Alexei Malgavko is a young photographer from Russia, known for his authentic reports about life in Russian province.
The personages of his photos come in stark contrast with the glamorous residents of Moscow, Saint Petersburg and other big Russian cities. But they show the real life of majority of Russian people.
[ All pictures and description are taken from http://farrkhat.livejournal.com/15452.html ]
I often hear from people “There is a lot of negative stuff in your photos”. I think, however, that in my photos I show our country. The Russian countryside. Russia, as it is.
These shots were taken in the course of three days when the town of Tara, where I live, was celebrating its 416-th anniversary. Beer and stronger drinks were flowing in stream. Sometimes it seemed as if people here had the only desire left in their lives – get drunk till the state of stupor and forget about everything.
Here in province people hardly find money for kindergarten or school, but for some reason we can always scrape something for booze. Even if it is the last money. And so it will happen with the last money for the tenth and for the hundredth time in a row.
Without a shot of vodka one can’t imagine wedding and funerals, departures and arrivals, inviting or leading out the guests. Alcohol accompanies not only the domestic happenings, but the official events as well. Vodka seals the oral contracts and government bonds of regional scale. If on weekdays drinking is allowed, but not encouraged, on weekends people are free to be “happy” 24 hours per day without any “brakes”. That’s the “Russian happiness”.
While visiting various events, I was surprised to see that people are very similar in their tastes, despite their different social status. All drink. Drink with some special despair. In their hearts people bear a sense of pride for their town mixed with the hatred to it and tiredness of waiting for a better life. While this better life does not come already for more than four centuries.
Instead of new swimming pools and leisure centers, more abandoned buildings appear in the town; the pensions of old people in little towns and villages are often higher than the salaries of their children and grandchildren. Young people feel embarrassed, since it’s not normal and humiliating to be dependent on the elderly. But there is simply no work. The available jobs are paid by minimum. And so it turns out that the the earned pennies only suffice for the booze.
Young people leave the province, adding to the marginal layer of the nearby big city. They dream of BMW, but drive Lada 6. The families, created in “drunken love” and in a hurry, quickly become a burden.
Alas, the Russian province is degrading. The smoking kids, expelling foul speech and the sharp smell of alcohol, don’t hesitate to come to the discotheque. They don’t even hide behind the corner.
And, by the way, they don’t come here to dance, but to get some drink or a dose of dope.
Many in the province don’t have “tomorrow.” Maybe that’s why they have such a desperate fun? Here is a drunkard doing ridiculous antics to a song about Sochi, where he has never been …
Most residents of Tara have, as some say, not popular professions. That is, they are not lawyers or economists, not “white-collars”, but simple workers. During the public holidays they dissolve in the crowd, and, perhaps, in these times they feel a part of “united” and “indivisible” nation.
I don’t claim that drunken stupor is the Russian happiness. But how else can one be happy in the country which cares more to show off in front of other countries, than taking care of its own citizens?
Is there negative stuff in my photos?
In my opinion, this is the real Russia, which is not shown on national television, of which we are ashamed and embarrassed, which we don’t want to see. And if we talk about the spirit of Russia, I don’t think that those Russians who emigrated to the West miss Moscow’s traffic jams and corporate parties.
Comments of Russian netizens
dobryi_lev: That’s not happiness, that’s UNHAPPINESS, misfortune, misery! It’s forced, subtly and skillfully. These people have no choice, and at the same time they do. There are many alternatives, but they are buried, drowned in the sea of lies. I was lucky. After sinking to the bottom of alcoholism, I survived. Survived by clinging to faith, Christianity. But this is my way.Это-не счастье,это-НЕСЧАСТЬЕ,беда,горе!причём навязываемое,тонко и искусно.у этих людей нет выбора,и одновременно-есть.альтернатив много,но они зарыты,утоплены в море лжи.мне повезло,я,побывав на дне алкоголизма,выжил.выжил,зацепившись за веру,за православие.но-это мой путь.
nikolaushkas (doctor): I also was always wondering – where from do they get money for vodka? With my full-time job and a load of overtime hours I hardly had money for a booze, wasn’t enough even for relatively inexpensive stuff. Only if someone presented me something (ed: in Russia it’s a common custom when patients “bribe” doctors with alcohol). Meanwhile, the patients always had funds for vodka – no matter what. Even the most marginal ones, even the homeless or lonely old men. Two to three bottles a day – always. Magic))тоже всегда удивлялся – откуда деньги на водку берутся? С работой в день и валом дежурств зарплаты мне на выпивку, даже относительно недорогую, обычно не хватало. Только если подарят чего-нить. Зато у пациентов всегда откуда-то находились средства на водовку, независимо ни от чего. Даже у конченых маргиналов, даже у бомжей или одиноких старичков. На две-три бутылки в день – всегда. Волшебство ))
[Note: Read the related post about the Russian doctor showing her first salary slip]
shpigo123: Any dying periphery looks like that. Also, the natural selection – those who strive for more, they leave and achieve better life.А вообще любая глубинка умирающая так выглядит. Плюс естественный отбор – те, кто хотят большего, уедут и добьются большего.
junka79: Yeah, enough to drive a bit away from the major cities and that’s the picture you get in most cases :( When you communicate with the local population, you feel only despair and the understanding that they cannot give normal life and future neither for themselves nor for their children.Да уж, стоит немного отъехать от крупных городов и много где такая картина :-(. Когда общаешься с местным населением, одна безысходность и осознание, что ни себе, ни своим детям они не смогут обеспечить достойную жизнь и будущее.
koshhko: My friends in Detroit are in the same ASS. Another friend left Australia for the USA looking for happiness.А вот у моих друзей в Детройте тоже ЖОПА, а друг из австралии уехал в США в поисках счастья.
There is nowhere happiness, if you are an asshole, whiner, impotent and bum. Real man does not need Putin to pour manna into his throat with one hand and hold penis in the toilet with another. And you all want it. Нет нигде счастья, если сам мудак, нытик, импотент и жопоголик. Настоящему мужику не надо, чтобы ему Путин одной рукой вливал манну небесную на халяву в глотку, другой писю в туалете придерживал. А вы ЭТОГО и хотите.
Yes, f**k, that’s how capitalism looks like. In order to have it like in America – you must have the capitalism not for 20, but for 300 years, and during these 300 years someone was Black.Да, бля, вот ТАК капитализм и выглядит, а чтобы было как в Америке – это надо чтобы капитализму было не 20 лет, а 300, и все 300 лет кто-то был негром.