A look at photos from “Spasibo,” a monograph and exhibition by the Italian photojournalist Davide Monteleone, which examines Chechen identity after centuries of violence and conflict between Chechen separatists and Moscow: http://nyr.kr/HAPMRy
“Grozny is a city of phantoms. Phantoms of those who died or disappeared in the war—every family has brothers, sons, or a father who left the house and never returned,” writes the Moscow-based journalist Masha Gessen. As Monteleone says, “Everything is controlled by the authorities that give to the people as they please. A state of comforting stagnation …. The physical violence that was so much part of the post-conflict years … seems to have decreased. The Chechens are so frightened that these acts of violence are almost no longer necessary. The violence is now psychological, a form of brainwashing that starts with the youngest generations.”
“Spasibo” (which means “thank you” in Russian), won the 2012 Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award. The exhibition will be on view at Chapelle de l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in Paris, from November 8th through December 4th.
After the fatal stabbing of a young man in Moscow last week, word spread that the attacker was not an ethnic Russian. Racist mobs swarmed a wholesale vegetable market where many traders and handymen come from the Caucasus and Central Asia. In the wake of the violence, Moscow police began rounding people up. Incredibly, they weren’t rounding up suspected attackers – they were rounding up people from the Caucasus and Central Asia, putatively to protect them.
It was the second episode of racist violence in Moscow in a week. Earlier, a racist mob had swarmed a shopping mall, looking for “migrants.” Police detained some suspects, but most were quickly released.
In this video, Svetlana Gannushkina, one of Russia’s leading human rights campaigners, explains how common it is for police to arrest the victims of a crime when they are from Central Asia or the Caucasus.
A dancer prepares for a nightly cabaret show in Mayak, one of the two gay clubs in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia on Sept. 23, 2013. Sochi, a southern Russian town, will host the Winter Olympics amid President Vladimir Putin’s harsh crackdown on gays.
[Credit : Sergei Grits/AP]