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War Correspondent Returns To A Different Grozny

Czech journalist Petra Prochazkova is known for both her humanitarian projects and her work as a war correspondent in the conflict areas of the former Soviet Union. She reported from Grozny during the First Chechen War of the mid-1990s and the Second Chechen War of 1999-2000. This May, she returned to Grozny, and found the city completely transformed from the war-torn regional capital of 10 years ago. Prochazkova reports that Grozny is now full of excessive displays of wealth, from clothes to monuments, but she described the mood as similar to that of Prague after the 1968 Soviet invasion: exhausted and hopeless. (12 PHOTOS)

A gold-colored sedan is one of the ostentatious cars on the streets of Grozny.
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A gold-colored sedan is one of the ostentatious cars on the streets of Grozny.

A shopping center is covered in layers of advertisements...
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A shopping center is covered in layers of advertisements...

...some selling expensive brands, like this Italian men's clothing line.
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...some selling expensive brands, like this Italian men's clothing line.

Women, on the other hand, have fewer fashion choices. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has made a push for women to wear the Islamic hijab, especially in schools and public institutions.
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Women, on the other hand, have fewer fashion choices. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has made a push for women to wear the Islamic hijab, especially in schools and public institutions.

Prochazkova poses for a picture near the city's main mosque. She found that she needed to buy new clothes and a head scarf to meet local dress requirements.
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Prochazkova poses for a picture near the city's main mosque. She found that she needed to buy new clothes and a head scarf to meet local dress requirements.

Large-scale portraits of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (left) and his father and predecessor, Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov
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Large-scale portraits of Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov (left) and his father and predecessor, Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov

A sign at the memorial complex devoted to late Chechen President Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov
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A sign at the memorial complex devoted to late Chechen President Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov

The entrance to the memorial complex for Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov
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The entrance to the memorial complex for Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov

The interior of Grozny's main mosque, which opened in 2008. It is known both as the Akhmed Kadyrov Mosque and as "The Heart of Chechnya."
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The interior of Grozny's main mosque, which opened in 2008. It is known both as the Akhmed Kadyrov Mosque and as "The Heart of Chechnya."

The Berkat shoppping center is one of the properties owned by the Kadyrov family.
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The Berkat shoppping center is one of the properties owned by the Kadyrov family.

An outdoor cafe by a fountain, one of the sites to benefit from massive rebuilding efforts
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An outdoor cafe by a fountain, one of the sites to benefit from massive rebuilding efforts

A poster proclaims the innocence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two ethnic Chechen brothers suspected of carrying out the Boston bombings in April. Similar signs can be found around Grozny.
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A poster proclaims the innocence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two ethnic Chechen brothers suspected of carrying out the Boston bombings in April. Similar signs can be found around Grozny.

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