Keynesian Spirits



The Thirst for Blood – Russia in Afghanistan

A chilling excerpt from Tariq Ali’s review of ‘A Long Goodbye: The Soviet Withdrawal from Afghanistan’ by Artemy Kalinovsky and ‘Afgantsy: The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-89’ by Rodric Braithwaite:

One Russian veteran of the Afghan war wrote:

“The thirst for blood … is a terrible desire. It is so strong that you cannot resist it. I saw for myself how the battalion opened a hail of fire on a group that was descending towards our column. And they were our soldiers, a detachment from the reconnaissance company who had been guarding us on the flank. They were only 200 metres away and we were 90 per cent sure they were our people. And nevertheless – the thirst for blood, the desire to kill at all costs. Dozens of times I saw with my own eyes how the new recruits would shout and cry with joy after killing their first Afghan, pointing in the direction of the dead man, clapping one another on the back, and firing off a whole magazine into the corpse ‘just to make sure’ … Not everyone can master this feeling, this instinct, and stifle the monster in his soul.”

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