On the other side of the mountains

Page 1

On the other side of the mountains

Follow the instructions on page 63 and create your own exhibition.

Do It Yourself!



Krasny Vostok is a small village in KarachayCherkessia, Southern Russia. On a clear day, Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak, is visible on the horizon.











The road to Bekesevskaya Boris Bezhanov’s house Stella & Giorgi’s house Lilya departement store River Kuma Town hall & cultural centre Post office Workshop of former Sovkhoz Old shoe factory The well School no. 1 Mohamed Kardanov’s house Mosque The road to Cherkessk The road to Kislovodsk

On the other side of the mountains


We started The Sochi Project in 2009. Over the course of five years we want to map out the extensive region around the Russian resort Sochi. This is where the Olympic Winter Games will be held in 2014. A controversial choice, because this subtropical coastal area still lacks virtually any kind of facilities and infrastructure. At $33 billion, these are set to become the most expensive Olympic Games ever. The context in which the Games are taking place is, if possible, even more interesting. The

Games have been called Putin’s pet project, and he is personally in charge of their organisation. If successful, they should definitively return Russia to its place on the world stage, and make the so-called ‘humiliation of the 1990s’ a thing of the past. The Games are being organised in Russia’s most unstable region. A few hundred kilometres away are the breakaway republics Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan. And just a few kilometres away is Abkhazia, officially a part of Georgia but recognised in 2008 for the first time by Russia and three other countries as independent.

The Games themselves, but above all the surrounding area offers a lifetime’s worth of writing material. That’s how we started The Sochi Project, a five-year documentary project about one of the world’s most notorious regions. And that’s also how we ended up in Krasny Vostok, the small and utterly inconsequential village featured in this exhibition and publication. A village with one foot in the 19th century, still partially without gas and electricity; a village we stumbled across by chance in our search for stories. Barely 200 kilometres from Sochi, but a world away. Except perhaps for falling for

the name – Krasny Vostok literally means ‘The Red East’ – there is no reason to portray this village; and that’s why we did. A village like so many in Russia. Where the population is dwindling; where industry and activity are disappearing; where a handful of people are attempting to prevent the decline; where Moscow’s politics trickle through slowly; where every day is a struggle to keep the village hanging on. Only when you are familiar with this kind of village, we believe, can you get to know this region better. The Caucasus is more than just conflict and refugees, fundamentalist Islam or billion dollar Games. It is

first and foremost a beautiful region, home to several million people trying to make the best of life. In Georgia, Abkhazia, Russia and here in Krasny Vostok, in obscure KarachayCherkessia. Over the coming years, The Sochi Project will attempt to cover all the themes mentioned above in books and magazines, reportages and exhibitions. You can help us to do so. Visit thesochiproject.org for details. Rob Hornstra & Arnold van Bruggen

Milana – School no. 1


After Milana has completed the obligatory Saturday chores at school no. 1, she gets ready for the afternoon disco. The school and cultural centre are the village’s focal points. This is where concerts and discos are organised.


Like cowboys, they ride on their horses over the rolling hills, the outliers of those mighty Caucasus on the horizon. 8

Krasny Vostok Cherkessk

Elbrus - 5642 m.

Map of Karachay-Cherkessia


Two hundred kilometres west of Krasny Vostok is the subtropical coastal city Sochi, where in 2014 the Olympic Winter games will be organised. Two hundred kilometres east is Grozny, Chechnya’s notorious capital. Fifty kilometres to the south is Europe’s highest mountain, Elbrus. Behind it is Georgia.


Girl talk Every evening when we go to bed, our hostess and her daughters detain our Muscovite interpreter Svetlana. ‘Stay a moment,’ they say. The next morning we hear what was said. And because the mother and daughters know that we hear this, this in turn yields interesting stories in the afternoon. At Sunday breakfast, Sveta looks tired. ‘You really missed something last night,’ she says. Mother Stella had told her in minute detail how her life is lived. Literally, through others. Stella had great plans for her life; she wanted to study in Leningrad or Rostov. Far away. She wanted to develop herself, but her father had other ideas. He wanted to keep her in Krasny Vostok and imagined her as a housewife and teacher at the local school. It was the last thing Stella wanted. She tried to protest, to make him change his mind. But then one morning she found herself on a bus on the way to the nearby town Pyatigorsk, where she had to take the admissions exam for the teacher training. Okay, thought Stella, if it can’t be done willingly, then it will have to be done unwillingly. For every question it was an easy test - she gave the answer she was most sure was wrong. She quickly handed in the test and daydreamed about her life in Leningrad. It was 1983 and the Soviet Union was facing major changes. Stella wanted to discover the world, to escape the oppressive North Caucasus. After the exam, it was a matter of waiting for the result. It wasn’t long before she was called to the headmaster’s office. In his dark room he sat studying Stella’s papers closely. Stella Makova, he asked, are you the daughter of the Makov from Krasny Vostok? You should have said so sooner! Your father is my nephew. Of course we’ll admit you here. Stella’s heart sank. Of course there was no way out. A father’s word is law. At the end of the 1980s, Stella found herself teaching in the school in Krasny Vostok. Around the same time Stella was kidnapped by her husband, Giorgi. That’s what happens here, she sighs. A man seizes you from the street with the help of some friends and holds you captive somewhere in anticipation of consent from the bride and her family. If you say no, a man like that will spread the rumour that you are no longer a virgin. Then you can forget it. They have now been together for 25 years. True love has never been a factor, at least not on her part. He adores her. But they coexist well. Uncle Aibasov and sister Taisya - the mayor - drop by every day, so there is company enough. Daughters Veronika (22) and Viktoriya (24) grew up in a different era and now live on their own in Pyatigorsk.

