Zemfira Agajeva

* 1971  

  • “At one point when I really felt down, I wanted to write a letter to Chechnya asking them to admit us there. But my husband wouldn’t let me. It was in fact the horrible lies of the investigators that made me consider this option. Why Chechnya? You know why? Kadyrov is a… how to put it. He is a good ruler. He is strong in his mind and his actions. Look at how beautiful he was able to turn Chechnya into. Yes, people fear him but I suppose they either have to respect him or fear him. Frankly, down here the situation is quite different. It was not supposed to be so. The president should act more like a ruler, rather than not giving a damn. Back then I really felt down because of the investigators’ and prosecution’s behavior. For a long time we refused to bury our son and when I eventually went to the prosecutor’s office… I was probably already sick of it, so this came up my mind. Otherwise I wouldn’t have intended to leave… Can you imagine? As soon as I agreed to bury our son, they started singing in front of my face. Singing! It was 30 December which meant they could close the case before the end of the year. I remember this investigating officer to this day. I even remember this Kazakh man, their names… They were simply singing. That must have been the last straw. When I started asking them unpleasant questions, one of them replied: ‘In your place, my wife would stand by the stove and cook lunch,’ while I was doing such things for my child. I told him I wasn’t his wife and that I felt sorry for her. I banged the door and left.”

  • “There was another such moment. When they rushed us all to the gym, I stopped in the canteen, held Žorka’s hand… One of the attackers then approached us and stroked Žorka’s head. He spoke in Russian without any accent, didn’t even look like a fighter who would have lived for several months in the woods. He was groomed, his shoes were clean… He stroke Žorka’s head and said: ‘Don’t worry, boy, everything will be alright. I will let you go.’ Žorka remembered it and already the first night asked me: ‘Mum, where is the nice man who promised us to let us go?’ But we never saw him anymore. Some of the situations felt strange. They forced the men to undress, got dressed in the civilian clothes, shaved their beards and probably this way were able to get out.”

  • Full recordings
  • 3

    Beslan, 01.06.2014

    ()
    duration: 
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Every day I hope to find him at the doorstep

Zemfira Agajeva
Zemfira Agajeva
photo: archiv post bellum

Zemfira Aslanovna Agajeva was born in the village of Kargaron in 1971. In 1992 she got married and moved to Beslan in North Ossetia. Her mother tongue is Ossetian but while in kindergarten she learned Russian. To this day, her family speaks in both languages. She attended elementary school along with children coming from Russian families and had good relations whit them. In 1993 her first son Saška was born, followed three years later by son Žorik and in 2003 by daughter Vika. During the Beslan school siege, Vika was seven months old. On 1 September 2004 she took a picture of both her sons, dressed them up nicely, bought large bouquets and set out to school. She breastfed the little Vika and fortunately left her home. The terrorists rushed Zemfira and her younger son Žorik to the gym. The older son Saška managed to escape. Later, it turned out that he and his classmate hid in the school aula. She had spent the first day of the siege along with Žorik and the other hostages in the gym, witnessing a murder of her sister’s husband. The hostages were suffering from dehydration. As Zemfira was breastfeeding the little Vika, she had enough breast milk to feed the small children around her. Even the adults were begging for it. On the third day the explosions began. One of them threw Zemfira out through a window and towards the garages. A militia man carried her from there, avoiding the gunfire. After the explosion, her older son Saška escaped through a window. Her son Žorik was never found. To this day the family didn’t accept his death even though he was officially buried. They hope that the terrorists had left with some of the children. Some 200 people remained missing after the siege. Zemfira Agajeva works as a laboratory technician in a local clinic and brings up Saša and Vika. She wants her children to study foreign languages and to respect all nationalities. The family considered moving to Chechnya but eventually decided to stay in their motherland.