Maxim's Feed
Aug 15, 2014

Russian aid convoy checked; military vehicles mass near Ukraine

KAMENSK-SHAKHTINSKY, Russia, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Dozens of
heavy Russian military vehicles massed on Friday near the border
with Ukraine, while Ukrainian border guards crossed the frontier
to inspect a huge Russian aid convoy.

Kiev has said the humanitarian aid might be used as cover
for a Russian military intervention, and has insisted that its
forces check the convoy before it moves across the border.

Aug 15, 2014

Russia masses military vehicles as aid convoy waits near Ukraine border

KAMENSK-SHAKHTINSKY, Russia, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Dozens of
heavy Russian military vehicles massed on Friday near the border
with Ukraine, where a huge Russian convoy with humanitarian aid
came to a halt as Moscow and Kiev struggled to agree on border
crossing procedures.

Russia says it is carrying 2,000 tonnes of water, baby food
and other aid for people in east Ukraine, where pro-Moscow
separatists are fighting government forces.

Oct 9, 2013

High stakes for Putin as his Olympic dream nears

SOCHI/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has staked his personal and political prestige on February’s Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi, yet despite the $50-billion price tag the Games could still be an embarrassing flop.

If all goes to plan, the costliest Games in history will be a showcase for Russia’s achievements under Putin, the vindication of a six-year vanity project on a truly Soviet scale.

Sep 26, 2013

IOC says Sochi ready for Olympics, satisfied over anti-gay law

SOCHI, Russia, Sept 26 (Reuters) – The International Olympic Committee said on Thursday the Russian city of Sochi would be ready to host the 2014 Winter Games and a national law banning “gay propaganda” did not violate the Olympic Charter.

An IOC delegation said after inspecting facilities in the Black Sea resort that, despite flooding this week and work that has turned much of the city into a muddy construction site, the “magnificent” sporting venues were already completed.

Jun 25, 2013
via Photographers' Blog

Destination Cuba: Alongside empty seat 17A

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Havana, Cuba

By Maxim Shemetov

I’ve never been to Cuba before. Frankly speaking, today is my first visit. It’s a very short one of only 24 hours, of which now I have only half left to walk around Old Havana and to swim in the ocean while the global hysteria over the uncatchable Edward Snowden carries on.

For me, this story started on Sunday when I woke up and slowly went to the office. It was supposed to be a usual working weekend when almost nothing happens. Almost… Incoming calls suddenly started to light up my cell phone. The big story with Snowden as the lead actor flying somewhere via Moscow began. It is hard to describe all of the next 24 hours spent in the airport, with expensive tickets booked to get inside the transit zone at Sheremetyevo and disappointment that a lot of energy was wasted on information that turned out to be wrong.

May 2, 2013
via Photographers' Blog

Parallel world of Chechnya

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Grozny, Chechnya

By Maxim Shemetov

What did I know about Chechnya before last week? For someone who grew up in the 1990s the very word Chechnya meant a string of grainy images on TV showing people in battered camouflage outfits, shooting at each other amid destruction and ruin. Fear, wahhabis, Shamil Basayev, terrorism, mountains: these were the words that used to spring to my mind when someone mentioned Chechnya.

It still has a reputation as a frightening place where people get kidnapped and entire villages are razed. When I told my friends I was leaving for Chechnya on assignment they asked me in jest if I would need an armored vehicle. Many of then were visibly worried. But then I spoke to a colleague who had worked there for more than 15 years. He said: “You won’t find a safer place in Russia, be smart and you’ll be okay”.

Feb 18, 2013
via Photographers' Blog

Notes from the pole of cold

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Oymyakon valley, Russia

By Maxim Shemetov

One loses all bearings when faced with the shroud of white that obscures all things mid January in the Siberian city of Yakutsk. Only the traffic lights and gas pipelines overhanging the roads help you to find your way. Wrapped in frosty fog the city life seems frozen in a sleepy half-light. It is -48 C (-54 degrees Fahrenheit) outside.

Before venturing out, I put on two layers of thermal underwear, trousers, two-sweaters, pants winterized up to my waist, and huge low-temperature boots. I pull close the hood of my down jacket and fasten it so that only my eyes are exposed. Lastly, I slip on two pairs of gloves and head for the entrance hall – the airlock. Now only the ice-bound door separates me from the cold. There is Space outside and I feel like an astronaut.

May 30, 2012
via Photographers' Blog

Russia’s hooligans

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By Maxim Shemetov

Photographing a soccer match for the first time, I realized that shooting the fans can be more interesting than covering the game itself.

We all keep up with the destinies of football clubs and the careers of soccer players. There are many parts to soccer life, however, that rarely appear on TV and on the front pages of newspapers. It’s the life of people absorbed by the game – those inspiring exciting games, TV translations, as well as the construction of new stadiums.

Mar 2, 2012
via Photographers' Blog

Owners of The White Silence

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By Anton Golubev

When I was a little boy, I adored the books of Jack London. The Nature of the North – that was the thing that captivated me. The White Silence; a chilling title, words that are hard to appreciate for a city dweller used to the din of cars and neon lights. The majority of Russians seldom leave cities further than to go to the dacha, the country houses that most people own just outside the city limits. Some might travel to some mountains or woodlands. Only a few will visit such a godforsaken place as the Russian North. The land where The White Silence reigns.

The North is a cruel place. Here, where the population density reaches one person per ten square kilometers, there is no transport links, there is nobody to ask the way, there is nobody to ask for a light or hot food, and there is little chance that anybody can help you if something happens. You can count on yourself only. The White Silence is a jingling calm when you can’t hear any sound around, it’s a thin line of a low northern wood on the horizon between two halves of the white nothing, it’s a blizzard when the boundless white Tundra flows together with the overhanging northern sky, it’s a half-strewed snowmobile track which you follow to reach the light and warm of a human dwelling.