DAGESTAN: Shuana’s father passed away when she was just a few months old, so her older sister had to step in and help her mom raise her. Both mom & sister were always there for her, she said, adding that growing up with one parent nonetheless ’strongly impacts’ a child. Shuana, who works part-time with children as an animator while finishing two university degrees, wants to travel for personal and professional development. However, the 20 year-old feels she can’t leave her mom and sister, who have done so much for her. Her mother would like her to get married and have children. Shuana describes her predicament as being in an open cage that she can’t fly out of.
Elena and Mikhail, who will celebrate their 45th anniversary this year, were walking along the Volga riverside in Samara on a sunny Woman's Day. Elena said she was a professor at the local medical university, teaching latin, and wanted to converse in English. She said she has been working at the university for 40 years. Both her children studied at the university and now her granddaughter studies there. ''I recommended to my family to study there,'' she said. Her daughter is a nurse, her son works for a pharmaceutical company and her granddaughter is studying to become a pediatrician, she said. Elena said her and her husband continue to work despite reaching retirement age in order to stay active.
Masha grew up in a village with three residential buildings and 50 people, including her parents and three siblings. Like most tiny villages, there was no plumming, which made a lot of basic chores more difficult. Masha got a scholarship at a university on the Russian mainland, has received another two higher degrees and is working on getting her fourth. She works for one of the largest companies in the world and plans to adopt a child.
Lyumila and Pavel, 29, were looking for pigeons in the central of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk late on a Thursday. Lyudmila is one of the many young specialists invited from the Russian 'mainland' to work on Sakhalin, where the pay is high due to the remote location. Pavel, her husband, supported the temporary move. ''I told her its a great opportunity, a chance to gain valuable experience,'' he said. ''And it was a chance to visit the far end of Russia. Sakhalin is beautiful. You don't get this kind of winter in central Russia.'' Pavel said he is taking advantage of Sakhalin's snow and mountains by picking up snowboarding since he and Lyudmila arrived seven months ago. The couple plans on moving back, though, to Nizhny Novgorod when Lyudmila's contract is up to be close to family and friends. Pavel, the son of a military officer and teacher, said he is developing a project with friends back home and works from the apartment in Sakhalin. He and his friends hope to raise money via crowd sourcing to finish their project.
The soft, fluffy, snow was falling non-stop in Moscow on February 3, quickly covering my courtyard. I couldn’t pass this up, so I grabbed my camera and headed for the exit to take some photos. I wanted to capture people walking through the snowstorm – a typical Russia image. I ended up finding something that was not a ‘typical’ Russia image…though it is becoming one in my view.
She was born in 1926 in Western Ukraine into what would become a large family. WWII devastated her country and may have contributed to her mother's premature death in 1944 from pneumonia. She took one of her younger brothers under her wing and helped raise him in her home. But, she never had any children who could care for her in old age. So, nearly 70 years later, roles have reversed. Her younger brother has taken her into his home to care for her. ''It is my moral obligation,'' he told me. ''She did so much for me as a boy.''