With mother and daughters we drink cup after cup of tea. Stella is busy cooking and frying large pieces of mutton from yesterday. She makes spicy sauces to go with them. The men of the house have been outside shearing sheep since six o’clock. They’ll be in the mood for a hearty lunch. Veronika tells us about her boyfriend in Pyatigorsk whom she got rid off after two years because he became too controlling. That’s not necessary, says her mother. Her Giorgi is still jealous. Sometimes he follows me, she says, or he keeps me at home because he’s scared he’ll lose me. Sometimes, during a long car journey, he wants me to come and sit next to him, says Stella. Then he starts touching me. Keep your hands on the steering wheel, I tell him. Veronika and Viktoriya stroke their mother as she tells her stories. They love her deeply; and their father. If they go to another town together, or to a party they always tell their father. Stella would forbid them from going. In the evening, Giorgi looks at his watch and suddenly says: Will the girls be home by now? Then Stella knows what time it is. Stella thinks her daughters are too materialistic in their search for a husband. Too interested in money and status. Veronika admits that. I want a husband with a house, a car, a good job. I can support myself after that. A good husband leaves me in peace. Then Giorgi comes in. In the bathroom he throws a bucket of lukewarm water over himself, sits down at the table with twinkling eyes and opens a bottle of vodka. The conversation goes back to being about the sheep, the village and his daughter’s careers. You know what you should write down, says Giorgi. You are in the mountains. There aren’t any deep rivers here. We’re not very complicated. But this evening when Giorgi goes to bed, the next part of the story will be told, in the ohso-valuable hour of girl talk with Stella, her daughters and our interpreter Sveta.


Veronika & Viktorya – Stella and Giorgi’s house Veronika (22) and Viktorya (24) are visiting their parents in Krasny Vostok for the weekend. They used to share their bedroom here, but now they have an apartment together in the regional capital Pyatigorsk, where they both work. They are looking for a good man with money, who will give them the freedom to continue working.


WWII Museum – School no. 1 Everything in the school still looks neat and tidy, as if you have travelled back in time to the Soviet Union. The village’s war history is displayed in the corridors on the second floor. The walls of the German classroom are lavishly painted.


‘We broke our backs working. In 1943 and 1944 we were able to send 700 tons of bread to the front.’ (Mohamed Kardanov, 84)


With two civil servants the mayor governs the small town hall-cumcultural centre, library and telephone exchange.


Rubin Bidov’s cupboard – Town hall Rubin Bidov (58) is one of Krasny Vostok’s two civil servants. He is in charge of the Registry Office and is the mayor’s substitute.


Husey Aibasov – Lilya department store Husey Aibasov (55) is the mayor’s uncle. He used to be a policeman in the neighbouring village. Now he is responsible for the gas and water in the village. If the water stops, you just jump in the spring, he says.


When things become serious

We say that getting married in the Netherlands is more often ceremonial or celebratory than obligatory. And that it’s actually nice to On Sunday evening, the third vodka- and have several relationships before you meet toast-soaked evening of our stay with our host the person you want to be with forever. ‘But family in Krasny Vostok, the conversation do your parents know about that?’ Aibasov gravitates towards the Netherlands. Having asks. ‘Of course,’ we say. ‘They’re even over eaten an entire sheep slaughtered in our the moon when we bring a girlfriend home.’ honour and sat through many obligatory ‘And the girlfriend’s parents?’ ‘Just as happy,’ toasts about friendship, hospitality and the we say. ‘I’d kill a boy like that,’ Aibasov mumCaucasus on the first evening, with the secbles, ‘if he took my daughter as his girlfriend.’ ond evening spent on the verge of a sleepy hangover, things become serious. ‘Ok,’ he continues. ‘What if your sister is betrayed by another man, her boyfriend. He ‘What’s the situation with old people in the cheats on her and then dumps her. What Netherlands,’ asks uncle Husey (55). Husey is would you do then?’ ‘Nothing,’ we say. ‘Don’t a widower, ex-policeman and now responsible you have any pride?’ Aibasov exclaims. for water distribution in Krasny Vostok. He ‘Aren’t you ashamed?’ is the kind of man for whom you immediately feel deep sympathy, with his hearty laugh Aibasov was once asked the same question and continual pranks. At those kinds of himself when he kidnapped the youngest moments his family reprimands him with daughter of a local family in order to marry his surname Aibasov. ‘Old people, do they her. He was drinking with a couple of friends receive a pension?’ ‘Not much,’ says Rob, as and remarked that he liked the girl. Together, always taking the position of the regretful they immediately put his words into action Dutchman. €800-€1400. The family leaps and kidnapped her from her house, even up from the table: ‘to Holland!’ whoops nowadays a common tradition in this region. Aibasov. ‘And when you retire,’ we add, ‘you The same night, the future family-in-law can just go back to your motherland. That’s arrived at the house in droves. ‘Aren’t you what a lot of Moroccans, Turks and sunashamed?’ the father shouted to Aibasov. seeking Dutch people do.’ ‘Ooh,’ a sigh rip‘She’s the youngest; do you want to disgrace ples round the table, ‘even better!’ Their eyes her and her family?’ With a great deal of gleam at the thought of an income like that force they managed to get the youngest back in Krasny Vostok. ‘Come on,’ says Aibasov, home. Marriage here takes place according ‘how are we going to arrange this?’ ‘Get marto age; the oldest always has to go first. ried,’ says Rob. ‘I can offer you my mother-in- Aibasov and his friends concocted a wicked law, Conny.’ Another loud whoop at the table. plan. That week they kidnapped the three ‘Conny!’ roars the old uncle. ‘Just give me daughters one by one. Aibasov went last. Two that Conny!’ Conny means horses in Abaza. friends married the older daughters. In one ‘And her surname is Polyana,’ Rob makes up. week the family had lost all its daughters. The roars get louder, the mayor falls off her And Aibasov had his wife. chair and tears roll down our hostess’s cheeks. ‘Horses In the Field!’ cries Aibasov. Now he is a widower and sees an unexpected wealthy future for himself with Conny. We think up ways of getting Aibasov to the ‘Watch out,’ says Rob. ‘Conny is quite indeNetherlands and then making him the richest pendent. She travels on her own, you could man in Krasny Vostok. ‘Divorcees get an even call her a feminist.’ ‘Pah,’ says Aibasov. ‘Let higher pension,’ we say. ‘They have relatively her try that with me. With a man like me high expenses.’ ‘Maladets,’ Aibasov bellows, she’ll stop doing that. In the Caucasus they ‘very good! Get married, get divorced, come say that women wear the trousers at home,’ back to Krasny Vostok. Easy.’ he starts one of his many anecdotes. ‘I visited a friend at home once and his wife was lying Slowly the hilarity of the wedding conversa- flat on the floor in the corridor; he had tion turns into a conversation about relation- knocked her down. “Look at her,” said my ships, traditions and marriage. It leads to an friend, “deciding for herself where she lies almost insurmountable stalemate between down in the house. Who’s the boss here now?”’ the Netherlands and the Caucasus. Our host The group roars with laughter and the mayor family talks delicately about the wedding runs to the toilet again. night tradition of emerging with a napkin. If it is bloodstained the guests can eat, if not, ‘Rob,’ uncle Husey says, suddenly serious. ‘If then they go home and the honour of the I marry Conny, you’ll be my son-in-law. Then bridegroom but most of all the bride is taryou’ll change your mind about not getting nished forever. married. Here, with us in Krasny Vostok.’

