Encounter


The sun shines on the mirror of Lake Sevan, the peaks of the Karabagh border mountains in the distance are still white. The hill of Sevan Monastery is filled with the scent of wild flowers. In the parking lot I shake hands with the familiar old guard in the parking area. Как дела, how are you? I ask. По тихоньку как в Чехословакии в 1968-ом году, so-so, as in Czechoslovakia in sixty-eight, he says. I look at him questioningly. “Do you know what was there?” he asks. “Of course, the Soviet invasion.” “Well, it was us. We were stationed in Poland at that time, our unit was the first to be sent to Czechoslovakia. The Czechs fired desperately.” “Did many of you die?” “Very many. The pidaras Czechs made it so by letting the beginning of the column pass, and then they massacred the end. But anyway, we are still alive.”

As we come back from the monastery, he asks me: “Where did you come from?” “We are Hungarians.” His eyes shine up, he offers his hand. “Well, then we were comrades in arms!” He counterpoints the dubious honor: “And by the way, two-zero!” Thank God, now for a while the first thing that comes to mind to Armenians will not be the axe murderer whom we extradited to Azerbaijan.