A guide to the New East

Fragile dreams: photographer Simon Crofts travels to the Slav heartlands

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A love of Russian literature and music first prompted Simon Crofts to move to Moscow in 1993 where he lived and worked as a lawyer. Seven years later, Crofts returned to the region, travelling around the Slav heartlands — Russia, Ukraine and Belarus — on and off for the following four years. During this time, he worked on In the Land of Endless Expectations, a six-part project that includes not just images but also text and sound. A sense of absurdity pervades the project with images such as a bear curled up on an armchair in the middle of the street or a jellyfish in a man’s hand. “Today the region is in a tug of war,” says Crofts. “A tug of war of aspirations, of memory, of economics and politics, of hopes." The result, he says, is conflict and dissent and a “return to the Dostoyevskian national idea based on pride in achievements and sacrifices of the past”.

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