Chief Epidemiologist of the USSR Navy

In Africa, they treated captives according to the rules of the International Geneva Convention, but God save everyone from the Chechen captivity

An epidemic in the tropics is a horrible thing: incredible heat, malaria, poisonous creatures and killer flies. It is becoming even more horrible if there is a war in a tropic area. The chief epidemiologist of the USSR Navy, the world-known scientist, a very experienced doctor, had to be very tough about everything under such conditions. His name is Yury Nosov (known by his literary nom de guerre as Yury Pakhomov). In addition to numerous scientific works, this person is the author of a lot of novels that have been translated into many foreign languages. Now Yury Pakhomov is the Secretary of the Russian Union of Writers.

Despite his age, Yury Pakhomov continues his writing and public activities. He has been a part of all local conflicts in Africa, Vietnam, Afghanistan, he is currently trying to understand the Chechen tragedy - he came to the Chechen city of Khankala for that purpose. Yury Pakhomov is certain that the war has only one face, which is very brutal and ruthless. Time may change, there might be certain strategic differences, but the moral side always remains the same. All true books about war confirm that.  The Chechen war is the most horrible one, because it does not have any rules, everything is extremely bare about this war. "In Africa, they treated captives according to the rules of the International Geneva Convention, but God save everyone from the Chechen captivity," says Pakhomov.

Looking back at his life, the writer often recollects Africa. Before he had to go to war, he had been living in those countries for many years, working as a specialist for hospitals construction, communication means and so on. "We used to build bases in Somalia, Berber, we were working all over Africa," the writer remembers.

Africa conquered and charmed Yury Pakhomov - he fell in love with the continent. He admires its virgin nature, its people, the beauty of African women with long legs and necks, big velvet eyes and the gracious step. African black beauties often confused Russian marines, because they did not cover their breasts with clothes, as a rule. Yury Pakhomov says that he often saw African women carrying huge baskets on their heads, while little girls were walking beside them with empty cans on the top of their heads.

The behavior of a Russian person is Africa is something really special - it is worth paying a lot of attention to. At first, a Russian individual is afraid of everything: snakes, crocodiles, poisonous insects, cockroaches the size of a man's fist, tsetse flies and mosquitoes. In a very short period of time, in about a week, a Russian would adapt to absolutely everything and would disregard the things that local people always try to avoid. "I had to struggle with that fantastic peculiarity. I had to explain to grown-up men that one should not grab a black mamba by its tail  to take it out of a hose - it is the most poisonous snake in Africa. Sometimes I had to stop sailors from catching big scorpions. They would use them for souvenirs, rolling them over in the transparent plastic tar. Once, I saw a sailor diving to catch extremely dangerous shellfish and putting it in his swimming trunks. I had to write a special book to teach people how to behave in tropic countries."

"When we were building bases in Berber and Somalia, there were a lot of things happening around us. The situation was terrible - people would shoot each other, not the enemy, our tanks would attack our people. That was even scarier than in Hanoi or Cam Rahn, when Soviet troops had to walk along mined fields. No one could guarantee their lives, when they were crawling in the desert and bombs would fall down here and there. Yet, it was very strange to see Shell's oil refineries safe and sound there, surrounded by ruins. They preferred not to touch the Americans."

During his service in the navy, Yury Pakhomov had friends among pilots and sailors. He thinks of himself as of a marine writer: "My fate was taking me through numerous countries and events, but I eventually found myself in literature. I have been a sailor, a submariner, I was a naval commander for ten years, but first and foremost, I am a marine doctor."

A lot of his novels are devoted to the sea and the people of the sea, who have glorified the Russian Navy. It is painful for him to think that the country often used the "golden alarm clock principle" - taking a precious golden alarm clock and using it as a hammer. Pakhomov has several stories connected with the Gospel. One of them was written in Cyprus. The writer said, it came upon him like a push from God. Yury Pakhomov was overwhelmed, when he had an opportunity to touch the Rock of the Tomb in Jerusalem. "I was totally struck with the feeling, I was 67 at that time," he said. To write a book, or to paint a painting means to create, to become like the Creator to a certain extent, which is a sin, albeit a small one. Even if it is true, let this sin be forgiven to everyone who writes and creates.

Nilina Mishina

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Author`s name Olga Savka