There are many dark pages in any story. Deportation became one of the most painful stages for the peoples of the Caucasus mountains in the XNUMXth century.
More than six hundred thousand people received the stigma of "special settler" and were forcibly expelled from their native lands. In a matter of hours, people already wounded by war and deprivation received a blow of fate that changed their lives forever. November 2, February 23, March 8 are dates that should never be forgotten.
Eldar Zhanikayev и Magomed Kumykov in the video project "I returned home" they told the story of soldiers who returned with victory to their native villages, filled not with a holiday, but with a suffocating emptiness. The video reflects four real stories of soldiers who found their hearth extinguished: Kambulat Gaisanov, Magomed Khochuev, Yunus Abdulshaidov and Khamit Kanamatov.
We were told about how the work on the video and the song itself went: the author of the song is Fatima Akbulatova, the performer is Eldar Zhanikayev and the director is Magomed Kumykov.
How did you get the idea to show the deportation through the eyes of a returning soldier?
Since my Balkar people, along with other Caucasian peoples, were deported, I naturally know well about this tragedy. I have heard stories about this since childhood. Every family has its own stories, its own pain, its own losses. But to write the words of this song, I was inspired by Ruben Muradyan's film "The Road to the Edge of Life", 1995 about the deportation of the Balkar people. There is just such a moment when a soldier returned from the war to his aul and saw this tragedy.
The idea came from the words of the song itself. Such stories, perhaps, have heard or are known to all people whose peoples were subject to repression. The soldiers, not believing the words of their commanders, still tried to return to their land. The video is based on the story of 4 veterans - a Chechen, Ingush, Karachai and Balkar. They talk about their emotions when they received the black news from their home.
You know, this is a separate topic in the history of resettlement, when a soldier who sheds blood on the fronts of the Second World War suddenly receives the stigma of "special settlers" along with his slandered people. They are taken away from their native land and are trying to wipe their history and culture off the face of the earth so that the world will forget about them. Magomed and I often discussed this topic, and when I saw Fatima's amazing poems for the first time, I realized that I had to sing this song and tell this story.
How did you work on the project?
Magomed Kumykov: Eldar Zhanikayev liked the idea, and we began to select actors for the roles of soldiers. If it turned out to be easy to find the guys, then the veterans had to be looked for, since there were only a few of them, all connections and acquaintances were connected. All of them, unfortunately, are no longer in health. Combat wounds and advanced age have an effect. The youngest veteran is 99 years old.
Then we started looking for locations. They had to be iconic too. In Ingushetia, the choice fell on the Erzi tower complex, in Karachay-Cherkessia, on the village of Khurzuk with its unique wooden architecture. In Kabardino-Balkaria, the shooting took place in the village with a tragic history of Sautu, and in the Chechen Republic - in Shira-Yurt - an open-air museum complex.
Everyone who literally heard about the subject provided assistance in filming. Everyone extended a helping hand - from the Minister of Tourism of the Chechen Republic Muslim Baytaziev to road guards.
If the stories of the veterans evoked certain emotions, then the acting added new facets. I hope they will not leave anyone indifferent.
For example, the Honored Artist of the Republic of Ingushetia Lom-Ali Torshkhoev admitted before filming that he had not yet had a chance to cry at the camera, he was afraid that he would succeed. But as soon as he played the song on the set, he literally burst into tears.
I like to set goals and objectives for the actors right before shooting. In this case, they give the most honest emotions.
In the course of your work, you interviewed representatives of different peoples of the Caucasus who have traveled this difficult path. Tell us how similar or different their stories, emotions, memories are now. What unites their words and views?
Magomed Kumykov: Veterans have the same sense of some betrayal. They still do not understand how and for what it was possible to expel a whole people, while its best representatives gave their lives on the fronts of the Great Patriotic War.
Why do you think, after many years, this wound of nations has not healed and will it ever heal?
Fatima Akbulatova: In my opinion, people perceive injustice more acutely and most painfully. It is the grievance for undeserved accusations of betrayal and the subsequent repression of entire nations that are painful in the hearts of more than one generation who survived this tragedy.
Today, as long as our grandparents and those who have heard stories about terrible events from them are still alive, the memory of life in exile is still alive. But, as they say, time heals, life cannot be stopped, especially considering the global processes that change our reality every day. In this regard, my answer to the question "will this wound heal someday?" may sound strange, but I wish it didn't happen. As a sign of respect for our roots, for those innocently killed from hardships and hardships during the years of resettlement, we cannot, we have no right to forget about it. Our language, traditions and history are what make us Balkars.
Eldar Zhanikayev: This must be remembered and it is obvious. Firstly, because our human duty is to honor the memory of these people, that in the end the peoples survived, they preserved their heritage, identity and culture. In gratitude for this, we must value and cherish this memory, pass it on to future generations, and be useful to our people. Secondly, we must keep an understanding of what these events lead to. And war and deportations are things that never end well.
Magomed Kumykov: Will this wound heal? They say that time heals. But the wound is too deep and lacerated to forget that. Yes, perhaps we must not forget. At least for the sake of such a thing never happens again and with any people.
What emotions did you experience while working on the project?
Fatima Akbulatova: I was afraid that I would not be able to convey the feelings experienced by the soldier who returned from the war to the devastated house. I really wanted it to sound sincere and truthful.
Eldar Zhanikayev: It is very difficult to describe the emotions that we experienced, that the peoples experienced, but we tried to do it as naturally as possible, since they overwhelmed us. Hope we did it.
What should new generations do to preserve this memory and prevent the recurrence of any manifestation of nationalism in the future?
Fatima Akbulatova: The issue of preserving the events of March 8, 1944 in the memory of generations, in my opinion, is part of a larger issue of preserving us as a people. It is more capacious and complex than it might seem at first glance. The solution is to strengthen the connection between generations, to promote traditions and the native language, to preserve and reproduce important events in the life of the people through theatrical performances, films, songs, poems, art exhibitions, thematic evenings with the involvement of representatives of other repressed peoples.
It is necessary to involve more young people in this process and use the information platforms that are popular among the younger generation. Nationalism is a concept that is being talked about a lot today. Modern society should not be afraid to admit and talk about their mistakes, only this can save us from their repetition.
What would you like to wish the audience on the day of the premiere?
Fatima Akbulatova: I wish peace and prosperity to my Karachai-Balkar people and to everyone who suffered the same tragedy. Let not a single person be subjected to such terrible tests.
I wish all of us to have more reasons to write funny songs about happiness, friendship and love in our life!
Eldar Zhanikayev: On the day of the premiere, I want to tell the audience that first of all, no matter what nationality we are, we are people. And we are equal before God, who created us all.
Magomed Kumykov: I would like to thank everyone who took part in the work, helped and supported us wherever they went: in the Chechen Republic, the Republic of Ingushetia, Karachay-Cherkessia and Kabardino-Balkaria! We would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism of the Chechen Republic in the person of the Minister Muslim Baitaziev and the Grozny State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company for their help. Russian State Music and Drama Theater of the Republic of Ingushetia and Honored Artist of the Republic of Ingushetia Bela Bazorkina. In Karachay-Cherkessia - Hanafi Khasanov deputy. director of the historical and cultural museum-reserve of the KChR.
I thank our film crew: cameraman - Islam Azamatov, drone operator - Khusen Shadiev, assistants - Elmira Zharashueva and Azamat Chechenov, editor - Mikhail Taov, and, of course, actors: Lom-Ali Torshkhoev, Shamil Mukayev, Murat Gilyakhov, Abubakar. Also, I would like to express my gratitude to the Kavkaz Music label for supporting our creative projects.