Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

New Book: The Second Chechen War: Grozny Teenager’s Diary

Posted by Info on 03/10/2011

Polina Zherebtsova book’s dedication reads: “Dedicated to the rulers of modern Russia.”
She was 14 when the bombs started raining down.They hit the market where she worked with her mother, the streets she walked down daily, until Grozny was reduced to rubble, a hometown no longer recognizable.

This week, despite death threats and fears for her safety, Zherebtsova published Polina Zherebtsova’s Diary, gathering three years’ worth of journals for a rare look into daily life in Grozny under siege.

“I thought, when they kill me, people will find this diary,”
Zherebtsova said.

She spent the entire war in Chechnya as tens of thousands died or fled during Moscow’s brutal attempt to pacify the mainly Muslim republic.

The fear of death in war has now been replaced with the fear that writing about the horrors of Chechnya – a still taboo subject – will bring repercussions. One by one, publishing houses refused to publish the book.
Last autumn, she finally found a saviour in Detektiv-Press, a small publisher devoted mainly to history books and memoirs. Days later, the calls began.
‘So, you will write about Chechnya? Do you want to live?’In the past two weeks, her husband has been targeted instead, sometimes getting 20 calls a day. Zherebtsova was once attacked in a lift by a man she is certain was waiting for her.
I had to publish it : “These civilians who were killed would come to me in my sleep and I felt I had a duty to them. I felt I had to tell it.”

Zherebtsova fled Chechnya in 2005, first to the south of Russia before making her way to Moscow thanks to a grant from Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s foundation.


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