The War in August, 2008. Three years later. The eyewitnesses are telling. Irina Maldzigova

Sat, 06/08/2011 - 18:18

Maldzigova Irina Vazhaevna, 1984 year of birth, an inhabitant of Tskhinval:

That summer was very hot and dry. My son, Alimchik, was not two months yet. He was born on June, 19, he was very capricious child. Probably he felt the tight situation which reigned not only in each house, but also all over the town, as if hovering in the air. I was nervous, because my husband all time disappeared at his work, as well as all the other men, defending our Republic.

On August, 7 there was a strong firing in the afternoon. My mother had gone to the country. That night my husband has already returned home, and just at that moment the hypocritical appeal of Saakashvili to our people to stop cease-fire and to sit down at the negotiating table was transmitting on TV. Silence fell. Everybody has breathed with relief, people were happy; they went out of doors, encouraging each other. Alimchik, at last, for the first time has fallen asleep we, too, have gone to bed. I managed to sleep only about 15 minutes. Suddenly awful explosions resounded, shaking all around. I have seized the child and as mad began to run around the apartment. I have quickly collected, all that I could - children's things, porridge, - into the package and we have gone down on the ground floor, to my neighbor Dzhioeva Julietta, we, ourselves, live on the first floor. We feel safer in this apartment; because there was a two-storeyed building nearby and its walls could protect us from bullets and debris of shells. The child cried unceasingly, he has not closed his eyes till the morning, but the city bombardment has already become heavier and it was not safe to stay in the house. We have decided to run across into a cellar of the neighboring five-storeyed house. There were a lot of people there - old men, women, children. At daybreak there has come calm, there was an improbable hope that the night horror would not take place any more. But it was the deceptive calmness. Soon bombardment has begun again and did not stop any more several days. We were near the hill which is called «the oak grove» on the Western part of the town. There were Georgian tanks there and they were firing the town unceasingly. Soon the roof of our house was enveloped in flames. To remain here was dangerous - fire was approaching and we began suffocating with a smoke. It was not only horror, but bodily fear. The young guy with the automatic machine, standing at the entrance and always going out, offered me to carry the child in his arms. He took Alimchik, has pressed him to his breast, and covered him with the big downy pillow. It could be, though weak, but some protection against debris. He ran the first and then we followed him. I do not understand hitherto how we have reached the safer place. There were more people in the other cellar. Basically all of us stood on our feet or squatting. One old experienced woman, who passed the war in the nineties, has brought a mattress and a pillow and has spread them on the shelf. Probably, habitually, she was planning to wait till the bombardment was over and she could have a little sleep. But having seen me with the child, she put him there and all the next days and nights, which we spent in the cellar, Alimchik was laying on the place of that compassionate old woman who had no place even to sit down. It was very damp, stuffy and cold in the cellar. The child could not sleep, he was crying all time, nobody could calm him down. I am so grateful to my neighbor Madina, for her aid and support in those awful days of my life. Only she managed to calm down my son, rocking him to sleep. There were many small children in the cellar. The guys who were protecting us, in the small intervals of calm ran out and brought foodstuff to the children and also dry alcohol for heating porridge, milk. We have stayed in this cellar till the end of the military actions. Sometimes I was offered to take me off to Vladikavkaz with my child, but we did not risk, knowing that the road at the exit of the town was being fired by the Georgians. As I learnt later, one of those cars had burnt down, attempting to leave the town; the direct hit smashed it to pieces. When the 58th army of the Russian troops entered the town, we were brought water and products - it was a humanitarian aid. People left their cellars, tried to put in order the results of the military devastation. On August, 12 we went to Vladikavkaz. We have been saved by miracle. Many people had not luck. We`ll never forget them, we have no right to forget them. I wish our children would never suffer the horrors of war.