... North Ossetia-Alania, Kabardino-Balkaria, Karachai-Cherkessia, Stavropol, Adygeya, Krasnodar, Abkhazia
Early 2010. Invited by President Ramzan Kadirov. Flew Moscow to Grozny in Yak 40 by Grozny Avia. Very friendly reception. Totally rebuilt from war devastation. On the way to becoming a modern UAE-style emirate. Impressive leadership. Unique Nakh culture. Very macho. Many Rambos carrying big guns. Beautiful women chants and dances. Sophisticated conversation partners. One of my most intense and favourite encounters with peoples. Got President's escort from Grozny to Sochi. Ca. 1.000km through beautiful Caucasus. Many police checkpoints, especially in Ingushetia, but no problem for us in President's car. Quick entry into Abkhazia from Sochi (ca. 10km only).
P.S.: To get in the right mood, read the quote from Lonely Planet:
"Traveling independently in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan is like walking on the moon without a spacesuit"
Best Hotel in Grozny in 2010: Hotel Arena City *****
Basic reception area. Good gym. Very good rooms with luxury steam showers. Fantastic restaurant. Previous guests included Roberto Cavalli and Mike Tyson.
(Example below. Source: youtube)
Tamila Sagaipova: Chechen Nr. 1 hit in 2010
1.000 km through the Caucasus