Murat – School no. 1


Murat (11) waits expectantly in the corridor for the afternoon disco. He wants to be a policeman when he grows up. Or even better a lifeguard at a seaside resort.

Disco – School no. 1


Sometimes the children are allowed to organise a disco at the school on Saturday afternoon. The oldest then stand on the stage, and the boldest ask the prettiest girls or female teachers to dance. What follows is an exhausting whirlwind in which the two spin around each other but never touch. The man swaggers, the woman seduces.

Taisya Makova – Town hall


With two telephones, a fax and her chauffeur, uncle and water and gas man Husey Aibasov, Taisya Makova governs the village. She is now a member of the ruling United Russia party. She used to be a member of the Communist Party. Not that that makes much difference in this village. ‘United Russia makes the same mistakes as the Communists did,’ she says. ‘There’s an excess of slogans.’


Boris Bezhanov – School no. 1 Boris Bezhanov’s (62) classroom is tucked away between the other classrooms. But few pupils still want to learn German. ‘When I stop I won’t be replaced,’ he says.

‘Memories of Abkhazia keep me going.’(Boris Bezhanov (62) 25

Sheep – Stella and Giorgi’s house


The great majority of the Abaza are farmers and animal herders. Many people in the Caucasus region also breed fowl and fish, keep bees and make wine.


Boys – River Kuma


In the evening, the older boys drive around together or wash their Zhigulis in the river. The ones who do not yet have a car hang around in the town hall’s playground. Girls generally all stay inside.


The disco is usually on Saturday afternoon, when people arrive from all corners of the village to see how the new generation dances.

While in Sochi billion being pumped into th on the other side of th seems momentarily t


ns of dollars are he Olympic Games, he mountains time to stand still.


Dog – Stella and Giorgi’s house


The dog is thrown the entrails of a slaughtered sheep. ‘In the past every part of the animal was used,’ says Aibasov, the occasional butcher. ‘We don’t do that any more.’


