Photojournalist Diana Markosian spent the last year and half covering Russia’s volatile North Caucasus region. This year she started a personal project entitled “Goodbye My Chechnya” documenting the lives of young Chechen women as they come of age in the aftermath of war. She writes, “For young women in Chechnya the most innocent acts could mean breaking the law. A Chechen girl caught smoking is cause for arrest; while rumors of a couple engaging in pre-martial relations can result in her killing. The few girls who dare to rebel become targets in the eyes of Chechen authorities. After nearly two decades of vicious war and 70 years of Soviet rule, during which religious participation was banned, modern-day Chechnya is going through Islamic revival. The Chechen government is building mosques in every village, prayer rooms in public schools, and enforcing a stricter Islamic dress code for both men and women. This photo essay chronicles the lives of young Muslim girls who witnessed the horrors of two wars and are now coming of age in a republic that is rapidly redefining itself as a Muslim state.”
Image: Kazbek Mutsaev, 29, fires celebratory gun shots as part of an age-old wedding tradition in Chechnya, by Diana Markosian. Via Boston.com, Young Women in Chechnya.