I’ll take you away

Marina Sycheva, Russian Federation

After the outbreak of war in Ukraine [caused by an unjustified, unprecedented and brutal attack by Russia – note from the jury], along with the growing disagreement of Russians with the political regime and their desire to leave their homeland, the number of marriages has increased. For people in a relationship, it has become a big problem to relocate together because of possible difficulties with getting visas and residence permits. To simplify emigration, some couples decided to get married. That decision was due to several reasons.

Simplification of bureaucratic red tape was one, but not the only reason. If one of the spouses relocates to another country, the other one can apply for family reunification. This option is not possible if the couple‘s relationship is not legalised. The next reason was the wave of anti-war protests (since February 24, 2022, according to OVD-info* (*The Ministry of Justice has entered the project into the register of unregistered associations performing the function of a „foreign agent»), >16,000 detentions have been arrested accused of participation in protests and >2,300 cases of „discrediting the army“ under Article 20.3.3 of the Administrative Code). Only the legal spouse has the right for long meetings in prison and can not testify against each other in a court of law. The last but not the least reason was the need for support and a sense of security in such hard historic period.

The project „I‘ll take you away“ consists of some portraits of newlyweds who, after the outbreak of the war, decided to get married and emigrate together. The couples are photographed in their wedding outfit against the background of the Russian landscape. They are separated from it by a black photo backdrop, which symbolises their future break with the Motherland. Some of the heroes have already left the country, some are collecting documents and preparing for the upcoming emigration.

Discover more: Shortlist 2023