The hostage drama helped underscore that in Chechnya itself there appears to be no end in sight to a vicious cycle of violence. The Russian military has begun withdrawing troops, but each day the casualty list grows longer and the human suffering spreads. Russian news agencies reported March 14 that at least 12 Russian troops were killed in a Chechen rebel raid on a military convoy. Meanwhile, Russian officials reported March 15 that at least 25 rebels had been killed in a search & destroy operation conducted in the Vedeno mountainous district. Combatants are not the only ones being killed. In late February, evidence of a mass grave was reportedly found not far from the main Russian military base at Khankala. Russian officials maintain that the bodies found in the grave are those of Chechen rebels killed while defending Grozny, the Chechen capital, and buried by their comrades in arms. The Memorial human rights organization, however, says that evidence gathered by their investigators indicates that the bodies are those of civilians, whose hands had been tied behind their backs and had been shot at close range. Photographer Jason Eskenazi spent time in Chechnya in 2000 documenting both military and civilian existence. The images in this photo essay attempt to convey a sense of daily life amid the renegade region's tumult.
Jason Eskenazis photographs have appeared
in such publications as Time Magazine and The New York Times.
He first began photographing in the former Soviet Union in
1991. In 1996, he won an Alicia Patterson Fellowship for his
work in Russia. In 1999, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship
and was awarded the Dorothea Lange/Paul Taylor Prize for his
work on the Jewish community in Azerbaijan. He is now at work
on a book of photography covering the former Soviet Union,
tentatively titled "Wonderland."