In pictures: Life in Chechnya

An exhibition of photographs by Davide Monteleone, winner of the fourth Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award, has opened in London.

The Italian's project, Spasibo, documents life in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya, focusing on the social, political and economic situation.

Image copyright Davide Monteleone

Surrounded on nearly all sides by Russian territory, Chechnya also shares a remote border with Georgia, high in the Caucasus mountains. Rich in oil, Chechnya's economy and infrastructure were reduced to ruins by years of war between local separatists and Russian forces, combined with armed banditry and organised crime.

Image copyright Davide Monteleone

Monteleone became an editorial photographer for the Contrasto agency in 2000. The following year, he moved to Moscow as a correspondent and now pursues long-term personal projects.

He says: "Even though I come from the tradition of documentary photography, my goal is not only to inform, but to create images that are the interpretation of an idea. I want the audience of my work to get curious about the subject of my research and to start investigating themselves."

Monteleone travelled to Chechnya in late 2013 through to April 2014 to produce this project.

Image copyright Davide Monteleone

Wrestling practice in Grozny's central gym takes place under portraits of Akhmad Kadyrov, Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov. Mr Kadyrov is the son of assassinated President Akhmad Kadyrov and a dominant figure in Chechen politics. He was nominated for the Chechen presidency by Russian President Vladimir Putin in spring 2007 and approved almost unanimously by the Chechen parliament.

Image copyright Davide Monteleone

"A group of pro-Kadyrov activists in the main city square for the 10th anniversary celebration of Constitution Day. In the background, the Central Mosque and the Grozny-City skyscrapers, the main symbol of the reconstruction of Grozny and Chechnya thanks to the efforts of President Kadyrov and money from Moscow," says Monteleone.

Image copyright Davide Monteleone

Security forces attend the same event. In the background, the five gleaming Grozny-City Towers.

Image copyright Davide Monteleone

"A group of men leaving the Akhmad Kadyrov Mosque, officially known as The Heart of Chechnya, after the Friday prayer. Islam, so long suppressed here, is now heavily promoted," says Monteleone.

Image copyright Davide Monteleone

"A girl praying in the only official female madrassa in Chechnya and in Russia. This is one of the oldest madrassas, where girls and women can study the Islamic religion," Monteleone adds.

Image copyright Davide Monteleone

"There is little left of the Orthodox religion in Chechnya. Most of its Russian Christian minority fled in the early 1990s, during the creation of Dzhokhar Dudayev's independent Chechen state."

Image copyright Davide Monteleone

"Rada, age 14, trying on a wedding dress designed by her sister, on board a bus during the rehearsal for the shooting of a movie on Chechen deportation."

Spasibo, an exhibition of photographs by Davide Monteleone, fourth laureate of the Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award, runs 11 October - 3 November 2014, at the Saatchi Gallery, London.