY TRUCKS


REFUGEE CAMP – A GROUP OF BOYS HOLD A KALASHNIKOV (T7 – 14.28 onwards)


The children now learning to fire guns may grow up to use them against Russians.


In the refugee camps, new stories of atrocities are being passed on to a generation that has known nothing but war.


Mausa is 13.


MAUSA (Holding gun) – “The Russians think that I’m a terrorist and bandit.”

KIM: “The Russians say that you are?

MAUSA “Yes, but it’s the Russians who are the terrorists and bandits. All of them”


KIDS GOING INTO TENT – KHEDA TALKING TO KIDS


Every day, Mausa and his friends visit a child psychiatrist, Kheda.


She also came here as a refugee.


PAN FROM PLASTICINE FIGURES TO KHEDA SPEAKING

“The kids know all the types of weapons. They even explain to me what they are. Stingers, tanks, grenades launchers, bullets…how they shoot, what bullets they use, how they kill.”


KIM - why are you making a plane? BOY - Because besides planes, I haven’t seen anything else. Russia is bombing us.


MAUSA MAKING A TOWER


KIM – What are you making?

BOY – A tower.

KIM – Why a tower?

BOY – Because it’s a Chechen tower. It’s where my ancestors lived. (moi predki)


NATSOT OF NEWS REPORT: – COMMENTATOR – ‘The Chechen refugees, whose numbers now exceed 100,000, said that the Russian army is making itself more enemies’ MAN - “Those kids that are now 8 or 10 years old are left with no choice but to become rebel fighters.”…


VO Sixteen hundred kilometres away in Moscow, Timur and his friends are anxiously following the events in Chechnya.


UPSOT FROM TV– WOMAN - 'I can’t believe that they are doing such things.’


TIMUR PLAYING BILIARDS

Twenty-five-year-old Timur joined the Chechen diaspora two years ago after his family's home was destroyed in Chechnya.


Unable to find a job, he supports himself playing pool for money.


TIMUR THOUGHT TRACK - u menya v passporte “In my passport it says that I am a Chechen. So I can’t go to a university…A year ago I tried to become a student but no university would take me. They’ll take me if I bribe them, but not otherwise. Vzyatku dam …I can’t study, I can’t work.” Ni rabotat … –Damn it, I can’t even walk with a girl on the street…


SYNCH GRAB chestno slovo “To be honest, I don’t even want to marry. I don’t want to have son who will suffer here in Russia. V Russi …ya khochu - I want my son to be born somewhere else. Here, he’ll just be another tortured soul.” muchenik


WALKING IN RED SQUARE


Alexei Saraikin is also 25 and struggling to survive in Moscow.


But like many Russians, he sees Chechens as the enemy.


Alexei was drafted in 1994 as the last Chechen war was beginning.


PHOTO OF ALEXEI

35 soldiers in his unit were killed in a single day.


WALKING WITH ALEXEI


TM1 – ALEXEI – eta pamyatnik

‘This is the memorial to the Unknown Soldier – to those who were killed in World War Two.

KIM – Does it have any special significance to you? (change shot to looking at flame

ALEXEI – It used to. My grandfather was killed in the war.. (naverno imeet)


ALEXEI – nyet pamatnik - There is no memorial to the soldiers killed in Afghanistan, and there is no memorial to the soldiers killed in Chechnya. (v Chechnye)


BOXING WITH HIS MATE


NATSOT PUNCHING


He and his friend, also named Alexei, met on their first day of army service.


They have been best friends ever since.


Their experiences left them with little sympathy for the plight of Chechens.


