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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May, 2004, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Wires from the front line: Nagorno Karabakh

Neil Harvey
Neil Harvey is in the mainly ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.

"It's visually very good. Looks like World War I trenches. The front line is just beyond the city."

Transcripts of telephone conversations, text messages and
e-mails between Neil Harvey in Nagorno Karabakh and Will Daws, series producer in London, record Neil's experience.

All Times GMT

Monday 15 March

1645
Just a quick note to let you know that I have arrived in Stepanakert, Karabakh. Will keep in touch, fixer and driver very good.

1730
Tomorrow I'll be meeting deputy foreign minister and we'll head off to see Armenian military positions.

Tuesday 16 March

1735
Visited position - 300m away from Azeri troops.

Base is located in the outskirts of Aghdam, and is set up in ruins. It looks very dramatic. Soldiers are very young. I will meet the character Armenians are planning for me to film.

But I told them that if I don't like their choice, they'd need to suggest somebody else.

Wednesday 17 March

1517
It's visually extremely good. Looks like World War I trenches. The front line is just beyond the city of Aghdam. They have access to a bombed-out village, where they have several units along the separation line.

Albert Minasyan
Albert Minasyan

They turn bombed out ruins into mess hall, officers mess etc. Platoon of 16 conscripts there. They have responsibility for one stretch of Separation Line (up to a mile long).

It's very dark. There are guns on one wall and one small stove.

I heard sniper shots this morning. They got to the wall of separation; one great mud wall. Each soldier goes into mud viewing post where they look through to the Azeri position (300 yards).

My character is a 19-year-old conscript who is fighting for Nagorno Karabakh Defence Forces. He is called Albert Minasyan. Albert wants to study economics at university, very bright, fresh faced. Very happy to do the film.

He's happy to be here, feels he's doing his bit for his country and his family.

1908
You might be interested to know that our young conscript supports Brazil in football and the Chicago Bulls...

Friday 19 March

1620
I've had meetings with foreign ministry and military personnel again. They allowed me to film the valley, but were against filming of Aghdam.

I'm frustrated, but not pushing it further.

I will leave it to the last minute, because at this stage I don't want to jeopardize my relations with the Karabakh authorities. I hardly survived vodka treatment.

1640
Tomorrow I am going to film a school, where pupils can assemble Kalashnikovs in 20 seconds.

Sunday 21 March

1540
A lot of hoop jumping. It will all be fine but it's claustrophobic. Shadowed by three people from army and defence ministry. They are paranoid about security but what's frustrating is they don't want the lens pointing at the ruins, so there's little I can do about that.

The commanding officer of the regiment is cool but the ministry men are a problem.

Monday 22 March

1900
I woke up at 0500, but started filming at 0700. There are beautiful shots of sunrise, when battalion is marching towards trenches.

They are marching like Samurais.

Another nice sequence is interview in the bunker with fellow conscripts. Interview was good, the character opened up. Also nice sequence-lunch time, when they were joking and laughing about football.

Some distant shots were heard during filming. Also nice shots of sunset and changing of guards.

Overall, I'm very happy and it went beyond my expectations.

One Day of War was broadcast in the UK on Thursday, 27 May, 2004 at 2100 BST on BBC Two.



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