In Multipolarity

By Nikolai Yurenev, published in Russian in The Publizist, Dec 4, 2015

Translated to English by

War destruction in Kuwait in 1991

War destruction in Kuwait in 1991

The putrid smell of war draws near. It is still difficult to make out, and for many—altogether impossible, but war is coming for us. As for me, I have not been able to shake off the feeling that the Third World War has already begun. For now, we still deceive ourselves that these are only local conflicts and nothing more…

But the ranks of our friends are catastrophically dwindling, while enemies grow in number…

Today, Russia has already opened two fronts: the Ukrainian in the Donbas and the Syrian. The third one—Turkish—is on its way, and from there, God knows where else.

There is still no single battlefront in this war. It is localized in all the corners of the globe. Historians will one day identify its starting point, the genesis of the Third World War. Perhaps this line has already been crossed, after all, the Second World War also began not on June 22, 1941, but in September of 1939.

If we take a look at Syria, this conflict has already drawn in NATO, Russia and fifty other states. How is it not a world war?

A Russian warplane was shot down by Turkey, a member of NATO. Our military has, in return, promised to shoot down Turkish planes. An S-400 missile complex has been installed, Just imagine if an American plane is brought down. In the place of Turks, this is exactly the kind of provocation I would arrange. And that’s when all hell will break loose.

No, I am not defeatist, nor am I a panic-monger. If it’s my duty, so be it. “And we all to the last man shall die fighting for this!”

It is just that many of today’s patriots from the so-called “sofa regiment” have not even the slightest idea of what war truly is. They think that it’s the same as watching TV talk shows with Soloviev, Tolstoy and Babayan, enthralled by the languorous excitement of pride in “our boys”, and in themselves, so patriotic-minded. Pride in Satanovskiy and in Eskin, sons of Israel, who so sweetly incite our bellicosity.

But war is the sour smell of cordite–“smokeless gunpowder”–that refuses to leave your nostrils. The smell of blazing diesel fuel and rubber, the smell of metal melting from the unbearable heat. It is the cloying sugary smell of burning fat. Human fat.

It is the smell of footcloths that have not been washed in a week. The stench of shit and piss from a latrine, used shyly at first, hiding behind a piece of plywood or a scrap of camouflage scrim, and later without a care for any decency.

War is the smell of a corpse decomposing in the intense sun, with dark-green rot and with eyes pecked out by the birds. It is the sight of a corpse, left lying at the foot of an elevation exposed to enemy fire, about whom no one gives a damn.

War is the smell of cheap cigarettes mixed in with fumes from homebrewed gut-rot after a wake in memory of the guys who did not come back after yesterday’s failed attack.

The smell of war is the scent of baked apples hanging from a charred apple tree near the ruins of a home where no one will ever live again. War smells like burned-to-the-root ripe ears of grain.

The smell of war is the gangrenous stench of field hospitals, the smell of bloodied bandages for which the funny ginger boy from yesterday’s transfer no longer has any use. He died from a jagged piece of shrapnel to the stomach…

And wafting above all this—the aromas of expensive cologne and cigars in the office of a politician turning a profit “for the war”. The incomparable scent of ink on freshly-printed banknotes.


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