IN ALEXEI’S FLAT


ALEXEI IN FOREGROUND - mwi razgovarivalis “ We talked to ordinary Russian people, refugees. One guy said ‘I lived in Grozny may whole life, and one day, a neighbour who I’d know for 40 years, came to me and ordered me to go back to Russia.” Na svoyu russiyu

ALEXEI’S FRIEND – skolko sluchi bili “When this campaign started, the Chechens just picked up machine guns and started killing Russians. ALEXEI IN F/G – They killed many people. ALEXEI ON BED – It didn’t matter who they were. ALEXEI IN F/G – As long as they were Russian. (I vsyo) ON BED - A man, his wife and two children. (dvoi deti) Killed in their own home. … kak - How are we supposed to think of them? They aren’t people, they’re animals.” Eti zveri

When they crossed the border into Dagestan they caught some of our unarmed soldiers and beheaded them in the city square. They’re not human.” (ni chelovechno)


BOMBINGS


Last September, a series of apartment bombings in Moscow and other cities killed more than 300 people.


Although noone claimed responsibility, the Government blamed the Chechens.


20,000 ethnic Chechens were detained in Moscow alone.


Timur was one of them.


TIMUR - mnye bili dnyom “They beat me day and night. They did everything to me that they could possibly think of. odin raz - One time they handcuffed me and hung me from hooks. Veshalki Only my big toes could touch the floor. The tips of my toes in fact. I was covered in bruises.” menya siniki bili


POLICE CHECKING DOCUMENTS

Moscow's police and Special Forces vigorously patrol the city, demanding documents from anyone with dark features.


They can fine, jail or expel anyone without proper registration.


WALKING WITH MUKHAMED INTO APARTMENT -


Mukhamed has smuggled many of his relatives away from the war zone to his brother's flat in Moscow.


But their ordeal is far from over.


WALKING IN TO FLAT

MUKHAMED - Come in and I’ll introduce you to all my relatives. This is the only son of my sister. His father was killed in the last war together with Dzhokhar Dudaev. eta nash gost This is our guest. Her mother isn’t here, but her three youngest children are with us. We don't know where their father is.


WALKING INTO KITCHEN


MUKHAMED – “This is my sister…

KIM - Your sister?

MUKHAMED - ‘My brother’s wife. He’s an officer.”


VO Without registration, they are virtually prisoners.


MUKHAMED - So we all have our little problems. Sometimes we dance, sometimes we make merry, but for the most part we are under ‘house arrest’ in this flat. We ‘re unregistered here so the police can arrest us at any moment. The adults can’t really go out.


KIM– Q – Who can’t go out of the flat?


TO WOMAN - M – She can’t go out, she doesn’t have a registration card, and that’s it.


WOMAN – well I can go out just around here, just to the local shop, but that’s all. But to go on a trolleybus or on the Metro, I’m too afraid of course…


KIM Q – How many months have you been here?

WOMAN - I’ve been here for three months already.

KIM - three months already?

WOMAN - Yes, three - when the war began.

KIM – And for three months you haven’t been able to leave the flat?

WOMAN -That’s right.


CUTAWAYS – KIDS


VO Mukhamed’s twelve-year-old nephew, Yusup lost both parents during Russian attacks.


BOY 2S – SEATED ON COUCH –

I told my uncle that Ilike living in Chechnya, because there are Chechens there, and its my motherland.

KIM – What’s do bad about Moscow?

BOY – They’re all Russians here in Moscow and I don’t like it.

KIM – Why?

BOY – I don’t know, I was born in Chechnya, I want to live there…

KIM – but what makes it so difficult to live here?

BOY – All my relatives and friends are over there.

MUKHAMED Kim, don’t talk about this or he will start to cry…


MUKHAMED - It is a problem of stress. Stress that is difficult for an adult to cope with, let alone a child. He watches TV. He sees what is going on at home. Imagine how hard this is for an adult, and he is only a child…


CU BOY’S FACE – TRYING NOT TO CRY


MUKHAMED – eta problem This problem is resolvable. The most important thing is that we are alive, that we have our bidy and soul, and then everything will be all right…PAN TO BOY


(MOODY MUSIC)


MOUNTAINS

VO Russia has now claimed victory over the rebels.


It has driven them into the mountains where it will try to destroy them in a guerilla war.


RUSSIAN SOLDIERS IN CHECHEN TOWN

Civilians are returning to ruined towns and military occupation.


REFUGEE CHILDREN

But all that has happened these past months will be remembered, as it always is.


Catastrophic war may come again, as it always has.


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