The Fangs Behind the Mask: Everyday Life in Wartime Chechnya

McSorley, Kevin (2015). The Fangs Behind the Mask: Everyday Life in Wartime Chechnya. In: Sylvester, Christine ed. Masquerades of War. War Politics and Experience. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 118–135.



The chapter examines the mundane details of how the war was experienced, felt and negotiated at an individual and interactional level by participants that were affected by it. It aims to illuminate not just the central instability and ontological insecurity of life in Chechnya during wartime, but also how this chaotic situation was experienced and negotiated at the everyday level of the personal politics of survival and coping. At one level, Babchenko and Politkovskaya's writing is an impassioned ethical attempt to try and reveal the metaphorical fangs behind the mask, to expose the wider hidden rationalities and mendacities of the war in Chechnya. Babchenko recounts bewildered conversations that regularly take place in the federal army where his comrades sarcastically discuss the latest performative political utterances and official strategic definitions of the situation. It concludes that the restoration of constitutional order and the counter-terrorist operation are nothing but meaningless words that are cited to justify the murder of thousands of people.

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