Chechen Women Organize Demonstration in Grozny
Local sources have reported that about 200 Chechen women gathered in the Russian occupied Chechen Republic of Ichkeria capital city of Grozny to protest the silence and inaction of authorities in regard to their missing loved ones.
The protest was organized by a local Chechen NGO, “Mothers of Chechnya”. The event had been scheduled for November 25, but the pro-Russian regime gave the group permission to hold it on November 29.
Madina Magomadova, head of the “Mothers of Chechnya” organization, said that they are trying to draw public attention to well-known issues that have still not been resolved, even as Russian authorities claim that the war has ended. “Missing people! We don’t know where they are or their remains lie. We didn’t want to give speeches or hold posters during the protest; I hope that these missing people’s photographs are enough to explain everything. They are holding photos of their sons, husbands and brothers, who have been missing since 1995,” said Magomadova.
Madina Magomadova herself is one of the many looking for a missing relative. Her younger brother Shams has been missing since January 1995. “My younger brother Shams and older brother Movla were trying to get out of Grozny because of heavy fighting and Russian bombardments. Somewhere near the Berezky District, they left their car and continued on foot. However, Russian soldiers shot Movla dead. They shot Shams and injured his leg and then took him away. What happened to my little brother Shams is still unknown. I tried to find him. At one point, they told us that he had been released after an identity check, but we still haven’t found him. A daughter grew up without her father. My mother is also dead, she couldn’t accept the loss of her two sons,” said Magomadova.
Among those who took part in the protest in the center of Grozny were two women whose loved ones were abducted in 2000. They shared their stories.
“My husband Magomed and his brother Said-Salam have been missing since 2000. We were living in the village of Duba-Yurt and during the second Russian-Chechen war, our village was heavily bombed by the Russians. So, we moved to Ulus-Kert where our relatives lived. After a while, we were told that we could go back to our village. On March 6, 2000, all of us from Duba-Yurt, including men, women, children and the elderly, tried to go back, but were stopped at a Russian check point belonging to the 276th Regiment. Russian soldiers took 11 men, including my husband and his brother, away. We tried to get them back but were told that all the men from our village had been released. Since then, we have learned nothing about the fate of our missing loved ones,” said 47 year old Markha Yasueva.
58 year old Taus Akhmadova lost her brother the same day at the same Russian check point. “Magomed was 52 year old. He was very sick with a brain tumor and could hardly walk. When Russian soldiers began to take the men, they took him as well. They were taken away and we never saw them again,” said Akhmadova. She would still know nothing about her brother, except that not long ago, during this past summer, one of her friends, Taisa Makava invited her to watch a video. “She said that her cousin found a video on the internet called Ulus-Kert. I wanted to see it, thinking that I might see a familiar face from Ulus-Kert. I wasn’t expecting to see my own brother. In the video, Russian soldiers dumped bodies into a ditch and walked around it. I immediately recognized my brother. I knew that he wouldn’t have lived a long time because of the tumor in his brain, but that is not what killed him. He was killed by the Russian soldiers. What did he do to deserve that kind of death?” asked Akhmadova.
“It has been nearly 13 years since March 2000. Only a few have hope that their loved ones are still alive. Those who saw that their relatives were shot and dumped in a ditch are only asking for two simple things: to learn where the mass grave is in order to retrieve and bury their dead according to Muslim traditions and for justice!” exclaimed Magomadova.
The women said that they obtained a copy of the video in which most of the victim’s faces are visible. Many women who lost loved ones on that day have appealed to Russian authorities, but have made no progress.
*Text was written by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco