We Questioned Russians’ Patriotism And Here Are Some Of Their Replies
Last fall, a mismatched duo of Russian and American photojournalists (Paul Richardson and Mikhail Mordasov, who had never met in person before) took a 6000-kilometer road trip from the frigid shores of the Barents Sea to Sochi, Russia’s southernmost tip on the Black Sea. It was a collaborative photojournalistic project uniting journalists from two different generations, from two vastly different cultures, with two very different world views.
Our goal was to view Russia from the ground, to collect powerful images and honest human stories that offered a more subtle, complex picture of the “other” – which for Americans today is often still Russia. The trip captured over 3000 still images and dozens of in-depth interviews with Russians from all walks of life.
It was deep-dive, embedded journalism, and the primary output of the project was a 200-page oversized coffee-table book (“The Spine of Russia”) that includes, among other things, photo portraits of 43 “heroes” we interviewed in depth, alongside each person’s answer to our charged question: “Do you consider yourself a patriot, and if so, of what and why?” Here are a few of their varied responses to this question.