TRUE STORIES is a British made documentary series dealing with current affair issues from across the world done in a slightly fly on the wall style. To be truthful I can `t remember most of the editions but I can remember two - " The betrayed " and " Soldat " - because I was shocked and sickened by what I saw
" The betrayed " follows a group of Russian women as they travel to the war torn republic of Chechnya to look for their sons who are missing either believed killed or captured . This is really heart breaking stuff because the Russian government don`t really seem to care about what`s happened to these mothers teenage conscript sons who had to go there under their own steam . It even includes a sequence with a Russian army officer showing the women a Chechin rebel newsreel of captured Russian prisoners with the officer asking if they can recognise any of their sons ! Think about that , the Soviets were the first nation in history to send a man into space but nearly 40 years later the Russian army are incapable of identifying its soldiers who have been taken prisoner . And we`re shown in graphic detail the human cost of war . Bodies of the dead lie on muddy ground under a grey sky missing limbs and faces . And the cameramen have got some guts as they take footage from the frontline during firefights which are somewhat bizarrely screened with a Europop soundtrack . People often hype SAVING PRIVATE RYAN as being the most realistic depiction of war they`ve ever seen - BULLS**T . If someone gets killed in SPR they can always get recast in another role in another film . This is the most graphic depiction of war you will ever see because it happened and proves what Henry Stimson said " That the face of war is the face of death "
War is hell but " Soldat " shows that peace can be just as hellish in the modern Russian army where newly arrived conscripts suffer " The rule of the grandfathers " the " grandfathers " being older conscripts who have served some time in the army . This rule is conversely illegal and part of the culture of the Russian army , everyone knows it goes on and that over one thousand conscripts a year die in barrack room bullying which means many Russian men go into hiding rather than serve their time in the army and who can blame them as we`re shown countless scenes of the vodka swilling grandfathers beating , slapping , kicking and threatening new arrivals . The most shocking scene is when a Russian officer finds out what`s going on and tries to discipline the drunken grandfathers whose response is to laugh and make rude signs behind the officer`s back . If you`ve been a professional soldier or even if you haven`t you won`t believe what you`re seeing from the billets of an army that was legendary for its fighting spirit in the defence of Moscow , Leningrad , Stalingrad , Kursk and the battle of Berlin . I hate myself for saying this but I hope there`s more than a few Chechin bullets with the names of grandfathers on them
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