Andrei Ozerovski : Reception at the sovkhoz after release

 

 

We were very poorly received at the sovkhoz. There were the young komsomols sent out to open up the virgin lands. They avoided us like the plague. One of our lot found a wallet on a path. It contained papers: a komsomol membership card, a travel voucher and 180 roubles. He was a shy fellow, but I went directly to the club where the young people were dancing, watching films. They looked at us suspiciously. I looked at the papers, there was the komsomol boy’s photo on his card. I recognised him. “Are you Sebriuk?” “Yes, why?” The poor lad was frightened. “You’re pretty careless, you don’t look after your belongings. Are these your papers? – Oh, thank you, uncle, but please keep the money. – I’m not penniless. Why would I need your money? Keep it, you’ll make better use of it and don’t lose it again. – Uncle, come and see us from time to time.”

There were two Chechen girls. “Hey, girls, aren’t you afraid of us? – No, why should we be? – Because everyone here in the sovkhoz is afraid of us, they all think we’re wild animals. – They’re the ones who are wild animals. We know you’re human beings.” That’s what the Chechen girls were like! So they began to look at us differently. They realised.

 

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Andrei Ozerovski in Karaganda, 17 September 2009
© CERCEC et RFI


All available extracts:

  1. Poor reception at the kolkhoz
  2. The Chechen girls