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SEPT. 16-18

Terrorist bombings, Islamic zealots, occupying troops being picked off daily: It sounds like a familiar scenario, and Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin very much wants Americans to equate his war on Chechnya with Dubya’s adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. But the Chechnyan conflict is bloodier—an estimated 180,000 Chechnyans and 10,000 Russians have died—and much less publicized. It’s also dogged by evidence that the Russians are engaging in torture and even genocide. That’s why this four-day festival opens at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, where a screening of Greetings From Grozny (pictured), which addresses the human costs of the ongoing war, will be followed by a panel discussion. Only scholars of the Chechnyan conflict will want to see all eight of the other documentaries, most of which were originally made for European television. But the highlights include Murder With International Consent (at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18), a Polish film whose views of mutilated corpses are not for the squeamish, and Terror in Moscow (at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17), a vivid account of the Chechnyan-terrorist takeover of a Moscow theater that benefits from a remarkable amount of video footage (including some shot by the Chechnyan themselves). Of the previewed films, the most astonishing is Assassination of Russia (at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16), which makes a solid case that the 1999 Moscow and Dagestan bombings that precipitated the current war were committed not by Chechnyan rebels but by Putin’s secret police. “Greetings From Grozny” screens Monday at 7 p.m. at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW. Free. For reservations call (202) 488-0407. All other screenings (see Showtimes for a complete schedule) at Visions Cinema Bistro Lounge, 1927 Florida Ave. NW. $5. (202) 667-0090. (Mark Jenkins)