Trip to Death – Russian/German Documentary About Unreported War in Chechnya

Trip to Death - Russian/German Documentary About Unreported War in Chechnya

This rather unknown documentary titled Trip to Death (Командировка в смерть), sometimes translated as Business Trip to Death was filmed in Grozny in early 1996 by a Russian journalist Igor Komissarov. Being a Russian journalist covering War in Chechnya which involved Russia, the footage filmed by Igor Komissarov was intended for Russian audiences, however because of what it showed, it was given no air time. This was mainly due to the conflicts with the then president Boris Yeltsin’s rhetoric that all was quiet in Chechnya. Boris Yeltsin as you may know brought Russia to its knees serving the Zionists, luckily when country reached its lowest point in modern history, Vladimir Putin took over and since then, the GDP and other economic and social metrics have been on a steady rise.

Having found no interest in the footage at home, Igor Komissarov provided 8 videotapes of authentic footage to German journalists who edited it into this documentary. Because of that, the narration is mostly in German, but I got the English transcript so those interested may read it below. Units Igor Komissarov accompanied in Chechnya were the notorious SOBR – Internal Forces Spetsnaz.

The name of the song they talk about in the beginning is called ComBat. Here is the translation of lyrics:

And at war is like at war,
Prices are high for ammo, vodka and tobacco.
And at war, the work is hard,
You have to shoot or you’ll get killed.

And at war is like at war,
Remember me, my girl.
And at war one never knows,
We might kill them or they might kill us.

ComBat, ComBat, you are our Dad,
You weren’t hiding behind backs of your lads.
Aircrafts are flying, tanks are burning,
That’s how ComBat beats them up.

ComBat, ComBat, you are our Dad,
Behind us are Russia, Moscow and the Arbat.
Battery, Fire! Battalion, Fire!
ComBat yo, he is in command!

Batery, Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire of agony!

And at war is like at war,
Soldiers dream about mommy at nights,
And at war is like at war,
And everything is more serious than in movies.

Yeah, the war, the war, the war,
It’s crazy Mrs, and it’s a bitch.
Oh the war, the war is still being waged,
But the boy, by his girl, is long awaited.

Road to War Transcript in English

Business Trip to Death. Russian Special Forces in Grozny

My name is Igor Komissarov. I am 37 years old, married, and I have a 12 year old daughter. I work in St. Petersburg, as a Special Representative of the Press.

In January 1996 I was sent to Grozny to work with the Press Office of the Provisional Russian administration in Chechnya. Before undertaking this departure, I asked my superior if I would need a bullet proof vest or a submachine gun. “Take a deck of playing cards with you” he said, “It’s all quiet in Grozny”.

It’s the 22nd of January. The ruins of downtown. Igor Komissarov, has his camera with him. He wants to document this unusual business trip. The first pictures are filmed while riding an armored vehicle with the Special Forces unit. He has 52 days ahead of him leading to the 6th of March which he will never forget. This movie documents his point of view on country and war. It’s personal, one-sided, partial and only a fragment of the whole truth.

It’s a video protocol of an eyewitness. We have only met him for a short while in St. Petersburg, 2200 km away from Hell. He showed us these pictures there. He told us, that since he’s been back, he watched his footage at home alone over and over, like a necessity. He gave us 8 video cassettes. 22 hours of VHS material, full of technical flaws, but anxiously authentic. The dying of his own men and the cruel violence of his own side.

“It’s better for the nightmare to be shared” – he told us – “It’s better to not let it get forgotten.”

Grozny through the eyes of Igor Komissarov.

And he had always one same song in his head, his song in Chechnya. In war is like in war, remember me, my girl. In war you never know, we might kill them or they might kill us.

The market stands in front of the base of the Provisional Russian Administration. Bread and vodka. The Special Forces Units supply themselves with those, here. Policemen trained for counter-terrorism operations were contracted and detached to Grozny, to restore peace. They will stay and fight, even when the last soldier was deducted, while officially it is “peace” here. This place, these buildings are a pathetic piece of safety behind barbed wire and sandbags for 52 days.

Grozny, the 4th of March, 1996 – I think there are some wounded. The tank has blown up. We can’t see anything. The market stands there blocking everything. Keep an eye on the roofs.

