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Holy Warriors

Marianna Yarovskaya & Olesya Bondareva
Marianna Yarovskaya

This film follows former Russian soldiers who became spiritual as a result of fighting in many wars. Father Nicolas, a retired colonel from the Special Forces in Chechnya and Afghanistan, is now a Russian Orthodox Priest. Sergei "The Muslim" is a former mercenary who fought "everybody but the Russian Army" and "found all the answers in the Koran." Alexander "The Shaman" was a commander of a platoon in Chechnya and because of his shamanism, he says no one in his platoon died. There is also a Russian Muslim woman-spy who fought in Afghanistan. Holy Warriors chronicles the spiritual upheaval brought about by war on those involved, and offers insight into the resilience of the human spirit during trying times. It demonstrates the traumatic effect of enlisting unwilling soldiers in wartime, while raising the pertinent question of the links between war and religion. As Father Nicolas, a sniper who became a priest, puts it, "There are no atheists in a foxhole."