It's a story I hear regularly...Karina came to Moscow from one of the former Soviet republics to earn money to help her grandson. She wants him to study in Europe, so she labors here - cooking and cleaning - to set aside money for his education. The Russian economic recession not only means that the rubles she earns buy less foreign currency needed for her grandson's study, but it means she earns fewer rubles as she has fewer clients these days. She is hoping to stick it out another year or two at the most and return home to see her family for first time in a decade.
Stanislav, my previous portrait post, is one of those stereotypical Russian stories about the Soviet generation. Anfisa is one about the Apple-toting, Internet savvy, post-Soviet generation. She was sitting by the window in a Starbucks, typing away on her Apple laptop at 4pm on New Year's Eve, when most Russians are preparing for their New Year's celebration. When I asked what she was up to, the 16yo answered she was writing a blog post for her readers, summing up her year. A portrait drawer and fashion lover, she said 2014 was a breakthru year as her Instagram followers jumped to 22,000 amid interest in her drawings. She said she plans on blogging more. "Before I was a nobody and had nothing to say. This year has changed me so much. I am inspired." She said she plans to answer her followers questions about herself in the future through youtube videos.
Anfisa, the Starbucks-loving and Iphone-toting Moscow teenage blogger, was born in the USA and has a native Chinese grandfather (perhaps the result of Russians escaping to China after the Communist revolution). One of six children, she said she has been drawing from an early age, inheriting some skills from her dad and Russian grandfathe, a sculptor.