4th of March, about 06:30 am. There was an explosion. Suddenly, I am awake. The Checkpoint. The guys getting in positions. Defensive positions. What happened? A raid? How many enemies are there and where are the enemy snipers? Two of us run into the house to detect the enemies. Otherwise we won’t get out of here alive. Our guys are there. Where? Dukhs are on the roof. Our guys went there.

One of our vehicles rushes away. I am running behind it with my camera. My assistant Sergey, filmed these images from the roof… and indeed there is an armored vehicle. It must had driven onto a mine. Injured, maybe dead, no hesitation they need our help. But “Dukhs” are everywhere in the houses. That’s how we call the Chechen fighters – “Dukhs” (a ghost/spirit). Do you understand? You don’t see them, but they are always there. And then they kill you.

The vehicle couldn’t pass. One seriously injured man got out. You may not cross the road, it’s an open field! They will shoot you. I’m like in trance, I see only a flickering image. The numbers in the viewfinder. Thinking only “you have to hold this, you have to show it”. The Truth, just how it is. One! Two! Three! I’m going!

Bitchen! – Be careful! Take him up! – Look, a sniper is punching us from there. Did you pick up the battery? The armored vehicle, the injured man. The explosion had thrown them into the dirt. It was an unbelievable impact. You are totally confused in your head. You are getting sick. You are passing away for some minutes. Confused, even days after that. I have experienced it myself, physically. Even today they come back, those dizziness and qualm.

Scatter from there. – Scatter! Damn!

I have forgotten the name of this man. We call ourselves “brothers” here. “Brother” and nothing else. The driver’s legs were torn off, he says. And the Commander got the whole shockwave. And it has caught me only here. It is a remarkable thing. The guys always mentioning the Commander first. Only he does counts and they speak about themselves later.

That thing…” he said, “that thing, that has blown our vehicle, it has been lying in a rain puddle.”

A mine? – Who the heck knows…

Another one of our vehicles had managed to pick us up. Let’s go! Get in! But the Commander is under shock and he doesn’t want to go. “But I am not even injured” he yells. I am not wounded! Damn! It’s all right! I can walk.

Saturn Team. They are now on the roofs, in positions, our guys. Look out, don’t shoot at them that’s our boys, there are on the roof! Come on! Come on! Come on! Why are you standing? Your mother! Do we have the situation under control, already?

I run back where the market stands. Oleg is there. He is my friend. He was always covering me while I have filming my footage, without me asking him to do so. He was always right there. He says It was at 03:00 am… we were on our back trip to our apartments, and here was a little boy about 12-13 years old close to the market. Probably and very likely that it was him who placed the mine into the puddle. They got one. One of the Dukhs got caught. Was it him shooting at us? – I don’t know.

You feel only hate in such moments. And a wish for revenge. Does he have marks on his shoulders? Due to the recoil of a rifle. The man will probably lay in the “bunker” as a prisoner. Until we will exchange him, maybe, for one of those poor pigs of the Army. I don’t know if that’s exactly what happened to him. I’ve never seen this man again.

Back in our apartments, we got a message that the driver of the armored vehicle died in the hospital. And again you keep asking, “What happened there?” You will repeat it again and again and it’s the only way you can endure this. Was it a direction action mine? – It was worse. But what kind of mine was it… hell knows.

Then Igor Komissarov shows us, how they went out one morning few weeks ago passing by these buildings. “The location of another Police Special Forces Unit. You have to make it clear for yourself!” he said.

They reached the city’s outskirts. There on the left is the main square of Grozny. “Grozny” – Igor Komissarov said. Do you know what that means? – “Fearsome”.

The city was founded in the 19th century by the Tsar, when Russians occupied the region. Grozny – The Fearsome! It should scare the resistance and to nip it in the bud.

A police raid is planned against illegal refineries. Dozens of them exist in this territory. Chechens tap the oil pipelines. The refineries are primitive, but that’s enough to produce gasoline. It brings money for the war and for own pocket.

“In war you can say “good-bye” to everything, that’s a catch phrase here” Igor Komissarov said.

Is it a resistance or a crime? Who can separate these two things apart now?

