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Ulitza – War in Chechnya – photos by Leo Erken

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Leo Erken: in November 2019 it was 25 years ago that the Chechen war started. I was a 30 year old photographer at the time and thought it was my duty to cover it. Little did I know. My pictures were published all over the world and with some of these pictures I won the ‘Silver Camera’, the highest award for photojournalism in the Netherlands. I could never really celebrate it because all my memories of Chechnya lead to one emotion: shame.
Shame towards the pride people of Chechnya who were caught in this cynical power game that brought them so much misery. My pictures (and all the pictures of my more courageous colleagues who stayed longer and went deeper) did not help them at all. It surely did not stop the war. Now the people of Chechnya live under a brutal dictatorship and still we are not able to help them.

 

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