Maria Turchenkova born in Moscow 1987, is currently based between Moscow, Paris and Erbil. Turchenkova is a member of the Getty Reportage Emerging Talent and participated 2013 in the World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass in Amsterdam. In 2014 she was selected one of “PDN´s 30: New and Emerging Photographers to Watch”. Her work has appeared in TIME Magazine, NYT, Le Monde, Der Speigel, La Republica, Arte TV and others.
After five years of radio journalism Maria Turchenkova took up photography. Since 2011 her attention has focused primarily on the North Caucasus (Russia) where she conducted a long-term project ‘Hidden War In The Land Of Mountains’ concerning the ongoing armed conflict in the region. Since the crisis broke out in Ukraine, with annexation of Crimea and revolt in East Ukraine, Maria Turchenkova has been working on her project “People’s republic of chaos”, telling about the war in Donbass. At the same time Maria works on her personal project in the Middle East.
Dagestan, North Caucasus, Russia
The Republic of Dagestan, in the North Caucasus, is part of the Russian Federation. With a population of about 3 million people, Dagestan — bordering Chechnya, with the Caspian Sea to the east and Georgia and Azerbaijan to the south — is comprised of more then 40 ethnic groups where ethnic Russians make roughly 4,5%.
Despite the reduction of large-scale military operations 10 years ago in Chechnya and Grozny gleaming after emerging from decades of chaos with huge budget inflows and autocratic rule of Kadirov, Dagestan suffers from the ongoing armed conflict, poverty and religious contradictions.
With the Islamists fighters staying active in the mountains and the special forces fighting them with harsh methods, the region is locked in the circle of violence and unlawfulness, which affects every family. In fact anyone, can appear under pressure, threat and suspect. While it stays out of news agenda in the central part of Russia, Dagestan today has almost a half of its territory is under a special security regimen (CTO, or “counter-terrorist operation”) and populace endures martial law, rigid curfews and random searches enforced by the Russian military.
Dagestan today is split by seemingly intractable social and religious differences. The gap between the richest and the poorest is enormous. Salafism — a puritanical form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia — is largely rising its profile, against traditional in Dagestan Sufi Muslims, complicating the already tangled political and religious picture. The law enforcement and justice systems are largely ruled by nepotism and corruption, the law doesn’t have real power.
While with only officially more than 3000 victims of the ongoing armed conflict during past 5 years, Dagestan remains the undisputed leader in the level of violence among the regions of North Caucasus / Maria Turchenkova
Maria Turchenkova´s photography was represented by Galleri Duerr at the Affordable Art Fair Stockholm 2016, Lydmar 2017 and in Artsy.
This conversation from the opening, is highlighting the issue – What happens to women’s position in times of conflict and radicalization. Participating photographer Maria Turchenkova and Zakir Magomedov, a young journalist and chief editor at Daptar web portal and women’s magazine – the first of its kind in North Caucasus working with women’s rights in Dagestan.