When, during the process in Luanda (1976) of one of the English, the former worker, who ironically went surname Wiseman (Sage), was asked why he went to fight in Angola — for money or for ideological reasons, he said: "I find it difficult to answer this question." And it was really true. For various reasons, people took part in the "undeclared war."
"Nikolai Fedorovich Pestretzoff was born in 1944." Rattle off "emergency, remained on-enlisted. Before high rank is not promoted (Ensign), but his work (repairing cars) knows well. Apparently, so Pestretzoff and offered to travel to faraway Africa. First they said on Libya, but at the end of the 79th came to the distribution list to Angola.
-You thought that waiting for you?
— No. I only knew: Angolan people have chosen the socialist path of development, need help. I never thought I find myself in a war. Local skirmishes with yuarovtsami, shelling, helicopter raids — all this year and a half was used to.
Used to that, repairing a car, be ready to grab gun and shoot … But what happened August 25, 1981, other than a bloodbath, not name.
On this day, the troops of the Republic of South Africa without a declaration of war, invaded Angola.
Around town, where they stood, sank ring. Bridge over the river was blown up. Go nowhere. How much will stand two Angolan battalion? Hour or day?
Twelve of the Soviet people — seven men and five women — were doomed. They could save only one "- surrender. Resistance meant death.
Ah, here to Moscow generals to look at their arsenal. Anti-aircraft machine gun system of 1943, beating three kilometers explosive bullets. PCA — the legendary machines WWII. No less than the legendary T-34 tanks, patched-perelatannye.
— And what about the Angolans? They abandoned us … — You know, the revelation. We had a very good relationship. We helped them technique, help … But still, when it came down to it, I could expect that I will cover only Russian. Angolans fight absolutely can not and do not want. When did this terrible bombardment, they quickly got rid of the uniform (under it — civilized shorts!) And — for home.
Russian selected under fire on two cars — "UAZ" and "GAZ-66". Things thrown, took the gun and ammunition.
Dusk, but the heat is still sixty. Had to leave the car — too conspicuous target.
Divided into two groups. Walk on the savannah. From the heat, the earth cracked and the crack goes hand, dusty yellow grass above the meter.
They were fired at once — seems to hit at close range from the undergrowth. Jadwiga wife Pestretzoff and superior officer and his wife Eugenia Kireeva Sew in place.
Shock — a second or two. Wake up, make out who killed who are injured, who can shoot. Pestretzoff sprawled where he lay, and snapped in short bursts.
When the shooting stopped, it was already dark. He, apparently, was left alone. The dead pulled papers and went, I do not see where, forced his way through a tough grass, no wondering hands would not obey, his cheeks were covered with blisters. No food or drink. No one around.
Returning at night, shaken by what he saw. Awkwardly lay mutilated corpses. Women ripped earrings, ring fingers chopped off with wedding rings.
You bastards! Folded on the car dead, walked the savannah towards the town.
Morning run out of petrol. Where to go? Heavy burden — the ditch, bent over, covering the cape. Weak, so that my head was spinning before his eyes burgundy cool. Steps behind not heard but felt: approaching and, straightening up, slashed with a machine gun on the already surrounded him yuarovtsam.
Pestretzoff woke up in the helicopter. Do not move. Fingers were killed, ribs, seems broken. Unable to pull his weapon, yuarovtsy beaten with rifle butts on his hands. Stabbed in the legs, did not notice in the heat of battle, that the fragment grenade struck high boots and run over by a stone, in the flesh. Consciousness is passed, then came. Weakness. Indifference. Void. Importantly — alive.
— Treated me a week in Namibia, in the hospital. Documents: certificate, driver's license, the officer badge — was taken away. From the first day started questioning — who, where? But quickly realized: I have no sense of, and medical treatment, was sent to a South African prison.
Jail and prison abroad. Camera — half to three meters. Cramped, stuffy, two windows, almost entirely covered with metal plates, do not get it.
How to feed them? Boiled rice, red grouper, instant fruit drink.
— Above you kidding me?
— Not really … but anything may happen. If the interrogation noticed in my behavior some freedom, the Japanese put handcuffs — light, from the "stainless steel". In a sudden movement of human folds in half, at the feet of the body attracts.
More than once I got in the first weeks and nunchuck to the shin.
And beat skillfully. Not to crush bone. Immediately burned iodine.
