Vladislav Tamarov Quotes.

11. "He was holding his right leg, but the blood soaked through his fingers and flowed over his hand onto his sleeve. Intuition had served me again this time: my kick had knocked his automatic out of his grasp a fraction of a second before he could press the trigger. The second kick was to his face. It sent him flying about six feet. I set my sights on his head, but something stopped me, one of our guys let out a yelp behind me. Another bullet whistled by right next to me. Apparently, this Mujahadeen was not the only one here. Again, I aimed at his head, but something again stopped me. I saw how his hands were trembling. I noticed the horror in his eyes. 'He is only a boy!' I thought and pressed the trigger."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

12. "In forty minutes, people will be shooting at these 19 year old boys. And they will shoot back, and they will kill. That is the law of war: if you don’t kill first, they’ll kill you. We didn’t invent this law. But having landed in a war, we have to live by its rules. And the quicker you learn the rules, the longer you have to live by them. You don’t think about whether you are defending someone’s revolution or defending the ‘southern borders of the motherland’. You simply shoot at those who are shooting at you and at your friend behind you – you shoot at the guys whose mines blew away your friend yesterday."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

13. "By 1989, the total number of Vietnam veterans who had died in violent accidents or by suicide after the war exceeded the total number of American soldiers who died during the war."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

14. "I am asked if I think the war was a just war ... how can I answer? I was a boy born and raised in beautiful Leningrad, a boy who loved his parents and went obediently to school. A boy who was yanked out of that life and dumped in a strange land where life followed different rules."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

15. "The photos I took in Afghanistan are lying in front of me. I peer into the faces of those who were with me there and who are so far away from me now, into the faces of those who were dying right next to me and those who were hiding behind my back. I can make these photos larger or smaller, darker or lighter. But what I can't do is bring back those who are gone forever."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

16. "When I was drafted into the army in April 1984, I was a nineteen-year-old boy. The club where they took us was a distribution centre. Officers came there from various military units and picked out the soldiers they wanted. My fate was decided in one minute. A young officer came up to me and asked, Do you want to serve in the commandos, the Blue Berets? Of course I agreed. Two hours later I was on a plane to Uzbekistan (a Soviet republic in Central Asia), where our training base was located. During the flight, I learned most of the soldiers from this base were sent to Afghanistan. I wasn’t scared. I wasn’t surprised. At that point I didn’t care anymore because I understood that it is impossible to change anything. ‘To serve in the Soviet army is the honourable duty of Soviet citizens – as it’s written in our Constitution. And no one gives a damn whether you want to fulfil this honourable duty or not. But then I didn’t know anything about Afghanistan. Up until 1985, in the press and on television, they told us that Soviet soldiers in Afghanistan were planting trees and building schools and hospitals. And only a few knew that more and more cemeteries were being filled with the graves of eighteen- to twenty-year-old boys. Without the dates of their death, without inscriptions. Only their names on black stone … At the base we were trained and taught to shoot. We were told that we were being sent to Afghanistan not to plant trees. And as to building schools, we simply wouldn’t have the time … Three and a half months later, my plane was landing in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan … We were taken to a club on base. A few minutes later, officers started to come by and choose soldiers. Suddenly, an officer with a smiling face and sad eyes burst in noisily. He looked us over with an appraising glance and pointed his finger at me: Ah ha! I see a minesweeper! That’s how I became a minesweeper. Ten days later, I went on my first combat mission."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

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