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Interview with Major Liadov of Internal Service:

Part 1

[cessation of recording]

11:31:01 PM liadovnikanor: It's off. Look for yourself.

11:31:18 PM irinarhovkassian: I believe you.
11:31:42 PM irinarhovkassian: ...but you always have a choice.

11:32:48 PM liadovnikanor: ...Not if I want you to open up for me.

11:35:19 PM irinarhovkassian: Like I said, I don't want to make baseless accusations against someone who may be innocent. Also...I feel that my judgement regarding this person is not impartial. I might be biased against him due to conflicts we've had.

11:37:23 PM liadovnikanor: Conflicts. We all have those.->
11:38:50 PM liadovnikanor: Was this within squad?

11:39:00 PM irinarhovkassian: Yes.

11:40:23 PM liadovnikanor: ...I don't know any of these men, Captain.

11:41:20 PM irinarhovkassian: It doesn't matter if you do or not. I know them.

11:43:27 PM liadovnikanor: Tell you what, Captain. Before you go scrive me a name, why don't you tell me in general terms, why you think this individual might be suspect.

11:43:44 PM irinarhovkassian: All right. ->
11:45:52 PM irinarhovkassian: First of all, I don't know of any liaisons between him and Majors Ocelot or Major Raikov. I'm basing this on his personality and behavior. But again, I'm biased because...he and I have a personal conflict.

11:46:56 PM liadovnikanor: I'll decide if you're biased, Captain. What is the nature of this personal conflict?

I'm skeptical of your bias, based on your reticence to speak.

11:49:31 PM irinarhovkassian: He displayed what I thought was irrational hostility toward me within a few moments of our first meeting. I'm not an outgoing person. I'm sure that's obvious to you. But he took my manner to be a personal affront. Though...he was feeling ill at the time. That might have been the reason.

11:50:20 PM liadovnikanor: ...I see. Was there a violent undertone to this animosity?

11:53:38 PM irinarhovkassian: I don't know. There could have been. I didn't personally feel threatened. It seemed more petty to me than anything.

11:55:06 PM liadovnikanor: You thought it might be because of his malady? So I assume matters improved when he returned.

11:56:10 PM irinarhovkassian: They became more complicated.

11:56:26 PM liadovnikanor: I don't understand.

11:58:07 PM irinarhovkassian: He was ill for some time. By the time he returned...I was sleeping with his lover. So now he has a rational reason to dislike me.

12:00:26 AM liadovnikanor: [laugh]

I can see how you earned your nickname, Irinarhov. You don't fuck around when you want to recompense a bastard.

12:00:48 AM irinarhovkassian: It wasn't like that.

12:01:47 AM liadovnikanor: What was it like?

...It must have been good.

12:02:48 AM irinarhovkassian: ... ->
12:05:08 AM irinarhovkassian: I didn't come here looking to get into a relationship. I honestly didn't want one again. It had been a long time and I...was fine. But...I was being actively pursued.

12:06:13 AM liadovnikanor: I understand Ocelots are a fairly ruthless breed. [laugh]

12:06:33 AM irinarhovkassian: Yes.

12:06:48 AM liadovnikanor: And you relented to this man?

12:07:10 AM irinarhovkassian: Yes.

12:07:46 AM liadovnikanor: Were you aware of his enmeshment at the time?

12:08:06 AM irinarhovkassian: Yes.

12:12:33 AM liadovnikanor: How did you come to be aware of it? Was he forthcoming?

12:15:03 AM irinarhovkassian: I figured it out. He wasn't hiding anything. I understood it to be a somewhat casual arrangement between them, though they are longtime friends.

12:15:32 AM liadovnikanor: So...in essence, not a lover. More of a convenience?

12:15:56 AM irinarhovkassian: A friend. A good friend.

12:18:46 AM liadovnikanor: And what is he to you?

12:21:04 AM irinarhovkassian: I love him. I don't know what you're supposed to call that.

12:22:21 AM liadovnikanor: ...

I don't either. Fortunate, I suppose. It's all too rare.

But you've surprised me, Major.

...Captain.

12:22:38 AM irinarhovkassian: Why?

12:23:15 AM liadovnikanor: ...I had assumed...well, not that it matters.

12:23:29 AM irinarhovkassian: What?

12:27:08 AM liadovnikanor: You seemed...jaded. Hermetic.

