I never identified Russia with its government. Rather, my family, childhood, memories, and identity have been what I associate the country with, first and foremost. Nonetheless, it’s impossible to avoid politics, and, one way or another, the government will encroach upon your private life and home.
Rodina is about my attempt to reconcile the fact that my family—who I love dearly— supports a system that I find abhorrent. I’m unable to change this, but I’m not willing to accept it either. The subject of my photos are my family members and their everyday surroundings, which serves to situate them in their Russian context. It’s a project about my affection and love toward my close ones, in the minds of whom the country, its government, and family are all closely interlinked; and my frustration that criticism toward the country is taken as a form of betrayal by and of my family. When I criticize the regime, it is taken personally, as if I were criticizing my family members too. I’m unable to pick a side and find myself in a constant state of emotional dichotomy. Though I would like to separate my family from politics, I inevitably fail to do so, because the two are so closely interwoven in our relationship.