Maynat Kurbanova


© Simone Ahrend sah-photo

Maynat Kurbanova was born in Grozny in 1974. She graduated from the Department of Journalism at the Chechen State University and worked from 1991 for various Russian mass media. Since the beginning of the Second Chechen War, she was a correspondent for the Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta and for the radio station Svoboda in the North Caucasus, and also in Chechnya. She gave accounts of the war, described the infamous deeds of the military and provided details of violence in the Chechen Republic. She compiled numerous documents about actual events in this region. By collaborating with the Information Agency AFP, she was able to publish her articles under the pseudonym Mainat Abdulajewa in German newspapers such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Süddeutsche Zeitung. In 2003, she was nominated for the Andrei Sakharov Prize “Journalism as an Act.” After several death threats, she left Russia and joined the German PEN Writers in Exile Program in November 2004. After leaving the program in August 2007, Maynat Kurbanova was awarded a three-year Elsbeth Wolffheim grant by
the City of Darmstadt. In 2009, she received the RADIO Journal Prize for broadcasting and in 2011 the Special Prize of Edition Exil “Writing between Cultures”. Her essays and short stories have been published in almanacs and anthologies. Now she lives in Vienna, where she works as an independent journalist. Currently, she’s leading a women’s group within the project “motherschools against extremism” from the organization “women without borders”. Furthermore, she’s working in different projects in the fields of deradicalization, resocialization and prevention mainly with Chechen juveniles and women.