Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story Quotes.

1. "We didn’t believe in tomorrow. We we couldn’t forget what had happened yesterday."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

2. "I saw houses burned by the Mujahadeen, as well as disfigured bodies of prisoners they’d taken. But I saw other things too: villages destroyed by our shelling and bodies of women, killed by mistake. When you shoot at every rustling in the bushes, there’s no time to think about who’s there. But for an Afghan, it didn’t matter if his wife had been killed intentionally or accidentally. He went into the mountains to see revenge."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

3. "When you live next to death ... you don't think about it anymore, you just try to encounter it as seldom as possible."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

4. "On August 10, 1984, my plane landed in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. There were no skyscrapers here. The blue domes of the mosques and the faded mountains were the only things rising above the adobe duvals (the houses). The mosques came alive in the evening with multivoiced wailing: the mullahs were calling the faithful to evening prayer. It was such an unusual spectacle that, in the beginning, I used to leave the barracks to listen – the same way that, in Russia, on spring nights, people go outside to listen to the nightingales sing. For me, a nineteen-year-old boy who had lived his whole life in Leningrad, everything about Kabul was exotic: enormous skies – uncommonly starry – occasionally punctured by the blazing lines of tracers. And spread out before you, the mysterious Asian capital where strange people were bustling about like ants on an anthill: bearded men, faces darkend by the sun, in solid-colored wide cotton trousers and long shirts. Their modern jackets, worn over those outfits, looked completely unnatural. And women, hidden under plain dull garments that covered them from head to toe: only their hands visible, holding bulging shopping bags, and their feet, in worn-out shoes or sneakers, sticking out from under the hems. And somewhere between this odd city and the deep black southern sky, the wailing, beautifully incomprehensible songs of the mullahs. The sounds didn't contradict each other, but rather, in a polyphonic echo, melted away among the narrow streets. The only thing missing was Scheherazade with her tales of A Thousand and One Arabian Nights ... A few days later I saw my first missile attack on Kabul. This country was at war."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

5. "Someone once said that a minesweeper makes only two mistakes: the first is when he decides to be one. The second …"
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

6. "There's nothing I can do to erase the shadow of misery and despair from the eyes looking back at me from the photos [that I took in Afghanistan]."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

7. "[On one of his comrades depicted in the book:] "Sasha was my friend … Like me, he was 19. But he didn't come home. He was killed 12 hours after this photo was taken."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

8. "When I came home, I was asked to put my pictures in a photo exhibit at the Cinematography College ... my pictures won first prize. I began to ask myself what I was doing, and why. A few months after the exhibit, I dropped out of college, left my wife and began to write this book."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

9. "We stayed here for only a few hours. We rested and went on. But the camera snatched this fraction of a second from the eternal flow of time and froze it forever. At this moment we didn’t know that in a few hours we would fall into an ambush. At this moment, while we were filling our canteens from the stream, we didn’t yet know that we would stay in the mountains for three days without a drop of water. We didn’t yet know anything …"
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

10. "Once, back home, I decided to count how many days out of my twenty months in Afghanistan I’d been on combat missions. 217 days. And I’m still paying the price for every one of those days."
- Vladislav Tamarov, Afghanistan: A Russian Soldier's Story

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