Our readers know PRAVDA.Ru's attitude towards the war and further occupation of Iraq. We have always condemned this unjust campaign, and will do so. Our point of view may be shared or not, but we have a right to speak it out and try to bring it through to as many people as possible.
The topic of this article is about society's attitude to war, precisely: to the memory of soldiers died at wars. One can condemn or support politicians, but what shall be our attitude to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives serving orders of the high commandment? Even if those orders are criticized by majority of "civilians"? Should non-acceptance of politics or even hatred be transferred onto the soldiers?
Back to Iraq, it is to be reminded that American commandment reports 422 American Army soldiers dead during the campaign. There is a website Militarycity.com, where on a special page EVERY ONE American soldier dead in Iraq is listed. Many with photos, short bio and information on operations or events in which they were killed. This page was created under sponsorship of National Guard Recruiting center, so with Government's support.
Now let's turn to Russia. Our army has for a few years fought a war in Chechnya. Government claims that active military operations are over. However, reports about soldiers and militia officers killed appear time after time.
What do we know about these people? Absolutely nothing. All we know is that "as a result of explosion two soldiers were killed", that "three OMON soldiers died as a result of special forces operation" and so on. These people pass as faceless shadows. But they had lived, lived with a purpose, loved someone and dreamt of something… And in the end the most they deserved is several salute shots in the air.
Of course, their families and comrades remember them. People at power sometimes recall them too – at the holidays or before elections. But in Russian Internet there is no website like Militarycity.com.
It is possible that such webpage is impossible in Russia at all. And the reason is not that much many more Russian soldiers died in Chechnya than Americans in Iraq (the war has been going for many years, after all). And not that data can not be collected because most of the killed were buried unrecognized. Most probably there are people who would want to do this job. But will the State support them? In particular, the military office, Ministry of Internal Affairs and other force structures, whose employees died in Chechnya? I would be glad to mistake, but something tells me that this help is not to wait for…
[photo by Paul Morse]