Russische Föderation: Alina Allo

We have to do all we can to avoid that Russian and Chechen children become enemies.

— Alina Allo

Alina Allo (born 1958) spent her childhood years in Grozny in the Caucasus. 40 years ago, her family moved to Omsk, where she studied history and where she now works as a radio- and TV-journalist. She used to report on the repression years (1930s-1950s), drug abuse, and other social problems, until she went to war-torn Chechnya in 1998. She initiated a project: ‘White Dove’–an appeal by Russian parents to Chechen parents who have lost their children as soldiers in this war, to forgive each other. She organizes treatment of Chechen children in Omsk and delivery of medicine to refugee camps.

When Alina Allo first traveled to the Caucasus, she had in her bag an appeal from the parents of Russian soldiers who had died in the Russian-Chechen war (1994-96). For the sake of peace between their peoples, the Russian parents had launched this appeal, called ‘White Dove,’ in which they asked for the forgiveness of the Chechen people for having shed the blood of their children. Later on, they suggested uniting their forces in order to bring the second war (1999-2001) to an end. Of course this was very difficult. In her book, Alina reflects: “More than anything, I was afraid that they would ridicule and reject the White Dove appeal. But they assumed I was a secret service agent and I was actually quite relieved–that was better than being taken for a madwoman … I was deeply shaken by seeing the nightmare of the consequences of this war. I so much wanted to do something about it. I suggested that the fighters take me hostage and exchange me for war prisoners. ‘And how much is your country paying you for this?’ they asked me, meaning money of course. ‘My country is not paying me anything!’ I replied. ‘So why would we need you here then?’ I was very offended by this.” Every time Alina Allo travels to Chechnya, she takes the White Dove appeal with her, about which the controversies continue. “It is so difficult to find a space in the hearts of the people! Yet, if we want to stop this war, we need to stop it in our hearts,” she says. One of the happiest days in her life was the day when she was taken to a holy place of the Caucasus, to the tomb of the Muslim Saint Knead, where she met an elderly woman, one of his descendants. “I, a Christian, went down on my knees in front of the tomb of Saint Kheda together with this old Muslim woman, a Chechen, who had survived the genocide and the death of her children. We both cried and prayed for peace there.”

Lutheran Evangelical Church (LEC) Catholic Relief Agency Caritas Internationalis (CI) Soviet Soldatskikh Matieriey (SSM)