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Caucasus: Remembering Tsarnaev as a New Immigrant

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is scheduled to be arraigned July 10 in Federal Court on 30 criminal counts connected with the Boston Marathon bombings. For the man who helped the Tsarnaev family get resettled in the United States over a decade ago, the fact that 19-year-old Dzhokhar stands accused of carrying out such a heinous act is still difficult to believe.

Khassan Baiev, a native of Chechnya and a plastic surgeon by profession, remembers the day in 2002, when sitting at home in Boston, he received a call from a Chechen who was living in Canada at the time. The woman told him that her brother’s family was immigrating to the United States from Kyrgyzstan, and requested his help in easing their transition to their new American surroundings.

Given the honor code that governs personal ties among Chechens, Baiev drove to New Jersey to meet Dzhokhar and the rest of his family when they landed in the United States.

The family stayed at Baiev’s home for a month after their arrival, moving out after finding a place to live on their own. During that time, Baiev recounted how Dzhokhar’s father, Anzor, would describe the family’s difficulties back in Kyrgyzstan.

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Andreane Williams is a journalist focusing on the former Soviet Union.

Caucasus: Remembering Tsarnaev as a New Immigrant

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