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Yevgeny Rodionov - 20 Years Ago In Chechnya

Discussion in 'War on Terror' started by diman, May 23, 2016.


  1. diman Russian Federation

    diman Mi Lieutenant MI.Net Member

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    Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Rodionov (Russian: Евгений Александрович Родионов; 23 May 1977 – 23 May 1996) was a Russian soldier who was taken prisoner and later murdered in Chechen captivity for his refusal to convert to Islam and defect to the enemy side. The circumstances of his death have garnered him much admiration throughout Russia. Despite widespread popular veneration he has not been glorified by the Russian Orthodox Church as a New Martyr due to lack of evidence about his death.

    yevgeny-rodionov 002.jpg

    Career and capture
    Rodionov was born in the village of Chibirley, Penza Oblast. Though he aspired to be a cook, he was conscripted into the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in 1995. Private Rodionov was deployed to Chechnya, where he served in the Russian army's border troops. On 13 February 1996, he went to mount guard over the road accompanied by privates Andrey Trusov, Igor Yakovlev and Alexander Zheleznov. During the watch they stopped an ambulance, in which brigade general of “Chechen Republic of Ichkeria” Ruslan Khaikhoroev and a dozen rebel enforcers were transporting weapons. During their attempt to examine the ambulance, the young soldiers were overpowered and taken prisoners. After the soldiers were discovered to be missing, they were initially announced as deserters. Military police came home to Yevgeny Rodionov’s mother to search for her missing son. Only later, after detailed survey of the checkpoint the soldiers had been manning, and detection of traces of blood and fighting, the military recognized that the missing soldiers had been taken prisoner. On his 19th birthday, Rodionov was beheaded on the outskirts of the Chechen village Bamut. According to his killers, who later extorted money from his mother in exchange for knowledge of the location of his corpse, they beheaded him after he refused to renounce his Christian faith or remove the silver cross he wore around his neck. Ruslan Khaikhoroev later admitted the murder. In the presence of foreign representatives of OSCE he confessed: "Your [Yevgeny's mother] son had a choice to stay alive. He could have converted to Islam, but he did not agree to take the cross off. He tried to escape". On 23 May, after 100 days of imprisonment and torture, Rodionov was again ordered to remove the cross he was wearing and accept Islam. After his final refusal, Rodionov was beheaded while still alive. Andrey Trusov shared his fate, while Igor Yakovlev and Alexander Zheleznov were shot dead.

    yevgeny-rodionov 001.jpg
     
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  2. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

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    Where was the evidence of this obtained from?
    Dont get me wrong it is a moving story and I want it to be true, it moved me deeply.
     
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  3. diman Russian Federation

    diman Mi Lieutenant MI.Net Member

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    http://www.independent.co.uk



    How a young conscript became a Russian saint
    When Yevgeny Rodionov was beheaded by Chechen rebels, he was hailed as a contemporary Russian martyr. Andrew Osborn reports
    Wednesday 24 November 2004


    At a starkly beautiful hilltop cemetery engulfed in a thick winter snowstorm, pilgrims pray to Russia's most unlikely latter-day saint: a young conscript brutally killed in Chechnya eight years ago. Yevgeny Rodionov was 19 when he was beheaded by Chechen rebels. In life, he was an ordinary boy from an unremarkable provincial town who liked to strum on the guitar, compose poetry and dreamt of becoming a cook. But in death, Yevgeny Rodionov is anything but ordinary.

    To thousands of Russian Orthodox churchgoers, the border guard is already known as Saint Yevgeny and a vigorous campaign to canonise him is in full swing. Unwilling to wait while the Church considers his credentials, icons bearing the martyr soldier's likeness are being venerated across Russia, and thousands of pilgrims have begun making long, arduous treks to places associated with his life.

    For his admirers, many of them committed Christians, war veterans and Russian nationalists, Yevgeny is a devout symbol of patriotism who, thousands believe, will instil pride in the younger generation and give millions of downtrodden Russians something they lack so sorely: hope.

