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Russia in the grip of its demons, by Mikhail Chevelev

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From his kitchen, Pavel Volodin hears the choppy sounds of the television set: a special flash from the 8 p.m. newspaper announces a hostage-taking in a church in the Moscow region. While Pavel still pays little attention to it, the presenter pronounces his name and that of a former colleague, requested on the spot to act as mediators. When he finally approaches the screen, amazed, Pavel recognizes the face of the hostage taker: Vadim, met twenty years earlier, in 1996, in the middle of the Chechen war.

So postpone for The Moscow Courier, Pavel had helped Vadim, prisoner of war, to escape. They had returned to Russia together and a sincere friendship had formed between the journalist and this discreet as well as helpful man – a good guy, in short, tossed about by life, who rarely smiled on luck. Time then did its work of undermining, the two men lost sight of each other.

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