12:28:03 AM irinarhovkassian: I am. But... ->
12:28:16 AM irinarhovkassian: [soft sigh] ->
12:29:01 AM irinarhovkassian: Life is too uncertain to deny yourself...something good.

12:30:46 AM liadovnikanor: ...

I would agree with you, Irinarhov.

12:31:16 AM irinarhovkassian: Good.

12:32:36 AM liadovnikanor: How did this man come to know you'd slept with his friend?

12:34:17 AM irinarhovkassian: He told him. And...the situation really isn't resolved yet.

12:34:41 AM liadovnikanor: He hasn't braced you about it?

12:35:28 AM irinarhovkassian: No. Not really.

12:38:54 AM liadovnikanor: Aside from his jealous disposition, is there anything else noteworthy about this...individual...that leads you to suspect him?

12:41:00 AM irinarhovkassian: No. Well...except for the fact that he wasn't around on the night of the murder. He was in the infirmary. And I'm sure Khostov can confirm that he really was ill, and probably physically incapable of murdering a man in that way. ->
12:41:26 AM irinarhovkassian: I'm not even sure why I brought this up.

12:45:15 AM liadovnikanor: Well, it isn't exactly confession, but it might do well enough here.

12:45:42 AM irinarhovkassian: Maybe.

12:47:09 AM liadovnikanor: ...you don't have to tell me his name.

...Kasya.

12:47:41 AM irinarhovkassian: ...all right. ->
12:47:51 AM irinarhovkassian: ...thank you.

12:48:21 AM liadovnikanor: But if you have any more inclinations...you'll come to me. Davai?

12:48:28 AM irinarhovkassian: Yes.

12:51:38 AM liadovnikanor: Good. [pause] I know you're a good man, Irinarhov. Better man than I, more than likely. I knew it from that first day.

12:52:50 AM irinarhovkassian: Good men say that about other men.

12:54:23 AM liadovnikanor: I doubt you felt that way at your sentencing.

12:55:11 AM irinarhovkassian: I accepted whatever consequences would come before I pulled the trigger.

12:55:46 AM liadovnikanor: ...I know. And actually...well, it didn't turn out half badly. I think.

12:56:11 AM irinarhovkassian: I know. I can't complain. ->
12:56:19 AM irinarhovkassian: Thank you. For everything.

12:57:20 AM liadovnikanor: Since we have the tape turned off...is there anything you want to know?

12:58:45 AM irinarhovkassian: Yes...
8:16:10 PM irinarhovkassian: You said you had a condition, earlier. Are...you all right?

8:18:38 PM liadovnikanor: I take care to be. So long as I'm vigilant about taking the shots. I don't administer them myself. Squeamish. ->
8:19:59 PM liadovnikanor: [slight laugh] Irony, thy name is-?

8:21:23 PM irinarhovkassian: All right. I didn't mean to be...overly personal, comrade Major. I was just wondering.

8:25:04 PM liadovnikanor: Not at all. It's congenital. But I do require them. Pernicious anemia. One complication.

8:25:53 PM irinarhovkassian: I see.

8:36:36 PM liadovnikanor: Diabetic, Captain. From birth. ->
8:38:11 PM liadovnikanor: Twice daily, or I would go into shock, I suppose.

8:38:41 PM irinarhovkassian: It's good you don't. Go into shock.

8:39:11 PM liadovnikanor: I prefer it that way. Death can be rapid.
8:39:46 PM liadovnikanor: Was there anything else that you wanted to know, off the record, or would you prefer I resume tape?

8:40:35 PM irinarhovkassian: Actually...there was something else, off the record. Though I do have have things to say on the record as well, afterward.

8:41:36 PM liadovnikanor: I hope so, Captain. You've been a pleasure to query so far. I dread what lies ahead.

8:42:11 PM irinarhovkassian: Do you have to interview everyone on base?

8:44:41 PM liadovnikanor: Everyone relevant.

8:45:28 PM irinarhovkassian: That will take a while.

8:46:37 PM liadovnikanor: We've gotten a fair way through. Rakitin is taking care of your commander. I feared a conflict of interest, so I recused myself from duty in that interview.

8:47:01 PM irinarhovkassian: Why?

8:49:25 PM liadovnikanor: The questions that needed to be asked were based on certain abilities of his men...I think I stand a little too close to reliably interrogate the issue without bringing my own prejudice in.

8:49:52 PM irinarhovkassian: I see.

