The Daughter of The Caucasus

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Losing her mother in her first days of life, Lidia later escaped from the orphanage thanks to her maternal aunt, who lived in a large near Grozny, the capital of Chechnya. Lidia successfully studied becoming a lawyer and joining the team of investigators of the federal DA’s office on the eve of the first Chechen war. On the outbreak of the separatist skirmishes in Chechnya, Lidia’s brother, a police officer, was assassinated after uncovering and reporting a major arms trafficking operation. In 1991, the then thirty-year-old Lidia, took the decision to defend the human rights of the people who were oppressed by both sides in the conflict, by setting up a branch of the Memorial society in Chechnya. Both during the first (1991-1996) and second war (1999-2006) hers was one of the few voices to tell the world of the atrocities committed by all of the belligerents. Around a quarter of the original Chechen population have lost their lives since 1994 In addition, after the war, at least 3,000 citizens have totally vanished after passing through torture and detention centres. Defined by Amnesty International as “one of the most courageous women in Europe”, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, and a friend of the journalist Anna Politkovskaja, Lidia has often received death threats, and lost her colleague and assistant Natalya Estemirova to a murder in 2009. She has never forgotten the Caucasus populations, especially those of Ingushetia and Chechnya, who suffer continuous violence from both the troops of Ramzan Kadyron, Putin’s Chechen satrap, and putative Islamic guerrillas. After learning of a recent massacre, Lidia decided to brave the threats and return secretly to Chechnya. After a long journey that took in Circassia, Ossetia, Ingushetia and other Caucasus states, she finally reached Grozny oblivious to the dangers.

Directed by Giancarlo Bocchi (Russia)

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