The town of Rostov on Don (in Russia) has already become a "Calvary for Russian warriors-patriots." Tragic grimaces, horrible reflections of war in Chechnya will resonate in peoples' unconscious for years to come. Most importantly, it will serve as a reminder to us all that a human destiny is just a mere grain and a human life is absolutely worthless.
While things have not returned to normal in Rostov after Budanov's trial, another case of major importance arose regarding special service soldiers from the main department of investigation of the Russian Federation. They are accused in an unlawful execution and bombing of an automobile with several Chechens in it. The soldiers claim that the car did not stop on their command and they had to shoot down potential threat.
It has been claimed that this is a case of a typical "manslaughter" where "Chechens were at guilt." Several major gangs have been spotted in Shatiosk region in Russia in the beginning of the year. Special unit soldiers therefore were ordered to bloc those bandits in the mountains. On January 11, 2002 a new squadron has been formed. It consisted of the following people: captain Eduard Ulman, lieutenant Alexander Kalagarski and ensign Vladimir Voevodin. Their main assignment was to bloc one of the roads. Another aspect of the assignment included car inspection. In case a driver refused to stop and have his car inspected, soldiers were entitled to open fire and shoot at the wheels. They even had a right to kill, in case of resistance. A car packed with six people had been spotted at 3:20PM by Russian soldiers.
According to Eduard Ulman, commander of the squadron, the driver did not attempt to stop. Instead, he sped up and tried to hit one of the soldiers. In the course of the trial Ulman stated that he had noticed someone opening the car door in an attempt to shoot. The captain ordered to open fire. "It was a purely professional instinct," claims the defendant. When examining the car, soldiers discovered 6 dead bodies; 5 males and 1 female. Only two had some documents on them. The squadron remained in the region for several more days. Several days later, Ulman along with Kalagarski, Voevodin and their soldiers have all been arrested. Soldiers however have been released.
State's attorney Abdula Hamzaev has pointed out several interesting facts during preliminary hearing. He stated that as it turned out, those Chechens were in fact a director of local school, a school's manager, a peasant, a female invalid of second degree and a farmer traveling from Shatoi to Dai. Apparently, they had attended a conference in Shatoi.
The attorney accuses all of the defendants in their incompetence and presented a more brutal version of what had really happened in his opinion. Hamzaev suggested that several of those civilians have been injured but not killed. However, no attempts have been made to save their lives. On the contrary, commanders watched them die.
It is difficult to judge either side at this point. Everyone awaits final verdict. After all, it is a judge who has the last say.
A war, any war—is a dirty business, causing nothing else but death. There are no winners. In the end, all parties suffer. It will be incorrect to blame a soldier for having to decide between an order and an instinct for survival. Who is to blame for sending these youngsters to die? Who is to blame for their damaged conscious? The answer remains unclear.
Everyone keeps track of the amount of innocent people killed during the war. However, the fact that twice as many soldiers die on the battlefield is considered to be unimportant.