Young in Krasny Vostok

at the gate. He staggers and leans against the fence. ‘Go home,’ the mayor calls immediately. ‘Ah, mayor,’ Shanov looks at her affecKrasny Vostok is a village like all the others. tionately and falters. ‘He arrived here this There are four small shops, a few dozen kilo- morning, parked his car and then just disapmetres away is a large town and around it is peared,’ says the mayor, shaking her head at forest and brushwood suitable for hunting or us. ‘And now he reappears, roaring drunk.’ seclusion. Krasny Vostok has two schools, of Shanov grumbles something to us before the which the first and oldest is on the brink of mayor’s stern looks send him on his way. closing. In the largest school the auditorium ‘You should see the cultural centre tomoris set up for discos and parties. It is equipped row,’ says the mayor. ‘There’ll be a concert with a clapped-out sound system. The direc- then, too.’ tor has become permanently embroiled in an argument with the school’s oldest pupils We say goodbye to Fatima and the mayor and about the best way to use this without the walk on through the village, in search of crackling blowing the speakers. Through the entertainment. There must be a local boozer, serving hatch the stolovaya is visible, where a café or something. A forlorn wood full of old women from the village not only prepare drinks bottles. the rolls and snacks for breakfast but can also keep an eye on the children in the audi- At the river four Ladas are parked higgledytorium. The disco is usually on Saturday piggledy in the water. Six guys hang around afternoon, when people arrive from all corthem, washing them with river water and ners of the village to see how the new genera- drinking beer from gallon bottles. Tinny tion dances. turbo-folk drifts from a mobile phone. All are around 19 years old. They have already served From the school you look down on the river in the army, they tell us proudly. Now, most and the rest of the village. We descend via an of them study or work in one of the nearby uneven, sandy path. Next to the river, under cities, such as Cherkessk or Kislovodsk. When the bridge that spans the valley, is a rusty we ask what their plans are for that evening, pump with a plastic bottle on it. We drink they say: there aren’t any plans in Krasny the salty mineral water that continuously Vostok. gushes out of it. Around the pump lie hundreds of bottles and cans, coloured red by The next day, after having survived an indeed the minerals, carelessly strewn around the completely ad hoc evening of carousing, we precious resource. At one time the water was arrive on unsteady legs at the cultural centre still transported to the mineral baths in Kis- to see how the preparations for the concert lovodsk, says Fatima, a 14-year-old girl who are coming along. The whole village seems to accompanies us to the cultural centre. At the be looking forward to it. Muhamed Shanov is spring, cows and horses, which have extracted sitting on the bench. He is also still suffering themselves of their own accord from the from the effects of the alcoholic relapse of herds around the village, come and go. ‘They the day before. ‘Sorry for yesterday,’ he says. won’t drink anything else,’ says the girl. ‘It used to be worse.’ Since having been ‘They don’t even fancy the river anymore.’ through the war in Abkhazia in 1993 he still Down at the spring two boys are fishing. ‘If often dreams of the scenes he saw in the hosyou stand downstream from the spring the pital there; of stories he heard of Georgians fish don’t taste of anything,’ they say. ‘The who drank the blood of Abkhazian women, fish can’t tolerate the spring water that flows in a glass with salt and pepper. He saw chilinto the river here.’ dren without hands and feet. Since then he hasn’t been able to keep away from the drink. We cross the pontoon by the bridge and climb He had been sober for several weeks, but after the slope to the town hall-cum-cultural centhe nightmare of the day before yesterday... tre. In front of it is a small patch of grass. Under the birch trees is a small children’s That evening, half of Krasny Vostok puts on playground, next to it a tiny post office-cum- its best clothes and sets off for the cultural corner shop and a Sberbank. We ask after centre. Muhamed Shanov is nowhere to be the cultural centre’s warden, but the boys found. ‘Cancelled’ has been scribbled on the playing here just snigger. So we go upstairs, posters in front of the cultural centre. The to the three-room town hall, where the news spreads slowly through the village. As mayor is surely at work. She looks up anxcalmly as everyone had arrived, they turn iously when we ask who the warden is. around and leave. In this village where Muhamed Shanov, she mutters and reaches nobody makes plans, few people are surfor her telephone. She exchanges a knowing prised when at the eleventh hour the artist look with the man at her desk. The telephone doesn’t show up. is not answered. We walk outside with the mayor, looking for the key. Shanov appears




Lieber Boris – Boris Bezhanov’s house


At the end of the ‘60s Renate went from the GDR to Abkhazia on holiday. There she met Boris from Krasny Vostok, who was studying German at Gagra University. Male students competed for the attentions of the East German girls who came here on holiday.


Boris & Renate

He doesn’t drink any wine. Perhaps it is because we have recalled memories of bygone days, but the mood is almost melancholy. ‘In ‘I have been going to Abkhazia on holiday for two years it will be over. Then there’ll be 50 years,’ says Boris Bezhanov, 62. The class- nothing more for us here.’ The lovely house is room where he gives German lessons is full of books. Corn is growing on the adjoinadorned with German writers, peace mesing piece of land. ‘We’re saving for a house in sages and the text ‘eine Fremdsprache ist eine Cherkessk,’ says Boris’ wife. ‘Maybe we’ll Waffe im Kampf des Lebens,’ signed Karl move to the city. There’s nothing left for us in Marx. ‘It was 1966. We lived in the Soviet Krasny Vostok.’ Boris hesitates. ‘Perhaps we Union and I graduated in Krasny Vostok. We could go to Abkhazia,’ he says. But that is were allowed to travel freely, the Soviet Union obviously still a topic of discussion. was ours! I wanted to go to Abkhazia. I wanted to study languages there, but also to get to know our brothers; the Abkhazians speak our language. I already loved Abkhazia before I went there. The people stay true to who they are, even though it is a sophisticated country. I lived in Sukhumi, the capital. ‘During the war in ’92-’93 it felt like we had been attacked. We organised aid and women and children from Abkhazia were accommodated in our houses. After all, they are our brothers and sisters.’ Boris is almost retired but his fervour is undiminished. His house is full of Abkhazian artefacts. At school his subject is not popular. ‘No one wants to learn German anymore. It’s a remnant from the Soviet Union, when Eastern Germany still existed. Now they’d rather learn English. When I stop, I won’t be replaced.’ The futility of his subject seems to weigh heavily on his shoulders. Memories of Abkhazia keep him going, he says. While Boris’ wife brings out the home-made wine and other alcoholic refreshment and transforms the leftovers into a delicious new meal, Boris shows us his Abkhazian photo albums. Young men stand proudly on the coast, so close here. They drink, dance and watch open-air theatre performances. It is an Abkhazia unlike the one we know. No tumbledown sanatoria, no streets pockmarked with grenade craters and no empty houses. In these photos from the ’70s, Abkhazia is at the height of its wealth and splendour. Boris’ eyes sparkle as he looks at them. An increasing number of postcards from Germany appear. ‘Erkennen Sie sich darauf?’ is written on the back of one. A postcard from a later date is more personal. ‘Für Dich, lieber Boris,’ it reads. Further on, the photos of Abkhazia are replaced by large portraits of the sender. ‘Deine kleine Renate,’ is written underneath them. Boris turns even redder. ‘I met her in Sukhumi,’ he says. ‘Occasionally I was allowed to act as a guide for Intourist. I kept in touch with Renate for a long time.’ Some time later we are sitting around the table together. Boris is still in mourning because one of his best friends passed away.

