We were constantly being pressured psychologically, tested for weakness. One sign of weakness, and it’s the end—they thrash you so hard that you never get up again. Once I was ambushed by a group of Chechen upperclassmen. In fighting them off, I cracked the skull of one of them using a steel pipe. They stopped fighting and dragged their casualty away. The next day in school I was approached by some Chechens I didn’t know, who challenged me to a knife fight—to the death. When I showed up, there were fifteen of them waiting for me, all grown men. I thought that they would simply kill me.
But they respected the fact that I came alone and didn’t show fear, and they put forward one fighter. They gave me a knife, while the Chechen approached me unarmed. Then I tossed the knife away and we fought with bare hands. As a result of that fight, I ended up in hospital with fractures. When I was released I was met by the father of the lad whose head I smashed in with a pipe. He said to me: “I see that you are a warrior and that you do not fear death. Be a guest in my house.” After that we had a long talk. He told me about adats(Chechen tribal customs) and about the upbringing which turns Chechen boys into warriors. He told me that we Russians are faggots who forgot their roots, stopped listening to their elders, turned into alcoholics, degenerated into a herd of cattle and stopped being a people. That was the moment when I started to change, or, if you will, to become myself.