8:55:43 PM liadovnikanor: You seem to be holding back, Irinarhov. We can be candid here- we're alone. Just two men, conversing. ->

I can see a question in your eyes. I won't know what it is until you ask.

8:56:11 PM irinarhovkassian: All right. ->
8:56:22 PM irinarhovkassian: ... ->
8:56:52 PM irinarhovkassian: It's about...Lieutenant Isaev's brother.

8:58:53 PM liadovnikanor: [pause]

...Ilarion?

9:00:18 PM irinarhovkassian: I think so. Lasha?

9:14:54 PM liadovnikanor: Yes...Absolutely. Lasha is his name. [pause] He has a sister, too. Mariyja.

9:15:43 PM irinarhovkassian: About...Lasha... ->
9:16:02 PM irinarhovkassian: Is he a good man?

9:16:34 PM liadovnikanor: ...I wish you had asked that differently.

9:16:50 PM irinarhovkassian: You don't have to answer.

9:19:37 PM liadovnikanor: I don't mind. Not at all. [pause] ->
9:22:00 PM liadovnikanor: You see...he is a good man. In his fashion.

But not always in everyone else's.

9:23:30 PM irinarhovkassian: And to Lieutenant Isaev?

9:26:18 PM liadovnikanor: He would do anything for Andriusha.

[soft cough]

How much do you know about Ilarion?

9:27:30 PM irinarhovkassian: A little. I don't need details. I just wanted to know what you thought. That's all.

9:28:27 PM liadovnikanor: ...I think he's a hypocrite, and a shark. And one or the other...

...but not both.

9:31:35 PM irinarhovkassian: He's a complex person.

9:31:54 PM liadovnikanor: ...he was my closest comrade. Since we were children.

9:32:22 PM irinarhovkassian: But...now he's not?

9:37:49 PM liadovnikanor: He's ruthless, Captain. [pause] A very rarified breed. His affection is possession. His love is ferocious- for family, for comrades. But he will centralize his kingdom. And he will play chess.

I was his bishop, I suppose.

...We had a falling out before I went to Moscow.

9:40:29 PM irinarhovkassian: You don't...have to tell me any more. I just wanted to get your perspective.

9:40:59 PM liadovnikanor: I suppose he sends Andrei letters.

9:42:06 PM irinarhovkassian: Yes.

9:44:38 PM liadovnikanor: He's a good brother.

9:44:56 PM irinarhovkassian: All right. That's the part I was wondering about.

9:45:27 PM liadovnikanor: ...did Andrei mention Lasha? Recently?

9:47:11 PM irinarhovkassian: Well...it's all recent, from my point of view.

9:48:35 PM liadovnikanor: Naturally. [laugh] Yes.

...he wanted Andrei to come home to Petrograd. Badly.

9:49:33 PM irinarhovkassian: ...I see.

9:52:04 PM liadovnikanor: I think Andrei became what he is...to put space between them.

...Lasha's love is staggering, and he has no mercy. Andrei was like a hothouse flower in that world.

9:55:04 PM irinarhovkassian: It makes...sense.

10:02:56 PM liadovnikanor: And yet, Lasha does what he must. He does what no one else will. Their father...

Listen to me. You didn't ask for this screed.

10:04:04 PM irinarhovkassian: I don't mean to pry. It's not my business.

10:05:38 PM liadovnikanor: Not that I mind, Captain. Fair is fair, and nothing is off limits in a man to man discourse.

It's just...what brought Ilarion to mind? And how did you learn of him?

10:08:33 PM irinarhovkassian: Lieutenant Isaev told me a little bit about him. I was just curious, to hear your point of view.

10:09:15 PM liadovnikanor: ...are you close, you and Isaev? You seem to have forged a friendship. Mentorship?

10:10:12 PM irinarhovkassian: Major Ocelot assigned me to help refine his firearms technique.

10:14:22 PM liadovnikanor: Ah.....[laughter] That's touching.

Did he improve?

10:15:18 PM irinarhovkassian: Yes. He's a good student.

10:15:54 PM liadovnikanor: Better than your last student? [wry laugh]

10:16:41 PM irinarhovkassian: [snort] Anyone would be better than that.

10:22:18 PM liadovnikanor: From what Ocelot tells me, as far as target practice goes, even if he took willful aim, Isaev won't be any threat to civilians.

10:25:25 PM irinarhovkassian: I think Major Ocelot is so gifted his baseline for comparison is skewed.

