I was in Budyonnovsk on 14 June 1995, when Chechen separatists raided the town and took hostages, killing 129. Twenty years later, this town in southern Russia is still known as the 'town of black shawls'.
Valery Pavlukevich, who recently passed away, was a regular contributor to oDR. In his last appearance on these pages, he tells Michael Lawrence about the samizdat scene in his home city of Kuibyshev, now Samara.
This August, we begin a special series devoted to the 25th anniversary of August 1991. Join us to discuss the fate of reforms, progress and the pluralist world we envisaged — and lost. Get in touch to discuss your ideas.