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Same-sex couple separated by war (Russia/Ukraine)

St.Petersburg

Russia

I would like to offer you a photo project about a same-sex couple separated by the war between Russia and Ukraine. The girls’ lives (Anna lives in Russia, Veronika lives in Ukraine and works as a Polish language teacher in a small Ukrainian village) have always been difficult, their union was impossible on the territory of these two conservative countries, but the military actions made their lives unbearable. They don’t know if they will see each other again and when it will happen. Since their marriage cannot be legal in many countries hosting refugees, it is impossible to take Anna out of Russia.

The letters in the project are real messages of the girls to each other. Such a visual form was chosen in order to show the connection with previous military historical experience, as well as to indicate that electronic correspondence is dangerous. In Russia, phones are searched, and calls are listened to. Any message can become a reason for arrest.
We also tried to hide our heroine’s face as much as possible, as it can also be dangerous. Despite the risk, she decided to share her story in the hope that it could help.

The girls’ names have been changed for security reasons.

The work was done in cooperation with photographer Olga Vokuyeva, whom I thank for her help.

St.Petersburg, Russia. March 2022. Anna always carries a commemorative medallion with a photo with her. Sometimes she holds it in her hand for a long time, squeezing hard and as if trying to protect her love.
St.Petersburg, Russia. March 2022. Anna says that it became very difficult for her to go outside. Life has changed and it has become almost impossible to do the usual things
St.Petersburg, Russia. Video from the archive. Anna and Veronica dance near the Christmas tree on one of the New Year holidays
St.Petersburg, Russia. After the war began, Anna got a tattoo. «Give peace a chance»
St.Petersburg, Russia. «The cat misses his second mother,» says Anna. When the girls talk via video link, the cat looks at Veronica carefully. Anna says that he is waiting for her very much.
St.Petersburg, Russia. Hope.
St.Petersburg, Russia. Letter. From Ukraine to Russia.

«They attacked Kherson, turned off our television and show the Russian channel. They say that people want to separate from Ukraine. Spoiler alert: No one wants that.»

St.Petersburg, Russia. Letter. From Russia to Ukraine.

«I love my city very much, but it’s scary to stay in a place where talking against the war can get you jailed for the same period as for murder. It’s surreal.»

St.Petersburg, Russia. Letter. From Ukraine to Russia

«I love you. If suddenly something happens, now you have to be ready for everything, then I love you and I don’t regret anything.»

St.Petersburg, Russia. Letter. From Russia to Ukraine

«I don’t want to die from a nuclear explosion while we’re far apart.»

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Tatiana Kireicheva

Tatiana Kireicheva is an international journalist and artist of Russian-American origin. In her work, she explores social documentary stories, which she tries to uncover with the help of an artistic approach.

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