The mission is clear – to destroy the refinery plants. Who will stop the illegal business, will also stop the supply of the insurgents. And maybe will create peace in the region, for Yeltsin, who wants to win the elections. The war is already not liked in Russia. Too many injured, too many mutilated… Yeltsin needs some rest.

Rest in a country where the oilfields are burning. Nobody knows who set them on fire. It is a hopeless attempt to extinguish the fire for months. “This war is about the oil” Igor said. “Today it’s the first time it has become clear to me.” “The oil of Chechnya, the oil of the Caucasus!”

A major pipeline runs through Chechnya to the Black Sea. It’s a lifeblood. And if Grozny falls, Russian Federation could fall apart too. To the South, in the oilfields, unthinkable for Yeltsin. The concept of the Iron Fist has failed and now Moscow sends Police Special Forces. When the Police will restore the order, then no more war will happen here.

And then, there is an appearance of normality and ordinariness on Igor’s pictures. They are sitting in the “barrel”, that’s how they call the primitive apartment of the Press officials. One of the rare pictures which shows Igor Komissarov, the man through whose eyes we see this war. A song, which was self written, is playing from the cassette player.

“There were shoot-outs, yesterday again” – they are singing – “and bullets have missed me again. So I’ll stay alive a little longer.” There is a note on the wall – “Unlike the war, the life goes on.”

Grozny, 6th of March, 1996. 6th of March. The shock! Rebels are in the city. Hundreds of them, or maybe thousands or more. They have attacked a Chechen Police station. Two armored vehicles left ten minutes ago to help the Police. “Unbelievable, I have failed to attend to a morning briefing and departure.” “For the first and the last time in 52 days.” “And this is the reason and the only reason why I am alive.” “The first group was caught in a trap. A deadly trap.”

The combat place. The shootouts. No radio messages. Getting to battle stations and waiting for Commander’s decisions. There is a bridge behind the wall. Our armored vehicles are some 30-50 meter further away. The way down there is a suicide mission. But we have to go, at least onto the bridge to see what is going on. We need a helicopter. It has to deploy a smoke screen. Cloud as a cover, a white shield in the open field. But we don’t have a helicopter.

A decision. The Commander must take a decision. The help call to the Russian Army comes over and over again… Desperation. Bitchen! What are you doing there?! Are you asleep? My God, what are you doing, are you all sleeping?” “Meteor, Meteor! Storm 32, do you hear?”

A technical defect. On purpose. Sell out? He takes a decision then. The armored vehicle will lead the way to the bridge and maybe down there… to our boys. Cover me.

Where are the shots coming from? – From there. From the valley. There is an armored vehicle… burning. The army has canceled the air support. No helicopters. The weather is too bad. Everyone knows we have to go down there and everyone knows we have no chance.

Waiting… for hours… intolerable.

“My name is Igor” – I said. – And what is your name? – Andrey. Give me a cigarette, brother. I’m from St. Petersburg and you guys? – From Tyumen.

Meanwhile, our building is under fire. Footage which Sergey, my assistant, has filmed. Battles everywhere in the city. Attacks which are to tie up our forces. A few dozens of men are shooting back. They can’t leave, but they are protecting the building. Our building!

We are still waiting outside on the bridge. And then we are fighting through to get to the armored vehicle. No footage of it. Problems with the camera.

(radio comm.) Bread baking plant. The gray building. The upper right window. But then, this scene… The survivors…

Watch this – the blood of our Commander. Everything covered with blood. The blood of our comrades. “Imagine” – this man says – “we couldn’t rescue anyone.” We’re almost out of the ammunition. Only three of us are left. Without any support. We were begging for one hour, but the Army didn’t come. They said, that their helicopters can’t fly in such weather. But what is wrong with it? The weather is good. And all the time we were alone. We were shooting back, but that didn’t make sense, We had no view. And the snipers were shooting at us. It was horrible, just horrible. We lost our Commander. Such an insanity, that it can’t be happening. We are getting screwed and burned.

