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Jeremy Nichol March 15, 2012

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Russia.

Putin Supporters. Moscow, Russia

Jeremy Nicholl (b.1957, Northern Ireland) bought his first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, when he was eight years old. Some 16 years later he finally went professional, working first as a freelance at the Times, Sunday Times and various UK magazines, then as a contract photographer at the Independent. After working throughout Europe, in Africa and the USA, he has since 1991 specialized in the former Soviet Union, and his work from there has been widely published and exhibited, and won a number of awards, including at World Press Photo. He believes he was fated to work in Russia: he took his first pictures there on a school trip aged thirteen, with that Kodak Instamatic.

About the Photograph:

“It’s politics, but not as we know it. Nashi [meaning “Ours”] is a pro-Kremlin youth group dreamt up by Vladislav Surkov, Putin’s chief ideologist. Essentially they’re a remodeled version of the Komsomol, the old Communist youth movement, and are wheeled out whenever the authorities need some socially acceptable patriotic youth on the TV news. On this occasion 70,000 of them were dressed up as Dyed Moroz and Snegurichka [Father Frost and the Snow Maiden] at a rally to wish happy new year to veterans of World War Two, or the Great Patriotic War as it’s known in Russia. It was of course all very controlled: city center streets sealed off, entrance only to those with an invitation, dozens of state TV cameras in prime positions to capture the onstage action with the veterans. Most of this was ignored by the kids: many are bussed in from out of town, so for them it’s largely a free day out to the big city. Here they’re just leaving past the rows of riot cops who would of course be arresting them if this wasn’t an officially approved demonstration.”