Russian Federation: Mariam Yandieva

The children and grandchildren of today's Russians and Caucasians will inevitably have to live close to each other, and it is for them and the future generations that I continue my work.

— Mariam Yandieva

Of Ingush extraction, Mariam Yandieva (born 1953) graduated in Philology and later taught at Grozny University and different Moscow institutes. Since 1992, after the ethnic cleansing in North Ossetia, she has been engaged in human rights activities. She is the author of a dozen articles on issues of human rights protection and history published in Russia, Germany and the UK. She has participated in forums on the issues of the North Caucasus in Europe and the USA. Her works focus on finding ways to peaceful coexistence among the nations in the Caucasus and on the promotion of democracy.

Mariam Yandieva's grandfather was an officer in the Tsarist army who, after escaping from a communist concentration camp (the so-called Gulag), found shelter in Finland and later in Poland. In 1926, in London, he published the book ‘An Island Hell’ (1926), a documentary testimony to his personal experience in Solovki (one of the major Gulag concentration camps in Northern Russia), and a revelation of the communist terror in the USSR. Needless to say that the book was forbidden on the territory of the USSR. However, Mariam learned about its existence from one of her friends who had been abroad. From then on, she dreamed of once holding it in her hands. In 1988, 62 years after its publication, the book of her grandfather finally reached Russia and the Caucasus. Mariam's brother translated the text into Russian. Today it is studied in schools and universities in Ingushetia, and it has generated many articles of commentary. This book proved a powerful impulse for the restoration of many texts and materials about the history of the Caucasian nations that had been forbidden in Soviet times. At the beginning of 1990s, a group of like-minded people who wanted to know the truth about the tragic events in the history of the Ingush people in the 20th century, gathered around Mariam. The Communist revolution, wars, deportation, ethnic cleansing and brutal social changes were the main subjects of research for this small group of enthusiasts who, in fact, established the real, true history of the Ingush people, uncovering historical facts that used to be taboo. Their work has enabled people to better understand the political and social processes taking place in present-day Russia and the Caucasus.

Memorial, Ingush Section