Роза Музаева

* 1955  

  • (Q: "When did you start working with Madlen?") "In 2002 we worked with refugees that were hiding away in cellars. One of them was this young woman. She came to me and asked: 'Does anyone want a baby? I don‘t want it. If no one takes it, I‘ll leave it lying in the cellar. It‘ll be born in a few days.' I went home thinking about the small child, about how it was possible for the mother to consider leaving it somewhere… I knew I myself couldn‘t take in the child. As I was walking, I met my neighbour, Agaeva, an old classmate from school. I told her there was one little baby whose mother couldn‘t look after it and was going to leave it in the cellar. She said immediately: 'I‘ll take it! Don‘t look any further, I‘ll take it.' She lived together with her father in a ruined house. She came to me at my house later on and said: 'I told Father, and he agreed that we should take care of the child.' The next day I went to work, the girl came up to me, she had already given birth, and she said: 'The baby is in the cellar. If anyone wants it, they should take it.' I wrote down her address, drove to Agaeva to discuss once more what she wanted to do. After all, a child is not a toy that you can take and then discard when you don‘t want it anymore. But she insisted she would take the child. So we had a nurse accompany us and we went for the child. The nurse checked her and really, she seemed to be healthy. It was not until three months later that we found out that the child was disabled. It couldn‘t move its legs, it just lay there. Thanks to Berkat it received help twice. They paid for the operation at an expensive clinic. The girl is beginning to walk and has just started learning to talk. Many thanks to the Berkat organization for their help."

  • "Our house was destroyed. We decided to take the children back to the village in Urus-Martan, where my husband comes from. We left the children there and returned to tidy it all away. The walls remained standing, but we had no roof. We used pieces of slate and iron to stop the rain from coming in. One day, Petra arrived. A woman from the administration brought her to me. I used to be the village administrator, before the war. I knew all the inhabitants by name. She brought her so I would write down for her who all lived here, so that they could give them aid. At the time they gave out tents, mattresses… Petra asked me to create a list, so they could give out the aid. So I made lists. When we arrived, people started to pluck up some courage, saying we, please, we live there, and they started arriving at the village. When we came here, some seven or eight families had moved in. But still we didn‘t have any neighbours. The closest were five to seven hundred metres away. When Petra arrived, we started making lists, we made a list of the area – she asked me to make it up to the bridge, that was about a kilometre away, with people living here and there. I walked through the yards, writing down lists and passing them on to her. Then they came back two weeks later. She told me to go round all the families, that they should come to receive their aid. It was a strange feeling for us to receive aid. It was the first aid for anyone in Grozny. And it was very good: mattresses, tents, roofing materials – everyone had holes in their roofs. The organization was called 'People In Need' ['Člověk v tísni' in Czech – transl.]. She asked me to distribute the items, as I knew the inhabitants. People from other districts came as well, but Petra cared about our village directly. I helped her, and she later told me to come to her office, that she would give me work. We were overjoyed, because to have work during the war, that was unbelievable – to find work. Then when the finances ran out, Petra gave me five hundred roubles from her own each month – but that was big money for us. A bucket of flour and a bottle of sunflower oil. That was a great help for us, because no one worked, there was no work."

  • "When we started working, there were explosions going off in the city all the time. They set off charges when the military convoys were driving through. Sometimes we reached the spot where the convoy was passing through. Sometimes it happened to be in an industrial area where no one lived, several times they surrounded us, they said: 'Why do you help the Russians?' We had this category of people – at the time those were only old Russians. ‚Why are you helping them?‘ That was terrible. So we explained to them, then our guard talk to them, I begged them, then they let us go. One time they shot at us. We were driving along to distribute aid, and they shot at our car. Masked people with sub-machine guns came up to us. I begged them, I practically lay down under the car. There were lots of them, plus it was during the day. Ruslan jumped out of the car before it had even stopped, saying: 'Don‘t shoot!' They came up to us. I told them that we only help civilians, that we‘re not doing anyone any harm, I have children at home, don‘t kill us. He just shook his head, didn‘t say a word." (Q: "Was that a Chechen?") "Most likely. I spoke in Chechen and Russian, all the languages I knew. He didn‘t say a word, just shook his head and that was it. Then they let us go. When I was jumping out, I twisted my ankle and lost a shoe. We drove off in the direction of distribution. We were headed that way. I said: ‚Ruslan, come on, we‘ll deliver it,‘ because our car was fully loaded. He said: ‚What distribution, what distribution! They almost killed us here!‘ But despite that we reached our destination, gave out the things and returned home. But I didn‘t say anything at home, so they wouldn‘t be afraid. Ibragim came by and told on me at home. I didn‘t tell them anything at home, so they wouldn‘t be afraid, but he came and said everything. That kind of thing happened. Other times we‘re driving along like normal, then up we come to where they just blew up the road, soldiers sitting in the trenches, sometimes shooting at us. We had it all, it was hard."

  • Full recordings
  • 1

    Прага, 29.08.2010

    (audio)
    duration: 01:26:55
    media recorded in project The Destinies of the Chechens
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

Chechen Mother Teresa

Роза Музаева
Роза Музаева
photo: Archiv - Pamět národa

Roza Muzaeva was born in 1955 in Semipalatinsk in the Khazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. She had six siblings. In 1957 the family returned to the newly re-instituted Chechen-Ingush Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, and settled down in Grozny. Roza was a good student, and graduated from the Makhachkala Technical Institute. She married in 1968 and has four children. After the First Chechen War, she began cooperating with Berkat, a Czech organization, and their cooperation lasts to this day.