A guide to the New East

Girl’s own: portraits from the Russian village that’s no country for men

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When photographer Olya Ivanova headed to the village of Kichuga in northern Russia last summer, she was struck by the gender imbalance towards women, a phenomenon present across the country. In Kichuga, she was told that, since the Second World War, men have been considered “an endangered species”. Ivanova arrived in Kichuga on Village Day — a national event that celebrates village life in Russia — to find the women dressing up in their finery for a night of dancing and festivities. Unable to find any men who wanted their portraits taken (or who weren’t already drunk, she says), Ivanova focused on the women of Kichuga. “On that day, it was absolutely clear to me that my country is a country of women,” she says. “I shot portraits of Russian women that seemed to me to be brave, beautiful, true, sincere and open-hearted.”

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