10:26:06 PM liadovnikanor: That's very diplomatic of you.
10:28:23 PM liadovnikanor: So your lover doesn't mind you showing a young Ocelot how to better handle his weapons?

10:29:26 PM irinarhovkassian: ...no.

10:31:17 PM liadovnikanor: Andrei's friend...I don't recall his name...

10:31:36 PM irinarhovkassian: Ilya Imanov?

10:31:48 PM liadovnikanor: ...Yes, that's it.

10:33:34 PM irinarhovkassian: Yes?

10:39:23 PM liadovnikanor: What's his specialty? Do you know?

10:40:20 PM irinarhovkassian: No, I don't.

10:41:14 PM liadovnikanor: He doesn't like me.
10:41:18 PM liadovnikanor: [laugh]

10:41:41 PM irinarhovkassian: What did he do?

10:42:05 PM liadovnikanor: Nothing overt. His eyes say it all, frankly.

10:43:05 PM irinarhovkassian: I know what you mean.

liadovnikanor (2:09:12 PM): So is there anything else...before I turn the tape back on?

irinarhovkassian (2:13:29 PM): No, I don't think so.

liadovnikanor (2:14:53 PM): ...If it had been up to me, Irinarhov, there would have been no action taken.

irinarhovkassian (2:16:09 PM): I don't hold it against you. Or anyone. Something had to be done.

liadovnikanor (2:16:47 PM): They wanted to send you to the Zone.

irinarhovkassian (2:17:50 PM): ... ->
irinarhovkassian (2:18:02 PM): Then I owe you more than my thanks.

liadovnikanor (2:19:39 PM): You don't owe me anything. [pause] You didn't deserve to die in the North for what you did.

...I got a letter from Nasenko's mother.

She thanked us for our clemency.

irinarhovkassian (2:22:47 PM): ...oh. ->
irinarhovkassian (2:25:34 PM): I suppose...well. I guess that says something, then.

liadovnikanor (2:26:17 PM): She said...well, she said a lot of things.

...a mother always knows.
liadovnikanor (2:27:14 PM): She wanted to contact you, as well, but we were not authorized to give out your reassignment information.

Did she ever track you down?

irinarhovkassian (2:32:01 PM): No...I didn't know. I thought a lot about it, but I never thought about him having a mother. Somehow that didn't occur to me.

liadovnikanor (2:33:33 PM): Yes, a mother and a father and an older sister.
liadovnikanor (2:34:50 PM): Apparently the father wrote off his more troubling tendencies as boyish insouciance.

But I've seen boyish insouciance firsthand, comrade. The things she told me weren't it.

irinarhovkassian (2:36:15 PM): I guess it starts early. I guess it's always there.

liadovnikanor (2:38:49 PM): Trust me. [silence] It does.

I don't know why I told you this. I suppose I wanted you to know that someone knows your record is perfect-
liadovnikanor (2:39:06 PM): by that I mean...every kill justified, and without error.

irinarhovkassian (2:40:52 PM): ...thank you. It does...matter to me.

liadovnikanor (2:41:27 PM): She wanted to give you some things. His mother.
liadovnikanor (2:42:26 PM): Things Grigorii would have inherited, had he...not been removed by Providence, as she so poetically termed it.

irinarhovkassian (2:43:26 PM): But... ->
irinarhovkassian (2:43:47 PM): She didn't...she doesn't know me. Why would she...

liadovnikanor (2:47:25 PM): {chair leaning back]

That...I cannot say. [sound of pen tapping on metal]

She seemed like a fairly remarkable and level-headed woman. Perhaps it was an atonement to your sacrifice, from a woman who couldn't make it herself.

irinarhovkassian (2:50:36 PM): ...I'd like to communicate with her, in some way. What should I do?

liadovnikanor (2:55:49 PM): ...Funny how I thought you might say that.

[pause]

Here. I called my old secretary in Petrograd this morning and had her dig up her address in the MVD archive so that I could write it down. Just in case.

I had been toying with the idea of mentioning this since I saw you in the yard. I probably wouldn't have, if not for seeing you with Andrei, and speaking to you civilly.

