Lyudmila Pavlichenko – Russian Federation

Linked with Women of the Don Union.

She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.

She says: “‘Forgive me for this war’. Lyudmila often said these words in Chechnya. Once she heard: ‘And you forgive us too’. Only then did she realize that she had done what she could”.

She says also: .

Lyudmila Pavlichenko - Russian Federation rogne.jpg
Lyudmila Pavlichenko – Russian Federation

She works for the Kavkazsky Forum / Caucasian Forum, and for Soyuz Zhenshchin Dona / Union of Women of the Don …
in english: on this page of the Women’s Information Network.

Lyudmila Pavlichenko was born in 1949, in the Rostov Region. Since 1996, she has been actively involved in the activities of the NGO Union of Women of the Don (SZD). She also participated in the projects Women’s Rights, Public Social Reception Offices, Dagestan – the Peacekeeping Center, and others. Since 1998, she has been a coordinator of the international organization Kavkazsky Forum (Caucasian Forum), and she has organized a lot of humanitarian projects in Chechnya and the whole of the Caucasian region trying to promote peace and reconciliation.

Chechnya has been engulfed in a bitter war since 1994. Shocked by what she saw in Chechnya, Lyudmila Pavlichenko does what she can to stop the armed conflict.

Summer 1995. Heat, burning sun, stale hot air. Two tents with 43 women on hunger strike. They are Chechens and Dagestanians. Among them there is one Russian woman, Lyudmila Pavlichenko. They are all protesting against the Russian-Chechen war. The hunger strikers are suffering from high blood pressure and are very weak. From time to time some of them are taken to hospital. Lyudmila has not given up yet. Her friend from Dagestan, Aishat, is sitting next to her.

They have come here with different aims: Aishat is trying to persuade women to stop starving, because according to the Koran, one can only starve in the name of Allah and not when pursuing political goals; and Lyudmila has come here to starve. And here they are: Russian, Dagestanian, Chechen women sitting shoulder to shoulder holding each others’ hands like sisters.

During these few days Lyudmila learns a lot about the Chechen way of life. She becomes acquainted with a Chechen poet, who is on strike too despite the fact that he is crippled (he stepped on a land mine while herding cattle). He reads his poems in the Chechen language to her, and Lyudmila translates them into Russian. He is very grateful to her for the translations, and the poems bring them together.

It is the first time that she sees the common prayer zikr, which leaves her spellbound. She watches men dancing in the circle with an air of detachment. She visits a few Chechen families and everybody wants to give her food. They are trying to persuade her to take food but she resists the temptation. It is rather hard for Lyudmila because she has not stayed in bed in her tent, but continues to give consultations and look after the children. She speaks to many journalists, but her interviews never appear in the media uncensored.

Together with her friends she goes to the local hospital, and suddenly they witness a young man being taken away from the intensive care unit because he is ‘a fighter’. People are screaming in protest. His relatives are crying, the women are throwing stones at the cars of the Special Police Force. The soldiers shoot in the air, they are strong and calm, some of them even smiling. The contrast is horrifying: exhausted, hysterical Chechen women and calm hefty men. The man was unconscious as they took him away.

In the morning many people come from the surrounding villages of Assinovskaya and Sernovodsk. They are horrified, speaking of hundreds of the local men who were seized during a mopping-up operation, after which they were tortured or simply beaten. The soldiers tore jewelry from women and raped them, they stripped old people of their clothing. Later on in the TV news they reported that these events had in fact taken place, but they had been instigated by the Chechens, and it was stressed that these were only isolated incidents.

It is difficult, even impossible, to describe all the events that Lyudmila witnessed during her hunger strike. But she knew that she was right in doing what she had, in order to help and support the innocent people suffering from the atrocities of war. (1000PeaceWomen).

link: womanplus.

Disambiguate: Lyudmila Mikhailovna Pavlichenko, an Ukrainian.

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