Igor Lagunov/Magnitigorsk Fyodor Telkov/Yekaterinburg Sergey Maximishin/St. Petersburg Igor Lagunov/Magnitigorsk Misha Maslennikov/Moscow Fyodor Telkov/Yekaterinburg Valeriy Klamm/Novosibirsk Alexander Stepanenko/Murmansk Valeriy Klamm/Novosibirsk Valeriy Klamm/Novosibirsk

(via Beyond Sochi: Photos Of Russia By Russians)

The gap between how foreigners view Russia and how Russians view themselves is wide and as old as the country itself.

Russian photographer Valeriy Klamm felt that foreign photojournalists who came to work in his country arrive with the pictures they want to send back home already in their head: Bleak images of a cold and desolate place where autocrats lord over drunks.

"They already know how to take pictures of Russia, and that’s how they arrive," Klamm said. "It’s always a wild country that’s in some kind of difficult transition period."

Klamm, himself, had never photographed much outside of his home city of Novosibirsk, where nearly 2 million people live on the banks of the Ob River in the middle of Siberia. 

But in 2000, he started to visit these small towns, camera in hand. And in 2009, Klamm started “Birthmarks on the Map,” a collective photo project and website that collects these images in one place. He began to ask his photographer friends, both foreign and local, to share images of simple life in the rural Russian villages and small towns that dot the vast expanse from Europe to the Pacific Ocean. More than 60 photographers, both award-winning professionals and hobbyists, have contributed. 

Klamm wanted to fill his site with images of real Russia life, and the result is something closer to ethnography or anthropology than journalism. Klamm actually works with ethnographers who study these small communities to find untold stories.

"Life in the middle of nowhere has always been difficult," he said. "But I see dignity in the difficulties of these people on the outskirts of our geography. Their patience and simple wisdom gives strength and hope. And this stuff is always necessary to mankind."

Linda Forsell. Cause of Death: Woman 

Intimate Partner Violence

The one you love, you beat. – proverb, Sweden

More than a third of all women in the world are subjected to physical or sexual violence during their lifetime. The most common type is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) which one out of three women have to suffer. No country, and no economical class or age is exempted; and it has dire effects. Depression, alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and physical injuries are merely part of the outcome.

About the project

Cause of Death: Woman is a unique investigative report on violence against women in the world, describing atrocities ranging from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and acid attacks to more hidden types like psychological and physical violence between partners and rape.

Between 2010 and 2012 Linda Forsell documented the situation in ten countries together with reporters Karin Alfredsson and Kerstin Weigl. The countries included in the project are the USA, South Africa, Egypt, Sweden, Pakistan, Mexico, Brazil, Congo, Spain and Russia.

The primary result of the work is www.causeofdeathwoman.com, an open resource for anyone who is interested, but with large focus on reaching out through organizations, schools, workshops and lectures around the world.

1. South Africa: The first time Elizabeth’s boyfriend beat her she was 16. Her boyfriend used to say to her: “You’re a dog. How can you expect anyone to love you when even your own mother doesn’t?”

2. Russia: Svetlana is forced to live with her husband that she has filed a lawsuit against for abusing her. The situation is common in Russia where housing is extremely scarce.

3. Sweden.

4. Brazil: Rosangela says she has survived twice. First when her husband threw petrol over her and set her alight – and then the negligence at the hospital.

(via darksilenceinsuburbia)

In the early 2000s, Russia had more prisoners per capita than the United States. A 34-year-old man from the North Caucasus named Valery was one of them.

The course of Valery’s life is not uncommon for men his age. At 15 he started using heroin. He joined a gang. “I was a tough guy,” he says.

As the Russian state began to regain strength in the late 1990s, he found himself caught in Russia’s equivalent the U.S.’s war on drugs: a war fought primarily by law enforcement. In 2004, in an overcrowded prison near St. Petersburg, he learned he was HIV-positive. Prisons back then were incubators of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis. Valery isn’t sure how he became infected.

Released in 2010, he is kept alive by the antiretroviral drugs provided by the government. Valery says he is finally done with using heroin. “I don’t have any temptation to go back to that life,” Valery says. “I just grew up and realized I needed to have another life.”

Images by Pulitzer Center grantee Misha Friedman. View more images and read more about HIV/AIDS in Russia through Misha and Pulitzer Center grantee Gregory Gilderman’s reporting project: How to Lose a Drug War: Heroin, HIV and the Russian Federation

(via pulitzercenter)

A look at photos from “Spasibo,” a monograph and exhibition by the Italian photojournalist Davide Monteleone, which examines Chechen identity after centuries of violence and conflict between Chechen separatists and Moscow: http://nyr.kr/HAPMRy

“Grozny is a city of phantoms. Phantoms of those who died or disappeared in the war—every family has brothers, sons, or a father who left the house and never returned,” writes the Moscow-based journalist Masha Gessen. As Monteleone says, “Everything is controlled by the authorities that give to the people as they please. A state of comforting stagnation …. The physical violence that was so much part of the post-conflict years … seems to have decreased. The Chechens are so frightened that these acts of violence are almost no longer necessary. The violence is now psychological, a form of brainwashing that starts with the youngest generations.”

“Spasibo” (which means “thank you” in Russian), won the 2012 Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award. The exhibition will be on view at Chapelle de l’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, in Paris, from November 8th through December 4th.

(via newyorker)


Ethnic-Based Arrests in Moscow

After the fatal stabbing of a young man in Moscow last week, word spread that the attacker was not an ethnic Russian. Racist mobs swarmed a wholesale vegetable market where many traders and handymen come from the Caucasus and Central Asia. In the wake of the violence, Moscow police began rounding people up. Incredibly, they weren’t rounding up suspected attackers – they were rounding up people from the Caucasus and Central Asia, putatively to protect them.

It was the second episode of racist violence in Moscow in a week. Earlier, a racist mob had swarmed a shopping mall, looking for “migrants.” Police detained some suspects, but most were quickly released.

In this video, Svetlana Gannushkina, one of Russia’s leading human rights campaigners, explains how common it is for police to arrest the victims of a crime when they are from Central Asia or the Caucasus.