Livestock – The road to Bekeshevskaya


In the evening the cows return from grazing. The former state farm has been re-established under the name Agrofarm. The workers now have a small share in the profits, but otherwise little has changed.

The mayor of Krasny Vostok On a clear day, Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak, is visible on the horizon. Krasny Vostok, the Red East, is located in a remote corner of a remote corner of Russia. Immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union the shoe factory closed its doors. The factory for electrical equipment, one village away, did not last long either. Suddenly the whole village was unemployed. The impact was enormous, says Taisya Makova (54), the mayor of this village of in theory 3,340 souls, but where in reality only around 1,600 people still live. With two civil servants she governs the small town hallcum-cultural centre, library and telephone exchange. She is an enthusiastic woman. With a small group of vassals she is trying to breathe new life into the neglected village. She is called constantly by residents, who report a gas shortage or a problem with the plumbing. Russia may be the largest gas producer on earth, but half of this village does not yet have gas. The mayor then calls her odd-job man (and uncle), who drives round the village in an old Lada looking for the defect. Every day begins with a visit to the school. ‘The gas and electricity have to work there at least,’ says Makova. She slides her papers off the table and walks outside. She wants to show us the state the village is in 20 years after the factory closed. First we have to register ourselves, as foreigners are supposed to do in Russia. It turns out we’re the first foreigners here who have had to do so. The clerk in the small post office-cum-store bids us a solemn welcome.

after 10 years of standing empty has been bought by a businessman born in the village. Having made his fortune in Moscow in the wild ’90s, this is his way of giving something back. The labourers receive a minimum salary and a percentage of the profit. Like cowboys, they ride on their horses over the rolling hills, the outliers of those mighty Caucasus on the horizon. In the late afternoon an enormous procession of cows comes back into the village. Most of them go to the farm’s barn, some turn left or right in search of their own individual stalls. The school functions, even more than the town hall, as the village’s social centre. Abazin is taught here, the language of the main ethnic group that lives here. In this village it’s predominantly their own ethnic identity that brings the inhabitants together and motivates everyone just a little bit more to hold the community and the village together, despite all these empty houses and the prevailing unemployment.

The mayor was elected in 2008 with 80% of the votes, she tells us. Her principal election themes were gas and water. ‘If you vote for me, it will be here within a year,’ she promised everyone. And people believed her. Taisya Makova is from a well-known family in the village. She was head of the Komsomol, the Soviet youth organisation, before she became the director of the school. ‘It was a tough experience,’ she says of the Komsomol. ‘It’s a shame that the attention paid to young people in the Soviet Union no longer exists.’ But since the elections she has lost 1.5 kg. The economic crisis also hit hard. The council’s budget plummeted dramatically. ‘I haven’t been able to fulfil any election promises,’ she We drive past the main school and the almost sighs. ‘The regional head said to me in 2008, closed second school. Past muddy streets full if you don’t drink like crazy, your job will make of potholes. Old women from the cities have you crazy.’ squatted the houses in order to harvest crops in the autumn for their own use. In the village many streets are deserted. Countless families have moved to large cities such as Sochi, just on the other side of the mountains, or cities like Moscow or Kislovodsk, where there is work. Attached to the houses that are still inhabited is a sizeable piece of land, where set amounts of corn, potatoes, herbs, vegetables and fruit are grown. ‘It’s actually never been very different,’ says Albert Ghabatov, an unemployed builder who lives on one of these deserted streets. ‘Communism or not, we managed to sustain ourselves.’ But the mayor also shows us the places that manifest some glimmer of hope for future. Perhaps the old shoe factory in the village will – God willing – soon be replaced by a mineral water bottling plant. The large, 700-hectare state farm for example, which,


