Made in 1988 as the Soviet Union ended its long struggle in Afghanistan, this odd and haunting (and really -- experimental) Soviet era propaganda film "Afghanistan Dreams" traces some of the history of the Soviet invasion and looks at its aftermath. The film seems to be told from the perspective of a Russian soldier who survived the war but is haunted by some of what he saw in country.
The film begins with images of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games, which were boycotted by the United States in protest of the Soviet aggression in Afghanistan, and then segues to show a young man apparently undergoing a form of hypnotherapy. The man is a Soviet soldier who survived the war. At 3:10, images of Afghanistan and its people are shown, set to religious music, followed by a Russian tank moving across the landscape, and bizarre images from a nightmare. At 5:00, Soviet tank crews are seen in Afghanistan, and at 5:20 famous footage is seen of Russian troops of the 40th Army entering the nation. At 6:30, images of wounded are seen arriving in a hospital, and at 6:50 images of combat, with dead and wounded soldiers and a burning convoy. At 8:30, a religious leader from the Eastern Orthorodox church is seen as part of dream sequence. At 9:00, Soviet troops are seen distributing aid to civilians. At 10:00, a HIND helicopter is seen flying overhead as a rocket launcher shoots into the mountains. At 10:26, terrified Afghan civilians are shown, followed by an abandoned city block likely in Kabul. More images of devastation are shown as the soldier remembers what he saw in Afghanistan. At 13:40, more Soviet tanks are shown, and then at 14:00 Soviet troops in a winter landscape being indoctrinated. At 15:00, the mother of a deceased Russian soldier is seen. The troops are then shown marching at 16:15, into a seemingly endless winter.
The Soviet–Afghan War lasted over nine years, from December 1979 to February 1989. Insurgent groups known as the mujahideen fought against the Soviet Army and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Between 562,000–2 million civilians were killed and millions of Afghans fled the country as refugees, mostly to Pakistan and Iran. The war is considered part of the Cold War.
Prior to the arrival of Soviet troops, the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan took power after a 1978 coup, installing Nur Mohammad Taraki as president. Deteriorating relations and worsening rebellions led the Soviet government, under leader Leonid Brezhnev, to deploy the 40th Army on December 24, 1979.Arriving in the capital Kabul, they staged a coup, killing president Amin and installing Soviet loyalist Babrak Karmal from a rival faction.
Soviet troops occupied the cities and main arteries of communication, while the mujahideen waged guerrilla war in small groups operating in the almost 80 percent of the country that was outside government and Soviet control. Soviets used their air power to deal harshly with both rebels and civilians, levelling villages to deny safe haven to the mujahideen, destroying vital irrigation ditches, and laying millions of land mines.
By the mid-1980s, the Soviet contingent was increased to 108,800 and fighting increased throughout the country, but the military and diplomatic cost of the war to the USSR was high. By mid-1987 the Soviet Union, now under reformist leader Mikhail Gorbachev, announced it would start withdrawing its forces. The final troop withdrawal started on May 15, 1988, and ended on February 15, 1989. Due to its length it has sometimes been referred to as the "Soviet Union's Vietnam War" or the "Bear Trap" by the Western media, and thought to be a contributing factor to the fall of the Soviet Union.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com