I’ll take you away

Marina Sycheva, Russian Federation

Marina Sycheva, Russian Federation

Marina Sycheva, born 1989, lives and works in Moscow. She studied at the State University of Film and Television in St Petersburg and has shown her films at various festivals. Her photographs have earned her international awards. Sycheva also took part in an international anti-war congress.

It is love. But to love, young Russian couples do not need a wedding. If they now decide to get married, there is a special reason for it since the Russian attack on the Ukraine. If one partner is already living abroad, the other can follow more easily. If one partner gets locked up because they have demonstrated against Putin, because of supposedly denigrating the army, or worse, if he wanted to evade conscription, the spouse can visit them more easily in prison.

Marriage as a protest against war, marriage as a flight from dictatorship, marriage as a demonstration for peace, marriage as a retreat into a safety that hardly exists any more in Russian society: Against a dark backdrop, Russian photographer Marina Sycheva has portrayed young couples who have taken this step.

The message of her pictures: While there is a distinct lack of resistance against the regime in a frightened Russian society, manipulated by state media, and while it may be tempting to declare all Russians an incarnation of evil, it would be wrong not to differentiate. There is resistance. Even in Russia. And thoughts of flight are not cowardly. After all, anyone who marries in order to be able to emigrate, is giving up their previous life. Anyone who refuses military service so as not to become guilty of atrocities against Ukrainians is courageous. And on the side of peace. (Laudatio by Peter-Matthias Gaede)

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