Almost at the first output corporal decided to show off — show friends captured Russian: first Russian here had ever seen.
Heat. Pestretzoff sitting on a bed in a bathing suit and leather shoes with wooden soles. Corporal carelessly poked him in the chin, "Red Communist!" The "red" he was worth enough to punch him so hard that he flew out into the corridor and, spewing obscenities, grabbed his holster. If it were not friends of Corporal Odyssey Ensign would have ended before it began.
Done: put in a corner on the circuit, so that the door does not get. Diet, and the scant, declined.
Interrogations — daily.
— Torture is used?
— One "mordovorot" I stuck a knife in the calves, wrenched his hands, broke in the finger joints.
But the most difficult thing I have endured, "jokes" soldiers (they also sometimes I watched, not only by professional security guards). Several times they were injected into a vein in my sleeping pills. Larger doses. Forced to swallow huge portions of psychotropic pills. Two days after that it is simply impossible to stand as survived — I do not know.
In the prisons of South Africa (and I changed them a little) executed on Wednesdays. The yard is a man in a bathing suit. A click. And a man falls through the ground. Imperceptible outside view sash automatically applied. Drives up the tank with the words "acid", a group of people somewhere down the drainage, the car goes. In the yard is waiting for your turn next … The procedure is repeated. Seeing this, you can go crazy.
— What is it then? Do you somehow fought for his life, for dignity?
— Hunger strikes. Once did not eat for two weeks.
He reached up to about forty-five pounds, and then I began to forcibly "recover".
For, to say honestly, to do with me soon changed. I was lucky — I found the International Red Cross. These wonderful people gave me hope, began to fight for me, told me how to behave, informed me home. They are, by the way, dissuaded me from running (I seriously think to escape). They said, "Do not you dare, shoot here, they are just waiting for a reason. Suffer We will achieve that you will exchange!" Soon came from Geneva, Mr. Ant, a descendant of the Decembrist, long ago emigrated from the Soviet Union. Asked to write a letter to parents. Pestretzoff stressed that his wife died, and he was in captivity.
Hope was born in Pestretzoff, when he received a letter from his older brother Victor. It turns out, after Nicholas "got lost", Victor turned to Moscow, the Red Cross. To the mother, Yuliana Danilovna, in the village May Day came from the military office, was questioned. Said, on inquiry. It is worn out, waiting. Finally it was notified that Nikolai Fedorovich Pestretzoff missing.
And here comes a letter from Nicholas.
— Still play a role that I'm white. Black for the people there generally do not consider hitting anything, anywhere.
My life (if you can call it life) gradually became easier.
I was allowed to walk. On the day for half an hour. Started normally feed. Soon, I ate the same thing as my "body guard."
Some of them have established a good relationship.
And with one — American Denmark — we became friends. He brought me a Russian-English dictionary, I began to learn English.
We spoke several languages. Hence — the word, there — word. I know Portuguese (Angola for two years to learn). He also polyglot amateur. In general, to understand each other. He gave me a cigarette, no small thing in prison. Towards the end before we came together, that he even said, "Let's dollars, and I'll give you an escape. Visiting Friends have a helicopter." But I already had some inner feeling even sure that I have to save.
I started to support and Russian Orthodox Church Abroad. I sent parcels and letters. The one I read the words that will be remembered for a lifetime, "Awake and spirit, if you are a believer, still recollect God. All add up at you, as you outlined yourself!" Then followed congratulations to Christmas, Easter. By adorable colorful messages he studied church holidays.
Ensign was shocked. Surely someone out there, thousands of miles from Africa, worried his fate. Incredible!
Weekly chaplain came to him in the form of Maori (in the prison church was located). Communicate in Portuguese. During the first visit, the chaplain asked if he believed in God and he needs. Next time, bring in Russian New and Old Testaments. "Communist, hold, return home, just do not want to stay here."
Pray, however, not made, and the soul does not climb.
— What were you doing in prison?
— Books read. Bible. Delved into the "War and Peace" by Tolstoy, most of Solzhenitsyn, Georgi Markov … Red Cross sent such books. Then me and the TV set.
— Did you work?
— No, but I was offered repeatedly. Even requested.
After all, they took a lot of our machines, and to understand them could not. But I refused to somehow help them.
— Suggest you go over to their side?
— It is proposed to ask for political asylum, drawing heavenly life … cool videos) about the good fortune of a former "our." But I do not agree. Homeland — it is for me not an empty phrase.
