Goodbye My Chechnya by Diana Markosian

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For young girls in Chechnya the most innocent acts could mean breaking the rules.

A Chechen girl caught smoking is cause for arrest; while rumors of a couple having sex before marriage can result in an honor 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. 

Diana Markosian is a documentary photographer.

Her photography has taken her from Russia’s North Caucasus mountains, to the ancient Silk Road in Tajikistan, and overland to the remote Wakhan Corridor in northeastern Afghanistan, where she has worked on both personal and editorial assignments.

Markosian’s images have appeared in Boston Globe, Foreign Policy, Foto8, Marie Claire, the New York Times,the Sunday Times, Time.com, and World Policy Journal. Her work has also been exhibited by international organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and UNICEF.

Her work has been recognized with awards including Columbia University’s photographer of the year (2010), the National Press Photography Association second place in multimedia (2011), Reuters’ best 100 photos of the year (2011), Marie Claire International Photography Award (2012), Reportage by Getty Images’ Emerging Talent roster (2012), The Photographic Museum of Humanity Grant (2013), and Burn Magazine’s Emerging Photographer Fund (2013). In 2013, Markosian was selected to participate in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in Amsterdam.

Markosian is represented by Reportage by Getty Images.