And those jackals, who are using us here as human shields, getting rich on prize of our blood and continue driving their big Mercedes. They are all for sale. It’s all about oil-dollars. Stop it! Why? It’s the Truth! It should be broadcasted on central TV, but also show them what they are broadcasting instead of this. That all are quite in Grozny. Only we three are left! And so what if we begged for help, but the Army didn’t come. They’ve abandoned us. So many dead, heaps of them all tight to each other and we can’t do anything. The vehicles are burning, but we can’t leave them there.

Our boys and the Commander. They were burning on fire in front of our eyes. We were so close…, but we couldn’t bring them out. Ok! That’s enough! Record this on tape. Show it back at home. You have to show what happens here.

I feel nothing anymore. I see nothing. I filmed these pictures with my defect camera. The last of this day.

Police raid. 40km in front of Grozny. In a village. Igor Komissarov shows us these images and we understand their mission.

“They are Policemen and whenever it was possible” – he said, “They have done what they had to do – a police service.” Manhunt of criminals, drug dealers and weapon smugglers. They existed even before, but the war is washing them up. And they are searching for partisans. “Rebels” for Russians. Separatists. Terrorists.

Police language – the language of power. “Most Chechens don’t want this war here” Igor Komissarov said. And many, many of them are helping us.

A shot was heard. They have caught one man. Get up! Get up! Do you carry weapons? Run! Hands behind your back! Behind your back! Run! Not there! Over here!

Igor Komissarov knows, that the civilians suffer in particular. He saw it and recorded it on tape. The people in the villages and cities carry the load of the war. And this deceptive rest between two battles, which they call “a peace” in Moscow.

Hands behind your back! – Tell him that she is after surgery. They have arrested six men. Three of them are getting free, soon after that and the others are getting exchanged against Russian soldiers. A hostage business, as usual.

“Why you don’t leave us alone?” this woman asks. “We have toiled for the Soviet Union for decades and that’s not our fault.” “It touched us” Igor Komissarov says. but such scenes scare us. A few minutes delay and the insurgents gain time. Time for an ambush. Fire from the woods. The invisible enemy again. How many are there today? The Police troops stay behind cover. And after sometime the insurgents give up.

At first, Igor Komissarov didn’t want to leave this footage to us. Chechen insurgents. A horrible interaction of our Police forces is “an exception” he says. Such scenes from Grozny were never shown before. Igor Komissarov was allowed to film, because his comrades trusted him. “But will the viewer understand us?” he asked the interviewer.

Do you know how it is, when you lost a friend and then the murderers are falling into your hands? The old story, violence creates more violence. And both sides claiming the other side guilty of it. He has started first and I am only defending myself.

“Show these pictures” Igor Komissarov says suddenly determined, “show them!” “I survived Grozny. I am not afraid anymore.”

Grozny, the 7th of March, 1996.

The 7th of March. We were replaced by the Army to have a rest for a night. We couldn’t go back. Battles are being wages everywhere. One Lieutenant gave us two heavy tanks, by higher order, to help us on his own risk. We want to search for survivors and salvage dead bodies. It sounds crazy, but that’s how it is. We don’t leave anyone behind. Bringing the boys back home. The alive and the dead ones, they have right for it.

The combat location of the 6th of March. This open, deadly field again. We brought mine-searching dogs with us. Often rebels plant mines under our dead men to get some more of us. Are snipers in the ruins? Fire cover.

And then we go. The goal is in front of your eyes. We are not thinking anymore. Just going. This is our countryman. A dog handler.

Here are our guys. There are no survivors. They are dead. They are all dead. The next evening. Still with the Army. A tent of our accommodation. Vodka. It’s our mean to forget. Consolation and Medicine. The drug that we need to survive. We always do 4 drink toasts. 2 for us, the 3rd for our fallen comrades and the last that nobody has to make a toast for us, tomorrow.

The 9th of March. The trip back to our apartments. With the defective camera, I filmed the last pictures of this mission.

In front of us is an armored vehicle which provides cover for us. It deploys a smoke screen. Like a white protection veil that hovers over the column. Memories. Memories of violence and death. My cutout of reality. My truth. And an old footage is between these.

Grozny, 16 years ago.

I was here before, when I was a young cadet. Back then, on my last evening, in a shabby bar, people had invited me. Chechens. I was eating and drinking until I couldn’t anymore. On the next day, at the train station, I met one from that bar again. A flower seller. He gave me one bouquet. “For your mother” he said. “Or your girlfriend, however you want.” “Give them greetings from Grozny.” This is a true story.