Frozen in time

now!’ It’s okay, I said. Come on, we’ll just go to another classroom. This is a typically frustrated maths teacher. ‘No!’ the interpreter said It all began so innocently. Back in October categorically. ‘You don’t know what contacts 2009, for the third day in a row we were in he has and maybe he’s right.’ Unfortunately, Krasny Vostok, the Red East. We were invited the principal walked through the stairwell by the school to come and photograph their just then and after the anxious questions from harvest festival. The school in Krasny Vostok the interpreter he ordered us all to go to the is beautiful. It is the kind of place where the teachers’ room. We knew instantly that this staff is so enthusiastic that even Lenin’s slo- would be the end of it. Of course you don’t gans still seem shiny and new. ‘During the need a permit to photograph a school, but as Soviet Union our school director was a strict soon as you start asking about it, someone has Communist,’ the young teacher Irina told us. to take responsibility to grant that permission. ‘He stayed on and made sure that the whole And in Russia that’s something you’re never school remained in the same state. All the going to get. Soviet traditions. That’s why the little ones here are still called Oktyabryata and the While the teachers supplied us with biscuits older ones Pioneers. We still receive the uni- and tea every possible authority was called, forms and red scarves of Zyuganov, the the authorities called each other and began to leader of the Russian Communist Party.’ call us back. In under an hour, the regional Irina baked us cakes and the school’s veteran office of the federal security service, the FSB, – he has worked here for 63 years – offered to unexpectedly approved our plans. But at the give us an official tour of the war museum on same time the ministries of education, inforthe second floor. As he has done for 63 years. mation and the presidential administrative body of Karachay-Cherkessia were also On the recommendation of the vice-principal, answering the principal’s questions. And while an animated man of 55, we visited the maths the FSB seized the opportunity to intimidate teacher’s classroom, also on the second floor. our fixer over the phone – she is an indeAnd that maths teacher was really a maths pendent journalist, something which is not teacher. Dark glasses, sweat patches under appreciated in Russia – various clerks rang his arms, incomprehensible formulae on the the principal to announce that we were not blackboard and an anxious but docile class of just allowed to photograph a school. End of disciples under him. After he had allowed us story. We reached the compromise that we to take two photos he had had enough. ‘Do would come back when our accreditation and you have permits for this?’ he barked. ‘Did permits were in order. Then we would get you know that this school is a restricted back the rolls of film we had handed in and object?’ Our interpreter, a girl we had plucked could rerecord the deleted video footage. The from the local paper factory for want of other principal and vice-principal apologised proEnglish speakers in this remote spot – she fusely, new freshly baked cakes were brought normally extols the virtues of toilet paper or in. After all, the harvest festival only comes translates machine parts into English for round once a year. It was explained to us in investors – turned pale. Her father works for great detail that we still had to hand in our the government, her brother for the mayor of material or give a guarantee that we wouldn’t Cherkessk and suddenly she saw herself in a use it. The regret on their faces was evident. restricted object photographing everything That maths teacher. And our interpreter, who and everyone with two foreigners who she was still cowering in the corner like a terrified couldn’t understand what they were doing in rabbit. schools, with veterans or in cultural centres - or even in Karachay-Cherkessia. A little later we attended the harvest festival as guests of honour. A girl dressed as a I had left the classroom earlier and was cucumber and two boys dressed as a green standing in the corridor, the museum. I had cabbage and an onion respectively tried to just got the giggles from the school veteran entertain us. Nervous girls sang songs in who, as soon as I set foot in his museum, Abaza, the local language, agonisingly out of started playing pompous military marches, to tune. Fantastic photo opportunities passed us the great annoyance of all the students whose by. What started as a story about the difficult classrooms were next to the corridor. Two girls resurrection of a school in remotistan had from older classes stood ready with pointers once again become a story about Russian to show us around the museum. Something paranoia and xenophobia. that we had already politely declined three times; I had had a similar tour the day before. Six months later we are back at the school, At that moment our interpreter came storm- this time with press visas in our passports. ing out of the classroom in blind panic. ‘This We are staying in Krasny Vostok for a week is a forbidden object!’ she cried. ‘We need a and are sleeping and working under the permit! We have to go to the principal right watchful eye of the village’s mayor and her


family. In high spirits we set off for the school to pick up our rolls of film. Despite having press visas and press passes we are once again not allowed to take photographs, says the director. The friendliness between us cools a little. But the teachers are over the moon that we have come back. Paranoid management or not, isn’t our return to Krasny Vostok enough proof of our good intentions, is the attitude of most of the teachers. The women, at any rate, who have fewer of the old Soviet reflexes. In addition, in the Caucasus a guest is a gift from God. You don’t mess around with that. The female teachers ensure that we are able to take photos. Cakes are baked for us again and special classes organised. Like the Islam lesson, specially prescribed by the federal government to educate the children in the peaceful version of Islam, instead of the intolerant and radical Wahhabist version that is sweeping the North Caucasus. Obediently, the children drone through verses from the Koran. The first-formers are already practising for 9 May, World War II Victory Day. They have had to learn a poem that uses over-inflated language to tell the story of the Germans and the planned deportation of Ukrainians and Belarusians to Siberia. A curious choice. The younger ones trip over the complicated story, but plod on determinedly, reciting paragraph after paragraph from memory. It is rather cynical to talk of the intended German deportations in this Red Army poem, while the Abazins’ ethnic neighbours in Krasny Vostok, the Karachays, were themselves deported to Siberia in 1943 by the Red Army under Stalin. We ask the children about their dreams and fondest memories. They all love the mountains and their best memories are of them. But dreams... rarely have we been to a village in which everyone would so like to stay. They might go and study in the next town, but Krasny Vostok is where they want to grow old. But reality has a mind of its own. Dinara, 16, wants to be a designer. Hulina, 12, wants to be a judge. Murat, 11, wants to be a policeman, or even better a lifeguard at a seaside resort. Murat, aged 12, wants to start a horse farm. He has perhaps the best chance of remaining in Krasny Vostok. Miss Irina looks on laughingly. She has high hopes for the future of her village. ‘We’ve been through fire and water,’ she says. ‘We don’t burn and we don’t sink. We’ve experienced a lot and we’re now staying loyal to what we have built up together.’




‘I’d kill a boy if he took my daughter as his girlfriend.’

‘We’ve been through fire and water. We don’t burn and we don’t sink.’ (Irina Chukova, 38) 48


Decor – Cultural centre Like every other village, Krasny Vostok has a cultural centre. As a result of falling visitor numbers, fewer and fewer events are organised. ‘There used to be something to do a couple of times a week,’ according to regular visitor Tosya Bubakirovna Bezhanova (68). ‘Today, you’re lucky if there’s a concert once a month.’


Veteran of Work – Mohamed Kardanov’s house ‘We’re used to being disciplined,’ says the officially lauded Veteran of Work.