    For them Yevgeny, or Zhenya as he is affectionately known, was a modern Christian crusader who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country in the face of Russia's number one enemy of the moment: radical Islam, as personified by Chechnya's most ruthless separatist rebels.

    Yevgeny was murdered by Chechen rebels on 23 May, 1996, during Russia's first Chechen war. It was his 19th birthday and he had been held captive with three other Russian border guards in a damp cellar for 100 days of torture, beatings and starvation. He was not a combatant, and had been kidnapped with his comrades by one of Chechnya's most feared rebel field commanders as they manned a remote border post on the Chechen border.

    Thousands of Russians have died at the hands of Chechen fighters since 1994 when Moscow first sent in the tanks to crush the region's thirst for independence, but Yevgeny's death was different. His mother, Lyubov Vassilyevna Rodionova, says Yevgeny was given a chance to live if he converted to Islam and took up arms against Russian federal forces. Symbolically, she says all he had to do was to take off a small silver cross he had worn around his neck since the age of 11 and embrace the faith of his tormentors. Yevgeny refused and chose death instead.

    Now the cross, its chain still stained red with his blood, has become a religious relic routinely smothered in tiny kisses by devout pilgrims at his mother's modest home in the town of Kurilovo, west of Moscow.

    Forty pilgrims, some of whom had travelled more than 600 miles and deprived themselves of sleep to be there, gathered at Yevgeny's grave last Saturday to mark the eighth anniversary of the repatriation of his decapitated corpse to Kurilovo. Apparently oblivious to an air temperature of minus 10C, men with icicled beards clutched icons of the young man as they traipsed around the cemetery.

    One man, who said he was a priest from the region where Yevgeny was born, held an enormous icon aloft. In it, Yevgeny's boyish features were framed by a golden halo, his border guard's uniform peeked out from a medieval-looking cloak and he clutched a Russian Orthodox crucifix. As the icy snowflakes and chill wind lashed, the pilgrims sang hymns, chanted prayers, crossed themselves, exchanged stories about his life and reminded themselves why Yevgeny should be canonised.

    "He is from our region near the town of Kuznetsk and we have travelled all night to be here,"said a woman named Galina, in front of his austere grave. "We have hung a memorial board in his honour and teachers in our schools tell the children about his life. He deserves to become a saint." Another elderly woman, Valentina, said: "He could have lived had he renounced his faith but he didn't crack under pressure and he wouldn't take off his silver cross."

    A dozen cadets training to be border guards at a nearby military academy tumbled out of a decrepit bus to pay their respects. Dressed in traditional Russian greatcoats and shapkas (fur hats), the young men stood holding different icons as the blizzard raged around them. "He is an example for us," said a serious-looking cadet called Artyom Pavlov. "An example of bravery and faith. He didn't know what he was fighting for but he went along anyway. He was a team player. There's so much respect for him; he refused to betray Russia and fought for the Motherland. He's a real hero.

    "We need heroes right now. Russia needs more soldiers like him; soldiers who aren't afraid to die for the Motherland." As the pilgrims delivered eulogy after eulogy, the beautiful, whitewashed stone church behind them, a church razed by Napoleon's Grande Armée in 1812, appeared to glimmer in the morning murk.

    Yevgeny's followers say his images are responsible for minor miracles. The icons weep myrrh, it is claimed, "enemies forget their differences" in front of them and an intercessional prayer offered up to Saint Yevgeny can mean the difference between earthly joy and sorrow.

    Lyubov Rodionova, 52, brewing tea in her kitchen nearby, does not look like the mother of a saint but that is how she is perceived. "I am a person without a future, a past or a present," she says, her greyish face drawn with fatigue and emotion. "I am no longer known by my own name but merely as 'Yevgeny's mum'. I exist for that purpose alone and it is a great honour." There is no room in her life for anything else. Her kitchen is dominated by a gigantic poster of Yevgeny and an icon bearing his likeness. As she talks of her son, the doorbell rings twice in an hour, fresh pilgrims each. On one occasion, three men nervously tiptoe into her kitchen. They ask for a booklet written in Yevgeny's honour, kiss the silver cross which he refused to yield, give his mother a small statue of Saint Seraphim and visually suck in the surroundings like men who have not eaten for days.

