Winner of the 2017 Arles Luma prize
Take a walk down Putin Prospect, Grozny’s main street, look carefully at the Muslim women filing out of beauty salons and the men riding brand new SUVs, and you would never believe that less than a decade ago the city was levelled to the ground by Russian aerial and artillery assaults. But behind the façade, the hate and despair of Chechnya's wounds remain. They are deep. Neither the fancy bars nor the propaganda posters of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov that appear on every other building can hide them.
Layer by layer, Grozny: Nine Cities reveals the complex life of the Chechen capital. Nearly 300,000 lives were destroyed in the two recent wars. Moscow vowed to rebuild this devastated society and win over Chechen civilians, but loyalty to the Kremlin and Chechnya's oil now seem to be its only concerns. And with Russian tanks off its streets, Russian nationals are isolated. Chechen suicide bombers attack public places and Chechen police detain civilians for their involvement with the radical Islamic underground.
New mosques emerge. Men proud of their black BMWs, assault rifles and pointy, black shoes ban the appearance of unveiled women in public places. Armies of supporters chant the name of Chechen President Ramzan, idolizing their leader whilst people exhausted by the years of fighting cover floors in their new brick homes with bright colored carpets, throw feasts and dance at crowded weddings, grabbing the chance to enjoy moments of happiness, before more trouble rolls into their fearsome city.
Softback 348 pages
170mm x 240mm, 223 colour photographs