Shadow of its former self Mohamed Kardanov was born in 1926 in Krasny Vostok. The years following the October Revolution were hard. The Soviet Union was on the brink of large-scale agricultural collectivisation. At age 12, Mohamed was already sent into the fields. The entire Soviet Union faced famine. Collectivisation had failed, with millions of deaths as a result. Mohamed was quickly assigned to the group of tractor drivers. With large combines they visited the 13 kolkhozs in the area to collect the grain. When war broke out he stayed behind. ‘I could have fought,’ he says, but he was 15 and still too young. All the men from the village served on the front. The land was left to the women. ‘The fields were so dusty that women could only endure it for 20 minutes,’ says Mohamed. ‘Even so, we broke our backs working. In 1943 and 1944 we were able to send 700 tons of bread to the front. ‘After the war, I carried on working at the kolkhozs. It was a good life. We planted seeds everywhere. The kolkhozs became a sovkhoz and we increased the yield. I was always the one who was allowed to travel whenever new tools came to the market. Then I would go to Stavropol to test the equipment and to learn about it. Back here, I would pass that knowledge on. At our peak - I had already become the boss of the sovkhoz by then - we produced 127 tons of corn per year. That was our republic’s record. I was able to buy accordions for my employees. ‘In 1988 I retired. Three years later the sovkhoz was bankrupt. I couldn’t believe it. I said, we should work 24 hours a day. We have to maintain discipline, keep listening to your bosses. But there was no competition anymore. The best work and the highest production no longer existed. All the farms from those days are now ruined. They’re covered in grass. We had nine dairy farms and 22,000 sheep. That was enough for 22 tons of milk and 80 tons of meat per year. Everything is ruined. Over the last years, the sovchoz has been privatised. It is a shadow of its former self. ‘I feel humiliated. Why have people stolen everything? How could it have happened? It’s the biggest mistake in our history, because people did it themselves. Everything was peaceful. People worked and slept. If people are unemployed all their energy is wasted. Imagine how much energy was lost across Russia during those years. We went through some terrible things, such as the war and collectivisation, but we worked and laughed.’


Young people must never interrupt old people. Even if the old people are wrong.


Subotnik – School no. 1 Every Saturday the pupils have to clean the school. Each class is given its own job. The trees are whitewashed to ward off vermin, the hedges are replanted and the dust and dirt are swept from school yards.

Russia’s Wild South The train journey from Sochi to the other side of the mountains began promisingly, along the Black Sea coast, where we had to wait 45 minutes at a station for the different trains to Moscow to overtake us. The North Caucasians onboard stared dreamily out over the sea for the last time. One of them even dived off the steep cliff, swam for about a hundred metres and came back, helped up by his comrades and shouted up by the overly anxious train attendant, who felt responsible for the safe arrival of all her passengers. The train had no buffet car and with rumbling stomachs we discovered, to our dismay, that at no other station where we spent hour after useless hour at a standstill, did any babushkas with baskets of rolls, cabbage or fish appear. The stops became colder and colder, the air thinner and somewhere, after hours of travelling east, the first people onboard were drunk enough to bother us foreigners. The first day in Soviet concrete city Cherkessk, capital of Karachay-Cherkessia, was – as always after a sleepless train journey – confusing. It was a good day to get married, because bridal procession after bridal procession made it difficult for us to cross the road. As each procession passed with honking horns, our local fixer pointed out proudly which nationality was which. This is easy to see, because the five nationalities that live here (Cherkessians, Nogai, Karachais, Russians and Abaza) strictly uphold their own customs. The Russians tie three swans to the roof of their limousine. The Cherkessians have bought four horses in the local toy shop for this purpose, while the Karachais attempt to stretch a knotted carpet over their car with a large roll of tape. An age-old tradition, our fixer says, although the procession of Mercedes limousines makes us doubt this somewhat.

Karachai-Cherkessia is the second in the row of small North Caucasian republics, if you look from west to east. Adygea is the first, followed by Kabardino-Balkaria, then North Ossetia and Ingushetia, Chechnya and finally Dagestan, on the Caspian Sea. They are all names that make it into the news for the wrong reasons – murdered journalists or activists, large-scale human-rights violations and devastating Russian military campaigns. It is also here that almost all of the great Russian writers had their baptism of fire. Pushkin, Lermontov and Tolstoy travelled around and sent epic stories from this region. In 19th-century Russia, the Caucasus captured the imagination, like the Wild West in the United States. The Russian writers had an ambivalent attitude towards the Caucasians, noble savages, proud and freedomloving murderers who had to be forced to their knees by equally proud and courageous Russians. The Russian game of attack, sowing dissent and pacification, described so beautifully by those great Russian writers, can be applied directly to the current situation. But of course with more modern political and military means, and several profitable sources of oil as a complicating factor.

The father of the current Chechen leader Kadyrov is the Hadji Murad (Leo Tolstoy, 1904) of today, the freedom fighter who, in order to suppress an internal struggle within the republic, sought support from the Russians. And still, if you ask a Muscovite, for example, his opinion of the Caucasus, he will talk lovingly about the wine, the food, the rich culture but also about the hot-tempered, irrepressible character of its people. In Moscow, ‘Caucasian’ is almost synonymous with untrustworthy and criminal. But the biggest shashlik was recently cooked in KarachaiCherkessia – according to the Guinness Book of Records. According to everyone we speak to, no one here is intent on a Green Hand or Carpet Revolution. Poverty, that’s a big problem. But the money that is here comes from Moscow, say others, so we The Abazin are the second smallest ethnic shouldn’t get any ideas in our heads. On the group, which could explain why they want to other side of the mountains, billions are drown out the others. With big national flags being pumped into the Olympic Games but (green with a hand and row of stars on it – here, time seems momentarily to stand still. which also appear on the Abkhazian flag) they hang out of their windows, shouting unintelligibly in their own language, Abaza (a language that with 74 letters and various whistles and sibilants is so complicated that only a minority of the already small group can speak it), drive wildly over Ulica Lenina, the main street. Anyone who didn’t know better would think the green carpet revolution had broken out here - against the swan and horse bearers.


Horses – Lilya department store


Most Abaza women marry when they are in their early twenties, but men often wait until they are in their thirties or even forties. Bride kidnapping is an old custom in the Caucasus. Traditionally, men did this on horses; today they use cars.


Blossoms – Stella and Giorgi’s house Krasny Vostok is an Abazin village in KarachayCherkessia. Around 35,000 Abazins live in Russia. By far the largest number of these resides in the Caucasus. They have their own language which is closely related to Abkhazian. The Abazins originally come from the north-western part of Abkhazia.