    "This is the cross he gave his life for," Lyubov tells them, her eyes welling. "They cut his head off but the cross remained in place [on what was left of his neck]." "This is Zhenya's dog," she adds, pointing to a small, poodle-like creature racing about the kitchen. The three men who have driven 200 miles soon dash off to visit the cemetery of Satino Russkoe where Yevgeny is buried, their faces stamped with a peculiar look of satisfaction.

    More than 4,000 pilgrims ring the same doorbell every year, Yevgeny's mother says. Lyubov Rodionova looks like millions of other Russian women in their fifties but her quest to discover the truth about her son took her to places most Russians will never visit. Unwilling to accept the army's initial claim that Yevgeny was a deserter, she spent nine months in Chechnya finding his body.

    She paid $4,000 (£2,100) to the man she believes killed Yevgeny - a Chechen field commander - to discover where her son was buried, meeting him 17 times. She found the body beside a mountain stream in a heavily mined region; one Russian soldier was killed helping to make the area safe. Lyubov Rodionova then exhumed her son's putrefied body with her hands at night and took it back to Kurilovo.

    Lyubov says she recognised Yevgeny by his cross and other things "which only a mother knows". She says: "Every mother knows how her child wears their shoes and he was wearing the socks I had knitted for him, dark-brown ones." But Yevgeny's head was missing and she had to make another trip back for his skull, which had been shattered by the rebels who feared his soul would come back to haunt them if they left his head intact.

    Lyubov's experiences in Chechnya have changed her. She was abused, spat on, and almost murdered by the brother of Chechnya's most-wanted man, warlord Shamil Basayev, who beat her so badly he left her for dead. "All my teeth were broken," she says. "These are all fake." She taps them. "When I came back from Chechnya my hair was all grey. I am not healthy. When you bury a child you bury half of yourself. I can't laugh or make merry any more." She also lost her husband, Alexander, a few days after Yevgeny's death was confirmed. She believes he died of sorrow.

    But Lyubov says she does not care whether Yevgeny is formally canonised or not. "God chooses a place for everyone. His [Yevgeny's] place will not change if he is made a saint. He is already in paradise." She insists she is hard-pressed to understand why her dead son inspires such veneration. "I really don't know. It's not the best times in Russia right now. Maybe God is offering Yevgeny to people as a symbol of purity."

    She claims she knows the precise circumstances of Yevgeny's death because she confronted his captors and his murderers. "If I'm honest, I was ready to kill them," she whispers, her eyes flashing with anger. "But I didn't have a weapon."

    Many of the pilgrims play down suggestions that Russia is engaged in a holy war, but Lyubov is less coy. "Islam and Christianity are at war. Some of our boys were crucified and nailed to trees. The Chechens laughed and said, 'Your Jesus rose from the dead on the third day; let's see if you do the same'. Terror has a Muslim face. You can't deny that."

    Lyubov believes Russian troops should stay in Chechnya, claiming there would be a bloodbath if they left. She also supports the "liquidation" of Chechen rebel leaders. But she is also deeply critical of the Russian authorities. "What bothers me is their insistence that it is not a war. If people are dying, which they are, it's a war. They [the authorities] betrayed Yevgeny. Why did I have to go and search for him myself? Can you imagine that happening anywhere else? We can buy football teams like Chelsea but what does that really count for?"

    As she closes the door to her small flat, her mood swings from sentimentality to an almost soldier-like matter-of-factness. "Remember, there will be many unhappy mothers in Russia this Christmas," she murmurs. "There is nothing more precious to a mother than their child."

