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In a week when Russian President Vladimir Putin came to the U.S. to discuss the suddenly warmer relations between his country and ours, journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s book on Chechnya, A Dirty War, is a bracing reminder of what Russia’s own war on terrorism has produced thus far. As a reporter for the Russian biweekly Novaya Gazeta, Politkovskaya penned numerous stories from the Chechen front in 1999, when Putin renewed the war in that country with a furious vigor, particularly after a series of bombings in Moscow. The landscape surveyed by Politkovskaya will seem quite familiar to American readers after the past few weeks of TV coverage in Afghanistan: bold pronouncements, vicious atrocities, civilians in the crossfire, and the mission impossible of delivering humanitarian aid. In one poignant moment, Politkovskaya interviews the director of a refugee camp in Daghestan, who asks her, “You don’t know where the aid has got to, do you? The television said it was on its way.” Politkovskaya then observes, “Someone was certainly unloading boxes at Makhachkala airport in front of the TV cameras. Everyone saw that. But not one of the mountain women has yet been able to feed her child with the baby food from those boxes.” A Dirty War is a timely and relevant look at an all-too-familiar tragedy, which places our own war in a much different perspective. Politkovskaya will give a presentation at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 20, at Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave. NW, 4th Floor. Free. (202) 457-6948. (Richard Byrne)