Refugee Success Story: Doctor Baiev

While many stories of refugees are ones of loss and suffering, it is important to know the stories that also end in success. This is the brave story of former refugee, Dr. Khassan Baiev.


Dr. Khassan Baiev aided both Chechen and Russian soldiers during the Chechen Wars.

Dr. Baiev was a reputed and well respected surgeon in the town of Alkah-Kala, Chechnya. Life for Baiev was good until 1991, when Chechnya declared independence from the Soviet Union. At this time, the Chechen economy was in disarray, leaving many without an income, including Baiev. Nonetheless, he continued to work without pay.

In 1994, Russian soldiers invaded Chechnya, marking the beginning of the first Chechen War. Baiev moved his family to a safer city, while he stayed in Alkah-Kala to treat the wounded. Over the course of both the first and second Chechen Wars, Baiev endured the destruction of his hospital and home. He also suffered shrapnel wounds and witnessed the many horrors of war.

Baiev became a refugee during this period. Chechen extremists and Russian forces both pursued Baiev for aiding wounded soldiers on either side of the conflict. Eventually, Baiev was forced to flee his country on the grounds of being persecuted.


Through the help of Physicians For Human Rights and other friends, Baiev was able to escape to the United States as a refugee. He was subsequently granted asylum in 2000 with the aid of Human Rights First, allowing him to be reunited with his family.

Since his resettlement in Massachusetts, Dr. Baiev works at a local hospital and lives happily with his family. He continues the work he did in his home country, and has written two books about his experience in Chechnya.


William Mawhinney


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