KAZAN IN FEBRUARY
There is no doubt about a deep divide between Russia and the Western world. This conflict of interests and ideology has always been accompanied by a cultural alienation between both spheres. Our image of Russia is characterized by political authoritarianism, corrupt elites, and cultural backwardness. In contrast, we learn little about the lives of ordinary people in this vast, complex country.
Born in the Soviet Union and raised in Germany, I myself developed harsh judgments about my original culture. The ambivalent connection to my homeland led to a photographic journey to Kazan – a city full of contrasts and possibilities, where Russian culture, Tatar tradition and modernity coexist peacefully. The large city on the Volga delta enjoys wide autonomy from the central power in Moscow. Cooperation and balance are deeply rooted in the city's DNA: Next to every Orthodox church stands a mosque, next to every Russian theater you will find a Tatar cultural venue.
Yet beneath the surface of a city on the move, dividing lines become visible in everyday life: They run between a Soviet-socialized generation and a youth culturally oriented towards the West. Between classical gender roles and the desire for emancipation. Between material status and artistic self-realization.