Zahara Tsarnaev is the daughter of American-based Russian terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev. She was born in late 2010 to her parents, Tamerlan and Katherine Russell. By the time her father died, she was the only child and was two years old, but she is now 12.


Since her father died, Zahara’s family has avoided the public eye, and most details about their life are unknown. Still, given Zahara’s age, she is probably studying in a good primary school in her neighborhood.

Her Parents’ Love Story

Zahara Tsarnaev’s parents met for the first time in 2007 in a nightclub; at the time, Katherine was a first-year communications student at Suffolk University. They liked each other and started dating; however, it was an on-and-off relationship. Despite being in a committed relationship, Zahara’s father cheated on Katherine as he was living with another woman, though they did not end their relationship.

While dating, Tamerlan asked Katherine to convert to Islam, which she did, and started wearing a hijab. In 2010, Katherine became pregnant with Tamerlan’s child and decided to drop out of college. At Zahara’s mother’s request, the two lovebirds tied the knot in a mosque with only two witnesses.

Katherine moved into Zahara Tsarnaev’s father’s apartment in Cambridge. She stayed there until she gave birth to her daughter.

Her Father

Zahara Tsarnaev’s father was born in Russia on October 21, 1986; he moved to America when he was 18. He enrolled at Bunker Hill Community College to become an engineer, but he dropped out after two years and started boxing. Tamerlan became a Muslim and subsequently convinced his girlfriend to change her denomination.

As a boxer, Zahara’s father was a trainee at the Wai Kru Mixed Martial Arts Center; by 2010, he had already won a boxing trophy. Before the Boston Marathon bombing, Zahara’s father had been at crossroads a couple of times with the law; he had been arrested for assaulting his girlfriend.

In 2013, Zahara Tsarnaev’s father and younger brother committed the Boston Marathon bombing killing three and injuring over 200 others. Tamerlan then killed a police officer while escaping. In a shootout with the police on August 19. 2013 in Watertown, Boston, Zahara’s father was shot multiple times before he was arrested.

He died at a medical center a few hours later due to critical injuries, cardiac and respiratory arrest, and blood loss.

Life After the Death of Her Father

Zahara’s father died when she was two years old; she and her mother moved to Rhode Island to stay with her grandparents. Zahara and her mother were well received at her grandparents’ home, and she grew up surrounded by her aunts. Katherine’s parents said they were sickened by the whole incident, and they could offer support for their daughter, who had lost a husband, and a child who had lost a father.

Zahara’s mother refused to take her husband’s remains, and she started using a different last name. In her personal life, Zahara’s mother remarried, and she lives in New Jersey with her husband and children, including Zahara Tsarnaev.