The story I want to tell in these series is about Russian working class women. I’m both a Russian and a woman but I’ve tried to step aside and observe these women from the point of view of an outsider, a tourist, an immigrant. I left Russia more than 10 years ago. But I will never forget what it meant to be a woman in this country. My main motivation to create these series is the endless number of times that I’ve heard the question: Why Russians never smile? What does it take to put on a nice cheerful face? Is it that so difficult? This question would usually come not from a foreigner but from fellow Russians of relatively rich background.
Well, the thing is that winter is very long and difficult in Russia. Public transport in cities outside Moscow is badly maintained and uncomfortable. Streets are dirty, most are never cleaned from the ice and snow. Walking is dangerous and people do struggle. Women work. Russia was one the first countries to incorporate women to work. And they try to keep employed so as long as they can. Men also do. But sadly Russia is a country of women. Due to several demographic and cultural reasons the number of men diminishes faster then of women and by the age of 50 statistically there are almost twice less men than women. Wherever you go, you can hardly see an elderly couple shopping or doing any other routine activity together like here in Spain. On the other hand, at work, women are still regarded as ¨weaker sex¨.
Then, there is political and economical instability. Media manipulation with peoples vulnerability. Scary prognoses that you here coming out of the news daily. Lack of trust. Fear to loose everything tomorrow. Helplessness. And finally. Faces. You have to just look at women’s faces, catch their eye sight for a second and you will know why they are not prepared to cheer up just yet. Why they are barking at you as aggressively as they can from behind the counter, ticket box window, bus driver cabin, police help desk, government official table…
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