Zalpa Bersanova

Zalpa Bersanova

Infobox Writer
name = Zalpa Bersanova

imagesize = 230px
caption = Zalpa Bersanova
pseudonym =
occupation = Ethnographer, Author
nationality = Russian Federation
period = 1991 - Present
genre = Academic publishing, Historical fiction, Short story
subject = Chechen society, Chechen wars

Zalpa Khozh-Akhmedovna Bersanova ( _ce. Залпа Хож-Ахмедовна Берсанова) is a Chechen ethnographer and author who has written extensively on the Chechen people and the Chechen wars.

Zalpa is particularly noted for her beliefs that the values of Chechen society have survived the wars. [] She has lately written several short stories, as well as a novel based on autobiographical experiences called "The Road Home".


Zalpa Bersanova was born into the family of the famous Chechen writer Khozh-Akhmed Bersanov. As a child she wrote poems, fairy-tales and reports in local newspapers. She graduated from school with honors and her passion for history led her to the Department of History at the Chechen-Ingush State University. After graduation she worked as a school history teacher and later held the Chair of Philosophy of the Chechen State University. In 1989 she obtained a position of research fellow in the laboratory of sociology of the Chechen Research Institute of Social Sciences. Since then, she has undertaken research on the issues of the Chechen culture and mentality. In 1999 she presented her Ph.D. thesis at the Chair of Ethnology of Moscow State University.

She is the author of the anti-war books "I Choose the Mountains", "The Bought Happiness", and "The Road Home".

When the First Chechen War broke out in 1994, Bersanova was working on her Ph.D. thesis at Moscow State University. Shocked by the coming news, she spent entire days at home watching television. Grozny was being bombarded by the Russian air forces and innocent civilians died in their homes and in the streets. She understood that she could not stand idly by. First she took part in the protest meetings, and then she began to write articles and books about the war. She said to herself that, if at least one person read what she wrote, and if that person made a stand against the war, it would mean that she had succeeded in making her little contribution to stop the bloody nightmare.She realized that the war had resulted in the Chechen people suffering from deep moral trauma.

Bersanova has been researching for several years on the spiritual values of the present-day Chechens. Her findings argue that the Chechen people have a considerable positive potential even after the inhumane tragedy of war and that they maintain faith in the value of compassion and humanistic traditions.

In 1999 Bersanova presented her research in the lecture held in the Sakharov Museum (Moscow) and in 2004 and 2005, she participated in a series of conferences in the United States, funded through the MacArthur Foundation, on the issues of war and peace. It was there that she conceived the idea of consolidating the efforts of all the researchers of the Chechen culture in order to help stop the violence. Together with her fellow researchers, Zalpa founded the International Center for Chechen Studies, striving to make the real face of the Chechen people and Chechnya's rich history and spiritual cultural achievements visible to the world.

She was one of 35 Russian women nominated for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize by Peace Women Across the Globe. []

External links

*ru icon [ "The values of modern Chechens" research (Sakharov Center)]
* [ "Reunion" by Zalpa Bersanova]
* [ "Values stronger than war" Presentation at Radio Free Europe]
*ru icon [ Obedinennaya Gazeta interview]
* [ PeaceWomen Across the Globe article]
* [ Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty article]
* [ Chechnya Advocacy Network article]
*ru icon [ Voice of America article]
* [ Forum post]

NAME= Bersanova, Zalpa
SHORT DESCRIPTION= Ethnographer, Author

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