Russische Föderation: Lyubov Baskhanova

We adults must ask our children to forgive us for ruining their childhood. We must guide them onto a path in life that will give them no room to repeat the mistakes we made.

— Lyubov Baskhanova

Lyubov Baskhanova was born in the suburbs of Grozny. In 1989, she obtained a degree in Psychology from Leningrad University and, in 2002, a degree in Business Administration after studying in Makhachkala. In 2004, she defended her thesis at Rostov State University, receiving a PhD in Sociology. Lyubov has worked as lecturer at Grozny Institutes and University departments, and headed the Informational Analytical Center under the Presidential Administration of Chechnya. Since 2000, she has been working in the Chechen Administration conducting sociological research in the zone of conflict.

Lyubov Baskhanova never ignores the interests of ordinary people. In 2000, Lyubov risked her life by preventing the shooting down of a column of refugees on the Achkha-Martanov section of the road from Rostov (Russia) to Baku (Azerbaijan). Lyubov and her colleagues were conducting a sociological survey, accompanying a group of 120 refugees from Chechnya. There were 85 women and children in the group. The column was stopped by federal forces. Two of the soldiers opened fire at the trucks with the refugees on board, then a machine gun on one of the armored vehicles started shooting at the entire column. When Lyubov saw what was happening, she ran to one of the soldiers and tried to snatch the gun from his hands. The soldiers were so surprised that they immediately stopped fire. This gave just enough time for one of the officers, who was the highest in rank, to realize that the people jumping off the trucks were unarmed. He ordered the firing to cease. However, two of the troops–who had recovered from their surprise and felt extremely angry at Lyubov's unexpected intervention–started beating her up. Later, a criminal lawsuit was filed against her for attacking soldiers and attempting to acquire weapons. Lyubov does not regret her purely impulsive actions, since they were the only means by which the massacre of innocent people could be prevented. Later, in an interview with a local newspaper, Lyubov confessed that it was only on this day that she finally and fully understood what peace activism meant: a constant risk, like walking on a cliff. After this episode, Lyubov continued her sociological research on the territory of Chechnya despite the ongoing hostilities, trying to shape future models for a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

Informational Analytical Center Administration of the Government of the Chechen Republic