    Then comes the change; Lyubov was not a churchgoer before Yevgeny's death but she is now a strong believer. "War defines people quickly," she says crisply. "If you are a piece of shit you crumple quickly but if you are decent, it hones you like a diamond. You need to go through a lot to get to that stage.
     
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  4. diman Russian Federation

    diman Mi Lieutenant MI.Net Member

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    You will arrange the materials in Russian language?
     
  5. diman Russian Federation

    diman Mi Lieutenant MI.Net Member

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    http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=news&div=20743

    sorry it is an automatic translation from Russian

    The President of Chechnya called the hero of the Russian soldier, who is believed to have been killed for refusing to convert to Islam


    The President of Chechnya called the hero of the Russian soldier, who is believed to have been killed for refusing to convert to Islam

    Moscow. 9 Oct. INTERFAX - Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov highly appreciated the feat of the Russian soldier Evgeny Rodionov, who, according to some, under pain of death, refused to accept Islam and for that he was killed by Chechen militants.

    "My opinion about the death of a soldier Rodionov, who was killed by bandits, demanding to change his faith, is a heroic act of one person and a vile abomination of those who killed him", - said Kadyrov in an interview to "Islam in the Russian Federation".

    According to the Chechen leader, "these so-called fighters for the faith did not know or did not want to know that in Islam it is unacceptable to force the man to their faith under threat of life. It must be a voluntary, deeply conscious step."

    In this regard, Kadyrov expressed his disagreement with those who believe that the cult of E. Rodionova, common in the Orthodox environment, is especially anti-Chechen and anti-Muslim. "However, there may be those who are not averse to waving such slogans," - said R. Kadyrov.

    However, he noted that "to create a cult of the new Saint, of course, the matter of the Church itself, and nobody has the right to intervene in its Affairs".

    However, R. Kadyrov added, if you remember the history of Russia, its last Emperor Nicholas II, shot many thousands of peaceful demonstration in 1905", was canonized after his death along with his family for sainthood. "I think the opinion of the Orthodox Russians were heterogeneous", he said.
     
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  6. diman Russian Federation

    diman Mi Lieutenant MI.Net Member

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/21/international/europe/21MART.html

    The New York Times
    From Village Boy to Soldier, Martyr and, Many Say, Saint
    By SETH MYDANS
    Published: November 21, 2003

    KURILOVO, Russia — Shoulders back, chest out, the young soldier stands as if on parade in his camouflage fatigues — his boots polished, his rifle at his shoulder, a halo around his head.

    His face is the blank mask of a man for whom duty is life. It is not easy being a soldier, or a saint.

    Portraits of this young man, Yevgeny Rodionov, are spreading around Russia — sometimes in uniform, sometimes in a robe, sometimes armed, sometimes holding a cross, but always with his halo.

    He is Russia's new unofficial saint, a casualty of the war in Chechnya who has been canonized not by the Russian Orthodox Church but by a groundswell of popular adoration.

    The portraits are religious icons, venerated in homes and churches where Private Rodionov has become the focus of a minor cult that seems to fill a nationalist hunger for popular heroes.

    In one icon he is painted to look like a medieval Russian knight. In another he is included, in full uniform, in a group portrait of the last czar and his family, under the gaze of Jesus.

    Church officials say all of this breaks religious law. Sainthood is not a popularity contest, and icons are not campaign posters. The process of canonization, the officials say, is long and arduous and can only be carried out by the church.

    But it does happen from time to time that a symbolic figure emerges to capture the passions of a moment and becomes a sort of folk saint — sometimes the first step toward official sainthood.

    In pamphlets, songs and poems, in sermons and on Web sites, Private Rodionov's story has become a parable of religious devotion and Russian nationalism. The young soldier, it is said, was killed by Muslim rebels seven years ago because he refused to renounce his religion or remove the small silver cross he kept around his neck.

    It is the story his mother says she was told by the rebels who killed him and who later led her, for a ransom of $4,000, to the place they had buried him. When she exhumed his body late one night, she said, the cross was there among his bones, glinting in the light of flashlights, stained with small drops of blood.

