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Russia - Jeff Azoudis - Gallery of Photography

Russia, as Winston Churchill once said, is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

When I first read this quote, I was confused. After visiting Russia, I can see how it makes sense. Russia gives me so many mixed feelings. It’s a proud Country, yet an oppressed Country. Throughout history it has been a conqueror, yet it feels like such a defeated land. People generally don’t show emotion, yet they are very kind and through the magic of vodka can be quite engaging. Also, despite very cold weather, women seem to always be out in short skirts!

I was fortunate to be in Moscow on May 9, Victory Day. This is a huge celebration across Russia that marks the capitulation of the Germans to the Soviet Union in WWII. The term Parade is not really appropriate, it’s more of a memorial. The Russian’s do a spectacular job to commemorate the occasion.

It’s amazing to see veterans walking down the street, not on a float or as a group behind a banner, but simply dressed in their military uniform and walking alone or with their loved ones. At times I felt like I was taken back to another era. The tradition is to give these veterans flowers in appreciation for their sacrifice and service. Everyone was giving flowers.

What impressed me was how many young people were genuinely appreciating the moment. They were not out drinking, they were not dancing in the streets. No, most were offering flowers to the veterans and appreciating the moment. It’s a day that is truly special to Russians. I was fortunate to have my camera on me so that I could document this special moment.

Upon leaving Russia, I felt a debt of gratitude. Up to 24 million Soviets died during WWII and they were the driving force behind the Nazi defeat. 24 MILLION… Any discussions about socialism vs capitalism seem trivial at best.

Of course, I also had a chance to see the typical sites. I tried to capture these sites with a bit of a different angle, in order to provide a unique perspective.

What’s missing from this gallery are pictures of the Moscow metro, a truly amazing feat of engineering. Unfortunately, photographs are not allowed of the metro; despite the enormous sacrifice Russia still does not provide it’s people the freedom they died for and so badly deserve.