I visited Grozny, Chechnya's capital, briefly as a part of the November 2016 travel with the Mondo in Cammino association.
Destroyed completely in the course of two intestine wars with the Russian Federation in 1994-5 and 1999, it has been quickly rebuilt after Chechnya once again pledged its allegiance to the Federation.
This pledge, and the ensuing peace, came at a price: since 2000 stability has been managed by the Kadyrov family, which enjoys complete power over the republic, aided by large secret services and its own army ("Kadyrovki"). Dissent is prosecuted through extreme measures, and many are the activists who forever "disappeared".
In rebuilding Grozny, authorities kickstarted grandiose plans: parks, skyscrapers and grandiose mosques have been built, in such a contrast with the neighbouring republics that the locals like to compare it – with much imagination – to Dubai.
Construction is still ongoing, and a mixture of clean streets, new buildings, large roads and luxury cars for the elite mask not only the scars of the two wars, but also the fact the circa 70% of the population is actually unemployed. No jobs, no perspectives, just continuation through social assistance make Chechnya a reliable ally for Russia: after all, no rich subject chooses to be a subject forever.