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“People live here”

On a brick wall in Grozny, Chechnya, a faded, spraypainted message — perhaps dating back to the years of war in the 1990s — shouts a warning to combatants: “People live here”. It’s a plea from those within to be spared from the battle raging outside. Though the intense fighting of the 1990s has subsided, the message is as pertinent as ever. Over the past few years, this region of the Russian Federation has been plagued by violence between armed opposition groups and
local and federal authorities. These sombre black-and-white
images, taken by ICRC’s Marko Kokic, speak to the chronic
pain, poverty and fear of people living in the shadow of
conflict and violence.

On a brick wall in Grozny, Chechnya, a faded, spraypainted message — perhaps dating back to the years of war in the 1990s — shouts a warning to combatants: “People live here”.
Photo: ©ICRC

The Transcaucasian Highway is a mountain road that crosses the Greater Caucasus, connecting North Ossetia with South Ossetia and Russia with Georgia. The ICRC often takes the highway during missions, bringing medical care, providing information on missing family members and helping people develop livelihoods. Photo: ©ICRC

This forty-nine-year-old woman was a street cleaner before she suffered a stroke and became bedridden two years ago. Too young to collect a pension, she receives instant meals, bread and sugar from the ICRC, which is working to obtain a disability pension for her. A picture of her only son — killed during the 1989-1992 South Ossetian conflict — adorns the bare wall over her bed at the Turbaza collective centre in Tskhinvali, South Ossetia. The centre houses 43 displaced Ossetian families. Photo: ©ICRC

This 6-year-old Ingushetian boy holds a photo of his father, a plumber and an alleged member of the armed opposition who was killed by security forces in 2010. Mahomet and his brother are now being raised by their 70-year-old great aunt, the mother having left the family. The family received a cow, clothes and financial assistance from the ICRC. Photo: ©ICRC

In Shuani, a village in Chechnya in the Russian Federation, this 55-year-old woman tends to cucumbers that she raises in a greenhouse provided through an ICRC microeconomic initiative. The work, she says, helps her forget, for just a little while, about her two sons, who were abducted in the middle of the night in 2003 and have been missing ever since. Photo: ©ICRC

An ICRC field cooperation officer listens to an 83-year-old beneficiary of a Russian Red Cross home nursing programme in Grozny, the capital of Chechnya in the Russian Federation. Her home was destroyed during the Chechen war, and her neighbours hid her in the basement to spare her from being killed for being a Russian. Photo: ©ICRC

The cranes and newly built skyscrapers that adorn the skyline of Grozny are a sign that afteryears of warfare, the capital hopes to rebuild and reinvent itself. The city’s main mosque, constructed by Turkish architects and builders in 2008, is said to be the largest in Europe and can hold up to 10,000 people. Photo: ©ICRC

Lack of access to regular health care is a perennial hardship in the region. Many elderly people, such as the 80-year-old South Ossetian woman pictured here, fend for themselves with little outside assistance. Fortunately, the local health post, where the elderly woman goes to have her blood pressure tested and receive medication, was recently renovated. The ICRC also helps her with food parcels. Photo: ©ICRC

In Tskhinvali, in South Ossetia, the Turbaza collective center houses 43 families — all Ossetian displaced during the first South Ossetian conflict (1989-1992). Photo: ©ICRC


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