PUTIN FAN CLUB
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, the President of Russia since 2012, previously served as President from 2000 to 2008, additionally serving as Prime Minister of Russia from 1999 to 2000, and again from 2008 to 2012. In other words, his political presence in Russia has been a dominant force hardly up for contestation. Although the domestic opposition, Western observers and organizations have voiced criticism of Putin’s leadership, he has mostly enjoyed considerable popularity in his country — especially within a small group of young people in the suburbs of Moscow, the members of the Putin Fan Club.
As a documentary photographer, Bela Doka (Hungary) had the chance to spend some time with these people, and have a look inside their lives, thoughts and homes. She interviewed members of the group, asking why they see Putin as their role model. What makes this certain group of people special is the object of their devotion. Is it the quest for identification? Do they represent the future of Russia? From an outsider’s perspective, this idea is difficult to understand, perhaps even frightening, yet Doka aims to introduce this phenomenon in as detached a way as possible, steering clear of voicing a political stance, instead opting to let the members of the Fan Club speak for themselves.