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Chechen in Kyrgyzstan Recalls Stalin-Era Deportations

Baialy Turashev at home in Tokmok. (Photo: Asel Kalybekova)

Baialy Turashev remembers vividly how the Chechens got to Kyrgyzstan. 

On a spring weekend, like so many of his neighbors, the 75-year-old is weeding his fields outside Tokmok, in northern Kyrgyzstan’s fertile Chui Valley. But he is eager to drive his pitchfork into the ground and talk. 

With all the attention this week about how the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings are ethnic Chechens from Kyrgyzstan, I wanted to find out more about their community’s history. 

“I was six years old, but I remember everything. It’s impossible to forget. These memories are meant to be taken to the grave.” Despite his horrific tale, Turashev has a warm smile. There is not even a shadow of severity on his face; only broad wrinkles like a map of the old man’s life.

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Chechen in Kyrgyzstan Recalls Stalin-Era Deportations

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