Global Voices Online
Friday, March 30, 2007
Earlier this week, I linked to LJ user kunstkamera's photos from Grozny, Chechnya. (Warning: bandwidth intensive.)
Below are some of the comments and kunstkamera's own remarks, translated from Russian.
gematogen: Was it scary?
kunstkamera: It was scary to fly the [YaK-42] plane.
i_grappa: It's interesting, thank you! In general, what are your impressions of Grozny and the Chechens?
kunstkamera: Actually, I was shooting in Grozny for the last two hours before our departure. I spent most of the time in the villages in the mountains. Lots of impressions there, I hope to do a report on it and convey it all in detail. But in general - there are many good people, more than you'd expect to meet in a totalitarian society.
umka245: [...] Who is the monument to?
kunstkamera: Akhmad Kadyrov.
umka245: Lovely! Fan Club of Ramzan Kadyrov, Boxing Club - Ramzan, the monument - Akhmad Kadyrov. I'm sure there're also streets and squares bearing these wonderful names ))
kunstkamera: Of course, Grozny's main street is Kadyrov Street.
umka245: What languages do they speak there? All the signs on the photos are in Russian... But they speak Chechen, don't they?
Anonymous: What a strange question... What language other than their native, Chechen, would the Chechen people speak?
lesgustoy: The question isn't strange. Even the instructions for the rebels were written in Russian. Not all Chechens know the Chechen language well.
coolmen: Actually, you are mixing *good people* with the *Caucasian hospitality* - there are no more and no less good people, just as many as anywhere else. It's a tradition of the Caucasus to be good to your neighbor and your guest... Even more so for guests...
p.s. a special thanks for the *stock exchange* (it's where there's the *Chechen Lotto* sign, the new House of Services, I guess, don't remember the pre-war names anymore) - it's one of the most evil places of Grozny under Maskhadov - weapons, drugs and all that come with that - it was interesting to take a look...
kunstkamera: Well, not really. I'm more or less familiar with the Caucasian hospitality in many of its forms. In Abkhazia, for example, it often makes you sick. But in Chechnya, I saw a lot of people who were basically crystal pure. Maybe because I was dealing with human rights activists and village school teachers. It's hard to express - they were real good, though maybe against the backdrop of the generally gloomy atmosphere. And yes, I didn't get it what it is that they do at this stock exchange.
miremis: well... Life is getting better? With the question mark. [...]
kunstkamera: In a way, yes - there are several newly reconstructed streets in Grozny, and the who republic works at construction sites in Grozny. But they have a totalitarian regime there, of course, and life is getting better for those who are loyal to it.
ploxo: Please explain what it is with the women wearing the same robes - a hospital?
kunstkamera: Endocrinological clinic. Why they are dressed in robes and are painting - I don't know. Maybe it was a [subbotnik].
timur_aliev: Thank you for the photos... This is what our life is really like - if you don't listen to Ramzan...
beliashou_links: Are there any photo journals by your compatriots? I'd love to see it with my own eyes - without journalists...
timur_aliev: None that I'm aware of...
[In his own journal, in the entry linking to kunstkamera's photos, timur_aliev wrote: "[...] By the way, with just a few exceptions, all the photos were taken in one place, literally - where Peace Street meets with Roza Luxembourg Street, near the central market. It's the very center [...]. And this is also where those missiles landed in October 1999."]
mulholgand_dr: For some reason, this is how Grozny always looks in spring, disgusting, dead. In summer it's immeasurably more beautiful there.