Updated: Sep 17
Winston Churchill once said that;
"Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."
I wonder he was either right or wrong, but it is the kind of idea most people have with Russia and Russians, as far as I know, until 2015.
Russia is a true wonderland which has almost 1/8 of landmass on earth, and if we discount Antartica, Russia would be about 1/6 of landmass on earth, so if Russia were to have the average share of the population on earth it would have 1.2 billion people, but instead, it has only 144.5 million.
So I assume, a country that has almost the entire north half of Eurasian continent, much of its territory is located above the 50th parallel, where subarctic and arctic weather is prevalent and with so little population in comparison to its landmass, the Russian must have a big and warm heart to live on their land! I am not wrong, thanks to my many dear Russian friends, they are indeed with a big and warm heart which makes me go back again and again.
This blog is a collection of images I took in Russia since 2015, in random order, for my love and tribute over Russia.
To begin, let me borrow what Valentina Tereshkova (the first woman to have flown in space in 1963 once said;
"If women can be railroad workers in Russia, why can't they fly in space?"
I have to say that is the real Russian attitude, woman and man.
Also, to Yury Chernyh and Oleg Ivanov, two great Russian who has so much love of their country and land and my dearest friend of the highest respect, show me the real Russia, started in Russian villages.
Just like Ernest Pool, the winner of first Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, and a great journalist with his sympathetic first-hand reportage of revolutionary Russia during and immediately after the Revolution of 1905 ad Revolution of 1917, quote;
"All the real things in Russia are done in the villages."
As most of my pictures in Russia.
Epiphany rites - This man takes a dip in the icy river water of Volga to celebrate Epiphany, a major holiday in Orthodox Christianity marking the birth and baptism of Jesus.
He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Happy is he who does not notice whether summer is now or winter.
~ Anton Chekhov
The soul is healed by being with children.
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
“Music is more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” ~ Plato
"Chess is everything; art, science, and sport"
~ Anatoly Karpov
Washing up in the banya is like being born again.
~ Russian proverb
Chacha, a clear and strong home brew Georgian pomace brandy also called "vine vodka".
I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol taken out of me.
~ Winston Churchill
We lost because we told ourselves we lost.
~ Leo Tolstoy
"My favorite journey is looking out the window."
~ Edward Gorey
“I didn't want to kiss you goodbye — that was the trouble — I wanted to kiss you good night — and there's a lot of difference.”
~ Ernest Hemingway
In the kingdom of hope, there is no winter.
~ Russia Proverb
Winter is cold for those who do not have warm memories.
~" An Unforgettable Romance"
You cannot visit Rybinsk and not to fall in love with the the city!
"Heavenly bodies are nests of invisible birds."
~ Dejan Stojanovic
Nothing in this world compares to the comfort and security of having someone just hold your hand.
~ Richelle E. Goodrich
Snow and cold weather will not stop the Russian, even the small boys!
The landscape of the Russian soul corresponds with the landscape of Russia.
~ Nikolai Berdyaev
Moments after the capture of the last image, we were invited into Valentina's house and served each of us hot tea. Valentina, 89, sat by the window in good spirit!
"There is more light than can be seen through a window." ~ Russian proverb
"You probably think that my future landscapes will be soaked in pessimism, so to speak? Don't worry, I love nature too much."
~ Isaac Levitan
What a pleasure to photograph around St. Petersburg with two great friends, and great photographers, the iconic Steve McCurry and Yury Chernyh (also the greatest host I could ever ask for), and a bit of whiskey. ~ August 2018
Rybinsk is a small but well functioning city with just everything like a larger city. I was roaming on the streets and sneaked into a building to find a studio on the second floor with the door half-opened; I entered uninvited, with my camera. The girl inside the studio had questions on her face, but she was friendly, like most Russian.
I command no Russian and tried to explain to her that I am a traveler and made the gesture that I would like to take a picture of her, not knowing if she was the photographer at the studio or worked there.
Then I took her picture!
In the past two hundred years, Russian people have seen changes of regimes and leaders, sometimes prefer one over another.
However, into the quiet hours after dinner, Alexander Pushkin owns their heart and soul, which has never changed.
"... there are only two things that really matter in life. Literature and love."
~ Daphne Kolotay