    "Nineteen-year-old Yevgeny Rodionov went through unthinkable suffering," reads an encomium on one nationalist Web site, "but he did not renounce the Orthodox faith but confirmed it with his martyr's death.

    "He proved that now, after so many decades of raging atheism, after so many years of unrestrained nihilism, Russia is capable, as in earlier times, of giving birth to a martyr for Christ, which means it is unconquerable."

    As his story has spread, pilgrims have begun appearing in this small village just west of Moscow, where his mother, Lyubov, 51, tends his grave on an icy hillside beside an old whitewashed church.

    Some military veterans have laid their medals by his graveside in a gesture of homage. People in distress have left handwritten notes asking for his intercession.

    In a church near St. Petersburg, his full-length image stands at the altar beside icons of the Virgin Mary, the Archangel Michael, Jesus and Nicholas II, the last of the czars, who was canonized three years ago.

    Aleksandr Makeyev, a paratroop officer who heads a foundation to assist soldiers, said he had seen soldiers kneeling in prayer before an image of Private Rodionov. "The kids in Chechnya, they feel they've been abandoned by the state and abandoned by their commanders," he told the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.

    "They don't know who to appeal to for help, but they understand that Zhenya is one of them," he said, using Private Rodionov's nickname. "You can say he is the first soldier-saint."

    Among the photographs of her son that Mrs. Rodionov spreads on her kitchen table are laminated cards that she says some soldiers carry with them for luck. They bear his image along with a prayer:

    "Thy martyr, Yevgeny, O Lord, in his sufferings has received an incorruptible crown from thee, our God, for having thy strength he has brought down his torturers, has defeated the powerless insolence of demons. Through his prayers save our souls."

    Although he has not been formally canonized, Private Rodionov's mother and other believers say his icons sometimes emit rivulets of holy perfume, as some extremely sacred Orthodox icons are said to do.

    Indeed, Mrs. Rodionov said, her own icon of her son drips perfume. "When that happens and I am planning a trip, I postpone it," she said. "The icon gives me signs."

    Mrs. Rodionov said she was able to find her son's body and learn how he died during a lull in the war when rebel soldiers were demanding huge sums of money to return live prisoners or the bodies of men they had killed.

    According to the accounts of his captors, she said, he and three other soldiers were seized in 1996 while manning a checkpoint and were held in a cellar for 100 days before they were executed.

    Private Rodionov was killed, she said, when he refused the rebels' demand that he remove his cross and forswear his religion.

    A poem called "The Cross," composed in his honor, paints a scene of laughing heathens who beheaded the young soldier when he defied them.

    "Pure mountains in the distance, slopes covered in blooms of blue," the poem reads. "Refusing to renounce Christ, the soldier of Russia fell. And his head rolled, blood flowed from the saber, and the red grass whispered a quiet prayer in its wake."

    Private Rodionov was proud to wear his military uniform and to do his duty for his country, his mother said. But as a boy in this small village, all he really wanted was to be a cook.
     
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  7. Bombardier

    Bombardier Admin & Arbiter Staff Member Site Admin

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  8. BravoZulu Australia

    BravoZulu Mi Sergeant MI.Net Member

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    A story of a mother's devotion and love.....great stuff @diman
     
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  9. Gordus Germany

    Gordus Mi Lance corporal MI.Net Member

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    Very sad and moving. Yeah, I have seen some recorded atrocities committed by both sides which included very brutal straight up executions and torture. That was sadly a routine in Eastern European conflicts in general and it can be unimaginably savage from a Westerner's POV what went down in the North Caucasus, even in the South Caucasus, and the sad matter of fact is that such attrocities were / are not committed only by insurgents and fighters of all the ethnicities and countries involved but partialy also militaries. The recent Azeri-Armenian clashes validate that resentments of such a degree are still very strong rooted. It still remains to me the ugliest form of terror.
     
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