— And if the Red Cross have not found?
— That would be terrible. After South Africa's court sentenced me to one hundred years. Then knock off fifty. But it's a lot, is not it?
Captivity ended suddenly and as a very ordinary. One morning, he was told to get dressed: blue overalls, shoes. Today will be the court announced on the road, you have killed soldiers South Africa, on the battlefield counted decent corpses.
They passed the wooden barracks, flashed the same, only brick, turned to gray rectangular building. Guards, translators. No one else. Everything is closed, clogged up tight.
There are no windows, lights maintained artificially.
The whole "trial" lasted twenty minutes. He said, you bandit. Judged not only for murder, for the use of weapons for resisting arrest. For multiple offenses carried a sentence: 100 years of hard labor. Unique, however, in the South African law. Took into account that killed his wife, his colleagues, threw 50. Pestretzoff bowed jokingly, merci.
However, a compromise is possible. He — explained — refuses to go back to Russia, and it confers freedom. Now. Let chooses.
Military transport plane suffered a prisoner at the very south of the country in Cape Town. The newspapers Pestretzoff read that in neutral waters appeared our warship "Kazbek". Not him right? Yuarovtsy responded immediately, locked up in an underground prison. Of course, the "Kazbek" not heard of the warrant. The ship refueled and left.
Fifty Years of Solitude!
Not forced to work — is not allowed. Taken out for a walk. On the street — herbs, flowers all year round.
A year later, Ensign brought the radio, set the video. The camera is not closed. He lost in conjectures. Not for nothing it all. Really, despite a fantastic time, the release is not far off?
— Instinct had not deceived him. You exchanged … Remember that day?
— Of course, I remember. Twentieth November eighty-second year …
A week later I was in Russia.
Pestretzoff exchanged for captured Cuban American pilot. Yuarovtsy recognized only exchange. The wounded were exchanged for the wounded, the dead — the dead.
Exchange and fly to the capital of Zambia was planned at the end of September.
In October — as well.
Reasons not to be named. November holidays have passed, and there — sad news from Moscow, died secretary general. It was not until Pestretzoff.
And here at last! With the American pilot, they met face to face — just like in the movie "Dead Season".
Before that Nicholas was instructed: you have to shake hands with each other. Pestretzoff boiled said as snapped: "Murderers do not shake hands". And walked past in silence, eyeing the "exchange half of the" withering look.
— How to meet you at home? Can be awarded?
— Nothing I did not rewarded. But the work back to the same (maintenance platoon commander) and in the same part, accepted.
Year for the three considered the issuing authority of the war party. That's it.
What a psychologist could have diagnosed him? Though it took top division, but not before the service was Pestretzoff.
Terrible, difficult to explain condition — depression, undue irritability, desire to retire — over him.
His conversation, no one could. He tried to appear less in public. Loneliness — also a kind of prisoner.
No family, no children. Empty.
Filed a report: "Please send to provide international assistance to Afghanistan …" Revenge wanted, no matter who, just to take revenge. Then feel better.
They gave him the gate turn. Has not passed since returned again to climb?
Ensign was eager to fight. Extinguish that desire, not so, however, natural for a military man could only quiet, peaceful family happiness. And fate rewarded Pestretzoff. He met a good woman, and a great joy it is now — the children. Victor, Valerie, Alyosha, twins Natasha and Nadia.
After much trouble a spacious four-room apartment divided in Kaliningrad father of a family. Note to the highest command of the capital.
In this odyssey yuarskaya now Guard senior warrant officer is not over. Cause new trouble was little message I.DZhL.Pauella captain, chief executive detained in barracks Voortrekkerhugte: "The total cash loan South Africa to N.F.Pestretsova is 1972.61 rand." About fifteen hundred dollars — a payment for pyatnadtsatimesyachny prisoner. Plus interest.
Red Cross sent a Pestretzoff Iniurcolleguia from there — to the Ministry of Defence. "What was supposed to, paid, and with South Africa, we have no relationship." And damn them, the money is not Pestretzoff cheapskate, but too high a price for them cry, sorry missed.
"Come on a scene, you will achieve nothing" — dismissed officer in colonel jacket in another visit Guard senior warrant officer in the white-stone. Pestretzoff and squinted, not giving as to American, hands out. "
(Apresyan G. Stepanov E. executed in Pretoria on Wednesday. Secret, № 7,1992).