Before leaving Magadan, Henning
and I had gone to the Jazz Port Cafe for dinner. We had just
gotten our first course when Victor came over and in broken
English introduced himself and explained that he had seen our
bikes out at the airport where he now worked. After we finished
our meal we joined him and his party at their table. A few vodkas
later Victor launched into a wild and vivid story. Understand that
his English wasn't that good, and our Russian even worse, so
much of the story was told in pantomime.
As he charged about the restaurant Victor explained that he had
been stationed on the Finnish border when he was in the army.
While walking towards his post he was suddenly attacked by a large
brown bear. He managed to get a few shots off from his AK 47
before it jammed. That wasn't enough however. The bear kept
coming. Victor stood his ground, knowing that if he ran he would
be pulled down. The bear charged him and grabbed him by the arm
with his fierce jaws and clawed his stomach open. Victor happily
showed us the scars to prove his story. But Victor was not to go
down that easy. He was able to pull out his knife and stabbed the
bear in the midsection. He kept cutting upwards until the bear
died. He managed to crawl his way to his post to get medevaced.
For which he was charged $3,000.
Ever since then, Victor has had a deep hatred for bears. As he
sketched out on a napkin, he became an avid bear hunter. His
weapon of choice - a T-72 tank. He claims to have killed 7 more
bears with a tank before leaving the service.