"Unforgiven": the real story of Vitaly Kaloev

For films based on real events, the demand is special. Especially when the characters themselves can see it.

The name Vitaly Kaloev was full of front pages of newspapers 16 years ago. Then the civil engineer lost his wife and children in a plane crash and decided to administer justice himself. Now he dedicated the picture "Unforgiven."

Dmitry Nagiyev as Kaloev in the film “The Unforgiven”
Photo: "Car rental"

July 1, 2002. The Tu-154 liner, following the route Moscow-Barcelona, ​​in the night mist over Lake Constance collides almost at a right angle with the cargo Boeing. From a blow a passenger plane breaks into four parts. In a matter of seconds, everyone dies: 60 passengers and nine crew members of the Tu-154, two pilots of the Boeing. Later, the investigation will establish that Peter Nielsen, an employee of the Swiss Swiss company Skyguide, who was on duty that night, really made a mistake. A man too late noticed the dangerous approach of the aircraft.He ordered the crew of the Tu-154 to descend, while the automatic warning system for dangerous situations, on the contrary, required climbing. Both aircraft went down. At the last moment, the pilots tried to avoid a collision, but ... at 21 hours 35 minutes and 32 seconds, the tail section of the Boeing cut the fuselage of the Russian airliner in half.

- Two hours after the catastrophe a representative came out, called those who met them in a separate room and said what had happened

An architect from North Ossetia, Vitaly Kaloev, is one of those whom the tragedy left behind as a widower and deprived children. On board the ship were his wife Svetlana, the ten-year-old son Kostya, and four-year-old daughter Diana. He himself invited his family to Barcelona, ​​where he worked under a contract. A few weeks before the disaster, Vitaly completed a construction site in the capital of Catalonia and, before returning to his homeland, he wanted to make a gift to the children.

- I arrived at Barcelona airport two hours before arrival. The plane was expected on schedule, then reported a delay, and after some time the flight disappeared from all scoreboards, ”recalled Kaloyev in the program“ Russian Sensations ”on NTV. - The airport staff did not have information.And only about two hours after the catastrophe a representative came out, called those who met them in a separate room and said what had happened.

Appreciated the life of his wife and children

Kaloev one of the first relatives of the dead arrived at the crash site. At first he flew to Zurich, and from there to the neighborhood of the German town of Iberlingen, where the airliner crashed. There were still criminologists working.

- I was sent on the wrong track - in the square, where they found some part of the aircraft. But I felt where to go ... I saw the bodies. They have not yet been covered. I know that I drove past my son, ”he recalls in the Channel One documentary film“ Angels and Demons of Vitaly Kaloev ”.

Vitaly Kaloev
Photo: PhotoXpress.ru

Here he found a small bead from the necklace of Diana's daughter - now there is a monument dedicated to the victims of the tragedy over Lake Constance, Die zerrissene Perlenkette (translated from the German “torn pearl thread”).

Then the investigation began. Instead of a public apology, the Swiss company offered compensation to a widower - 60 thousand Swiss francs for a wife, 50 thousand for a son and a daughter. And in return, she demanded a receipt that he had no complaints. Receiving a letter, Kaloev smashed all the furniture in his own house.After that, Vitaly came to the office of a Swiss company many times. As it turned out, Peter Nielsen was not fired, but simply transferred to another position.

Revenge of despair

Almost two years after the tragedy in February 2004, Kaloev arrived in Switzerland and appeared on the doorstep of the air traffic controller, whom he considered guilty of the tragedy.

- I knocked. Nielsen came out, ”Vitaly recalled in Russian Sensations. - I got photos with the bodies of my children. He wanted them to look. But he pushed my hand away and sharply motioned me to clean up ... Like a dog: get out. I again handed him the photos and in Spanish said: “Look!” He clapped me on the arm as the pictures scattered. And there it started.

According to Kaloev, he does not remember any further events. Later, on the body of Skyguide employee Nielsen, forensic experts will count 12 stab wounds. Kaloev did not begin to cover their tracks. He simply threw aside the main evidence, a penknife. Dobrel to the hotel and waited. Police came for a man in the morning. Vitali more than once admitted that he had the opportunity to leave, but he considered running away below his dignity.

- I got photos with the bodies of my children. He wanted him to look at them. But he pushed my hand away and sharply motioned me to clean up ...

Four years without two months, a widower, who organized a mob, held in custody. In 2007, after being released from a Swiss prison, Vitaly returned home to Ossetia, where he was appointed deputy minister of construction and architecture. He worked until retirement.

- I do not think that time heals. When memories float, a person cannot tolerate them. For what? You see, I constantly ask myself this question. Why did my children die? Regret? But unless he was too strict with them, - Kaloyev admitted in the film “Confession of the Avenger” on NTV.

Two years ago, a man married again. Raises a child. Newly found happiness carefully hides, even the name of his wife, 62-year-old Vitaly does not name.

Shot from the movie "Unforgiven." The protagonist with his wife and children
Photo: "Car rental"

Minus eight kilos for the role

In the film “The Unforgiven,” the role of Kaloev was played by Dmitry Nagiyev, and the director was Sarik Andreasyan.

“I met with Vitaliy Kaloev,” says Andreasyan, “Antenna”.- It is difficult to call it a full-fledged communication, the conversation lasted about 30 minutes. It was more important for me to receive his blessing. I said that I would take the film with respect to him and the memory of his family. He replied that he did not hold my hand, and I have that right. The only thing that drew attention to the fact that in some films (in 2016, the film “Consequences” was released, where the role of Kaloev was played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. - Approx. “Antennas”) showed that he lived in some kind of hut, but in fact he has a big house that he built for the family.

I read, watched all the interviews with him for ten years. First of all I trust what he told himself. Kaloev is an oriental man, he would not lie. This is a matter of honor. There is a transcript of the court and the transcript of the negotiations of the pilots. We didn’t shoot a documentary, but we didn’t want to leave too much artistry. We got a multi-layered story about justice. About the fact that a small person can achieve justice. And, of course, the main message - appreciate and love loved ones. Initially, Adrien Brody was tried for the main role, he starred in my movie “Robbery in American Style”, but later I myself refused this idea.It is hard to imagine Brody in Vladikavkaz. The Russian language and mentality are important here, so we stopped at Nagiyev. Dima must look in the frame as an emaciated, heartbroken, eaten man with feelings, so he had to lose eight kilograms.