It's been sitting quietly in my pocket for a day.

irinarhovkassian (2:59:17 PM): Do you think it wouldn't be too...intrusive, to write? It seems a little...I don't know. Harsh.

liadovnikanor (2:59:56 PM): Her phone number is on there as well. Below.
liadovnikanor (3:00:06 PM): Or did you have something else in mind?

irinarhovkassian (3:05:33 PM): Oh. No. The telephone would work.

liadovnikanor (3:05:54 PM): I think she would appreciate it.

liadovnikanor (3:06:12 PM): Shall we resume?

irinarhovkassian (3:06:34 PM): Yes. Thank you.

liadovnikanor (3:07:14 PM): You're the most thankful man I've ever met. [laugh]

It's a word we don't hear a lot in our field.

irinarhovkassian (3:08:32 PM): I just...appreciate what you've done. And I want you to know that.

liadovnikanor (3:10:21 PM): All I ask is that you remember that the next time I'm forced to be unkind.

...Not to you, comrade. You're the one man I don't suspect of this crime.
liadovnikanor (3:10:45 PM): [laugh]

Which would make it truly perfect if you did it.

irinarhovkassian (3:11:42 PM): I wouldn't suspect myself either. But I have some thoughts about the person who did.

liadovnikanor (3:14:17 PM): ...someone suspected you?
liadovnikanor (3:14:22 PM): Hang on.
liadovnikanor (3:14:40 PM): [Click of button. Tape hiss]


Part 2


10:54:36 PM liadovnikanor: I'll stop tape.
10:54:41 PM liadovnikanor: [click]


10:58:08 PM irinarhovkassian: Well, Major.

10:59:27 PM liadovnikanor: Captain.

11:00:34 PM irinarhovkassian: Is there...anything else?

11:01:36 PM liadovnikanor: ...I don't know. Is there?

11:03:35 PM irinarhovkassian: I suppose it depends on you.

11:04:41 PM liadovnikanor: Describe the boy, if you would. Just for my benefit, not for anything else.
11:04:54 PM liadovnikanor: The boy who was so unkind to you and your mother.

11:09:41 PM irinarhovkassian: Tall and fair, like you said. Pale eyes, very cold. Sharp cheekbones.

11:11:15 PM liadovnikanor: Hair...pushed back, I presume. Away from his face?

11:12:31 PM irinarhovkassian: Yes...that's right. Very proper.

11:13:53 PM liadovnikanor: [soft laugh]
11:14:19 PM liadovnikanor: And his father. Handsome older man.
11:15:59 PM liadovnikanor: God, I remember it like yesterday.
11:16:08 PM liadovnikanor: I know that young man so well.
11:17:04 PM liadovnikanor: ...I condemn what he did. In retrospect, I condemn him for many things.
11:17:28 PM liadovnikanor: But there's still a last little farmhouse of feeling.

11:18:11 PM irinarhovkassian: ...what will you do?

11:18:58 PM liadovnikanor: [pause]

I don't know. About-?

11:19:18 PM irinarhovkassian: The situation?

11:19:40 PM liadovnikanor: Apologize on his behalf, I suppose.
11:20:25 PM liadovnikanor: It's all I can do, and I do feel responsible, even though it wasn't me who maligned you in your hour of mourning.

11:20:39 PM irinarhovkassian: ... ->
11:22:14 PM irinarhovkassian: They were just words. It's over. My parents aren't alive anymore. You don't need to apologize for something you didn't do.

11:22:48 PM liadovnikanor: ..your mother-?

11:24:08 PM irinarhovkassian: Dead. Not long after that incident.

11:24:26 PM liadovnikanor: ...

Did it kill her, Irinarhov?

11:29:32 PM irinarhovkassian: No. Not that. I...really don't know what happened, exactly. And it was a long time ago.

11:31:49 PM liadovnikanor: Have you any family?

11:32:46 PM irinarhovkassian: Not anymore. Distant relatives, I think, but I wouldn't know how to contact them. Or if they would want to hear from me.

11:34:39 PM liadovnikanor: Do you have anyone?

11:35:39 PM irinarhovkassian: Well...there is someone here.

11:37:06 PM liadovnikanor: Oh...yes, of course.

11:37:42 PM irinarhovkassian: ...yes.

11:42:02 PM liadovnikanor: Perhaps we should have a drink sometime.
11:42:06 PM liadovnikanor: You and I.
11:42:10 PM liadovnikanor: A proper drink.

11:42:47 PM irinarhovkassian: ...all right. Let's do that. I'd like that.

11:43:13 PM liadovnikanor: Excellent. I'll see you around...Kassian.

11:44:18 PM irinarhovkassian: Goodbye. For now.

11:46:06 PM liadovnikanor: Goodbye.

September 2009

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