People lived in cellars then, too. Seeing pictures from Eastern Ukraine this year, I have been reminded of Grozny during the wars of the late 1990s. Terrified and traumatized civliians hid underground as the city above their heads was flattened by bomb, rocket, and shell.
For all that, political life went on. In March 2000, I was in Chechnya, reporting for the BBC on the Russian Presidential election which was to confirm Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin’s top job. Last week, the New Statesman website published a piece I wrote reflecting on Mr Putin, Russia, and the West 15 years after he won that election. You can read it here.