The 25th anniversary of what is considered the worlds worst nuclear power plant accident in history was marked on 26 April 2011. On 26 April 1986, a nuclear accident occurred at Unit 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the former Ukrainian Republic of the Soviet Union, some 16 km from Belarussian border. According to official post-Soviet data, about 60% of the fallout landed in Belarus. The 30 Kilometer Zone or Zone of Alienation was established in order to evacuate the local population and to prevent people from entering the heavily contaminated territory. Thus several old people returned to live the rest of their lives in their native heavily polluted villages. In the same time Belarussian state radiation ecology reserve was established there. Scientists carries out a radiation exposure on the territory of the reserve, cut woods, do research and explore the recovery of radioactive polluted fauna and wildlife.
The charcoal factory is placed at the forestry “Teterinskoe”, which is located in a picturesque land with up to 90 percent of forestry and many wild animals. When you go there, you can find many abandoned houses, bad mobile connection and pretty good roads. As far as this region suffers from the lack of working places, local people value their job here, as they know it will be hard to find another. Workers of this charcoal factory in Krucha work hard in 3 shifts every day and to get to the factory they bike their bicycles for 20-30 km from their home villages. Produced here charcoal is sold for making barbecue and exported to Germany, Poland and Ukraine. Workers of the charcoal factory earn 200 dollars per month, as they said.
Kupalle is the Belarusian version of the midsummer festival that is celebrated throughout Europe on the Summer Solstice, and is widely celebrated in Belarus. During the celebration, originating in pagan times, people plait wreaths, jump over fires, and swim. Belarussian young people marked the pagan holiday Kupalle on the bank of the Pripyat river in Turov, one of the ancient Belarussian cities in July 2010.
The Belarussian Research Center for Pediatric Oncology and Hematology in the village of Borovliany has been treating children up to 18 years old since 1997 when it was established. A number of new cases of malignancy has increased by 1.6 percent in Belarus in 2010, and doctors forecast, that the number of cancer patients in Belarus will increase in the future, local media reports.
The history of a Smilovichi felt boots factory starts in early 1928, when Smilovichi was a small Jewish settlement of craftsmen. Five those craftsman organised a small artel, which produced warm boots called valenki for cold weather. Later the artel was transformed into an enterprise ‘Red Star’, which was to supply Germany with the production during the war times, when Belarus was occupied by Nazi. Ages passed, but the technology has almost not changed. Much of the work performed there is hand work. From 3 to 5 days are needed to turn the fleece into valenki and about 36 operations are to be done. Some of them, like wool washing and combing are mechanized, others – solely hand work. Initially valenky are made very big, above our growth, and then they are fluffed, fluffed manually, blindfold. Then they are shaped with sock, heel, ankle. All of it should be done manually. The raw sheep’s wool is imported from Dagestan, Central Asia and Belgium, with only 5 percent produced domestically. In fact, the production of the factory is exported to Russia, the Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Baltic states and to the countries of Western Europe. About 800 pairs of felt boots can be produced every day at the factory, that makes about 200 thousand pairs of valenki per year.
Belarus becomes the third republic of former USSR, which cancelled criminal punishment for homosexuality in 1994. Nevertheless lesbians and gays are faced with a high-level of negative stereotypes and social prejudices in Belarus and those attitude is maintained at the highest governmental level.
I photographed a day from Anya and Anya’s life in June 2012, in Minsk. At that moment the young couple has been living together for 4 years.
I got acquainted with Nikolay Bezyazychny, a Belarussian wheelchair fencer, during his preparations to the Paralympic games in London on the outskirts of Minsk, in April 2012.
Nikolay fall in love with fencing since childhood, but didn’t thought it could be his profession. Suddenly a car accident in his 20-ies led him to a wheelchair. He lost his job and was to start his life from the very beginning. In 2005 he starts his carrier as a wheelchair fencer. A Belarussian athlete Bezyazychny won silver medal in Paralympic games in Pekin-2008, and golden medal in the Wheelchair Fencing European Championship in 2011. He took the 4th place at the Paralympic games in London-2012.