Grozny, the capital of war-torn Chechnya, is a melting pot for the changing Caucasus society that is trying to overcome the post-trauma shock of war, while finding its own way of life in between traditional Chechen values, Muslim traditions, and globalization. 

The body of work itself is inspired by Thornton Wilder’s book, Theophilus North, and centers on the idea of nine cities being hidden in one. This concept allows us to explore specific aspects of the aftermath of two Chechen wars — considering them as ”levels” hidden within Grozny.

The First City is the city that has ceased to exist – memory of the city that was burned down.

The Second City is the city of war — terrorist attacks and violence as a kind of background noise for locals.

The Third City is the city of religion. Chechnya under Kadyrov is undergoing total Islamization.

The Fourth City is the city of women. With the collapse of all the values after wars, they have to find again their role in the society.

The Fifth City is the city of men, their visual appearance and role in the society.

The Sixth City is the city of the nation’s servants, and the cult of personality of the President of Chechnya.

The Seventh City is the city of oil production.

The Eighth City is the city of strangers in a mono-ethnic society, e.g. ethnic Russians.

The Ninth City is the city of ordinary people and their passion for normalcy after 15 years of war.

— Olga Kravets, Maria Morina, and Oksana Yushko

Editor's Note: When asked for more details, Olga Kravets responded by email:

"Regarding our plans, we are making a cross-platform project. It will result in a 10-minute multi-screen multimedia installation, which, together with prints, will form the exhibition (which is what we are working on now), then a book and the web-documentary that we want to launch before the anniversary of the start of the first Chechen war. We finished most of the shooting, but we still want to follow-up on things while we are working on post-production, so we will be going to Chechnya more this year."