Cover image for A small corner of hell : dispatches from Chechnya
Title:
A small corner of hell : dispatches from Chechnya
Author:
Politkovskai͡a, Anna.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Vtorai͡a chechenskai͡a. English
Publication Information:
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
vi, 224 pages : map ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Personal Subject:
Electronic Access:
Table of contents http://www.loc.gov/catdir/toc/ecip043/2003010001.html
ISBN:
9780226674322
Format :
Book

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DK511.C37 P654 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

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.   "The murder of the journalist Anna Politkovskaya leaves a terrible silence in Russia and an information void about a dark realm that we need to know more about. No one else reported as she did on the Russian north Caucasus and the abuse of human rights there. Her reports made for difficult reading--and Politkovskaya only got where she did by being one of life's difficult people."--Thomas de Waal, Guardian


Author Notes

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 Women's Media Foundation, and the Prize for Journalism and Democracy from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.


Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

These books provide excellent eyewitness accounts of a war fought in a place described as "the most dangerous place on earth." As journalistic accounts, they demonstrate their authors' consistent bravery and unswerving commitment to revealing as much truth as possible about a war whose breathtaking brutality is suspected but not well known. The threat of sudden death routinely confronts those who would report on the war. Although the two books differ fundamentally in treatment, they share a sympathy for people caught between the ruthless violence of Russian forces and the grim independence struggle of the Chechen "militants." Politkovskaya, a special correspondent for Novaya gazeta in Moscow, describes the conflict in a series of vignettes that move from the devastated lives of innocent villagers, through the brutality inflicted by rogue police on Chechen students in Moscow, and finally to a dramatic revelation indicating collusion between Russian armed forces and Chechen criminals. She also asserts that the "office-loving" Kofi Annan has avoided challenging Russia about Chechnya in exchange for renewed support of his mandate as UN secretary general. While Politkovskaya offers a general overview of the war, Goltz offers an equally dramatic narrative of a journalist seeking film footage demonstrating the "Chechen spirit." Readers may recall Goltz's excellent account of oil intrigue in Azerbaijan Diary; again, his persistence has given us a precise image of how Chechen irregulars brought a greatly superior fighting force to stalemate. The massive violence of Russian forces against hapless civilians in the city of Samashki confirms the worst violence reported by Politkovskaya. Goltz's personal experience is especially valuable for students of journalism who would report on the world's many local and ferocious wars. Clearly, both books deserve inclusion in all libraries, and if their account of the sheer destruction in Chechnya did not warrant their acquisition, their unrivaled detail and immediacy certainly would.-Zachary T. Irwin, Sch. of Humanities & Social Science, Pennsylvania State Univ., Erie (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.