“The war is like a war” as the song goes. Soldiers dream about their mothers at night. The war, it’s quite different from movies. It’s like a curse. The girls are still waiting.

Business Trip to Death – Russian Special Forces (Spetsnaz) in Grozny

Author: Vincit Omnia Veritas

Best Gore may be for SALE. Hit me up if you are interested in exploring the purchase further and have adequate budget.

30 thoughts on “Trip to Death – Russian/German Documentary About Unreported War in Chechnya”

  1. Awesome documentary, thanks for the translation. The only thing I understood was “Panzer Vagon”. I’d hate to be taken prisoner by the Russians, that first guy they caught around 8 minutes got a nice kick to the nuts as a welcome to Russian hospitality. All the dead guys was a real pisser though.

  2. Its a crying shame that a lot of effort gets put into these types of post and not many people seem to care enough to contribute, I personally like these documentaries because they’re real and they show us the same scenario over and over gain.

    That scenario is that war is always used as a way to gain and subvert, the reasons for war always change, if there is a reason that is because often there is not, and in these wars the poor are used as expendable pawns whilst the rich and the war mongers sit back far away from the action enjoying the comforts of life.

    I often think that much of history had to have been the same, that war was started and for the same reasons and what we know and learn from written accounts is likely to be biased because it was written by the winners.

    The trick is to read and view the historical accounts of the most neutral party because it is likely to be closer to the truth.

      1. @Senor Piggy , probably very hairy & stinky too, with no running water, it would be hard to get all the (will- knots) out. lol,ha! ha! 🙂 I already know what you are thinking ” you are fuckin gross man” he, he,

    1. Thanks for noticing. This one took a few month of being on it. I know that because it ended up being a long read, most people won’t bother, but I felt like it deserved to be on here so I went through all the work. I was indeed a lot of work.

      1. It is sad that the most labouring of post gets little to no attention whilst merely posting a picture of a mangled body gets over a hundred replies.

        I suppose its just part of the process of running a website called Best Gore in that the majority of members come here for gore, you would think however that with the constant reminders of the benefits of not being a sheep people would take the opportunity to read and learn when such a good post comes their way but it would seem not.

        The sad part is that you may think twice about going to all that effort in the future if the end result is that no one cares.

        The real kick in the balls is that people are quick enough to jump on the bandwagon when it suits them, such as when sheep mentality is discussed or when its a post about free thinking and learning the truth about the world but when away from the spot light there doesn’t seem to be any actual change among the mind set of most people, they still express a lack of interest in matters that do not immediately effect their own lives.

        I suppose if the learned mind could be changed over night there would not be the need to brainwash people from birth.

      2. Thanks so much MARK for all the hard work. Although i am not as well spoken as most on this site , i know how important this message is for all to see ,especially the younger generation, so they can see what they do not show you in school. THE PLAIN TRUTH. and nothing less. Get on board B-G brothers & sisters , check it out you will be surprised how informative and eye opening this video really is.

        1. Mark, I read the whole thing and found it extremely interesting. Thanks very much, ot only for the translation but fof the transcript – it’s unusual for the transcript to be provided – so thanks again 🙂

  3. little human parasites with their little parasite toys of murder and death strutting and thinking their actions and motives are somewhat good or of a benefit . we are so insignificant in this universe ,wars come and go ,people die and some live on but any war ultimately is a sad reflection of the human soul . I think alien life will be scoffing at the vermin that is human life and the toxic shit we do on this planet .someday we are going to face a real war and there will be nothing our ‘little’ toys will be able to do about it

  4. War is scary shit, unfortunately for me watching the doc and then reading the transcript doesn’t give me the story because I can’t recall everything I saw in the video with respect to the transcript save for the real powerful scenes like the captured dude being asked to run and the piles of bodies. I wanted to see the part of the transcript that described those four half dead civilians laying by that busted gushing sink but I didn’t see a recount of that…did I miss it? Why did they crush those guys is what I want to know…maybe that’s the part where he waffled about giving the Germans the footage and violence spawning violence. They just seemed like civilians

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