The mores of the mountains hold sway Our friend Aibasov’s son is an imam in a village a short distance away. As a result, his son doesn’t drink. Aibasov is a former policeman. Not drinking doesn’t exist. On a Friday we are once again sitting together around the table. Our hostess warns us: Aibasov will be here soon and he has had to spend the whole day with his son. He’ll be thirsty. And indeed, when Aibasov comes in, he immediately opens a beer with his pistol and knocks back a glass of vodka. When we ask him about his son, he raises his hand; ‘no questions please. After the third toast,’ and quickly knocks back two more. ‘If you drink, God doesn’t hear your prayers for 40 days,’ he then says. ‘But I’ll let my son write a letter. Imams have the power to write magical texts, which move people to do things. Unfortunately, for the time being my son doesn’t want to abuse that power.’ The North Caucasus is infamous for its fundamentalist Islam. From Dagestan to Adygea, Islam is the dominant religion. AntiRussian rebels kill and commit suicide in the name of Islam. We visit the mosque in the village. Imam Mohamet Adzibekov is young. He meets us in a casual pair of jeans and shirt. He comes from a long line of imams. He himself was educated in Cairo, Egypt and Trabzon, Turkey. He doesn’t attract many worshippers, he tells us. ‘Every Friday around 30-35 people come to the Friday prayer. Most of them come here with religious questions. After 70 years of the Soviet Union no one knows anymore what the real Islamic practices are. So people come to me and ask whether they can also throw fruit and drink into the grave at a funeral. It’s not necessary, I say. But neither is there much against it.’ The mufti of Cherkessia was recently murdered, on the street, in cold blood. ‘Maybe it was the Wahhabists from the neighbouring republics,’ says Mohamet. ‘I don’t know. I try to practise my religion as purely as possible, maybe that’s why I haven’t had any problems yet.’ Girls and women don’t come to his mosque. ‘Maybe they’re frightened of stories about shari’a,’ he says. ‘I don’t know.’ It is more likely that after 70 years of the Soviet Union, Krasny Vostok’s inhabitants have little interest in Islam. At home, a hospitable Soviet culture prevails, fuelled by pickles and hefty amounts of vodka and home-made wine. In public, the mores of the mountains hold sway. The mayor is happy to list them for us. ‘If you cross the street no one will cross your path,’ she begins. ‘That brings bad luck; we wouldn’t do that to each other. Young people must never interrupt old


people, even if the old people are wrong. A man on horseback must never pass a woman without first dismounting. Younger sisters may not get married before their older sisters. We don’t cover our faces anymore, but we don’t expose ourselves either. And,’ she adds jokingly, ‘in the Caucasus we don’t get drunk. But that’s because of the fresh air.’ There was once an imam, we are told during a meal, who wanted to make a woman his own. He had had his eye on her for a while. He thought up an excuse to visit her at home, saying that he urgently needed a woman’s hair to keep her from certain misfortune. The woman agreed and withdrew to get him the hair. The next day the village woke up to the sound of the imam bellowing loudly among the cows in the barn. The woman had seen through his scheme and had given him a cow’s hair. The Caucasus is rife with myths, legends and traditions that are partially mixed with Islam or have nothing to do with it at all. Every mountain has a story, for example. In Dombai, Karachay-Cherkessia’s ski resort, is a mountain that looks like a sleeping woman. Or, as they say here in Krasny Vostok, the mountain is a sleeping woman. She protects the neighbouring valley from bad weather and disaster. ‘I can’t imagine how people here become fundamentalist,’ says someone at our table one evening. Even though we are in Krasny Vostok she wants to remain anonymous. Islam and fundamentalism and the accompanying violence have the fullest attention of all the security forces here. ‘But with so much unemployment, so few prospects and occasional government strongarming the Wahhabists’ message can be very appealing.’


POPULATION Number of inhabitants registered Number of actual inhabitants Number of personal farms Number of shops Average age Age of oldest inhabitant Number of war veterans Veterans of work Annual birth Annual death A GEOGRAPHY Number of pass through roads A EDUCATION Number of schools Number of pupils A HIGHER EDUCATION PhD Master of Science, MSc Those with a higher education Specialised secondary education A ECONOMY Main source of income Average income A NUMBER OF LIVESTOCK Cattle Sheep Horses Goats (Bee)hives


Statistics delivered by the mayor

3340 in the summer, almost everyone in the winter, 1800 940 18 45 – 50 93 2 300 56 54

2. One from Kislovodsk to Cherkessk; the other from Krasny Vostok to Stavropol mountain region

2 272 and 135

3 50 300 1200

Agriculture 3700 rub (less than the minimum living wage)

2780 6800 42 50 1200






































Pick up two of these newspapers and find a wall six meters wide.


























Colophon: This multi-functional newspaper exhibition is part of The Sochi Project and has been specially designed and produced for the European Month of Photography (EMOP). © The Sochi Project 2010 / www.thesochiproject.org Photography: © Rob Hornstra / INSTITUTE / Flatland Gallery NL | Paris. Text: © Arnold van Bruggen / Prospektor Translation: Cecily Layzell Design: Kummer & Herrman, Utrecht Printed by: Dijkman Offset, Amsterdam Print run: 5,000 This production has been made possible with support from the promoter for documentary photography at The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB).

Thanks to: Wim Aalbers, Wim Aardenburg, Johannes Abeling, Antoine Achten, David K Adams, Husey Aibasov, Yulan van Alphen, Roland Angst, Nico Baldauf, Inga Lára Baldvinsdóttir, Harry Barkema, Nathalie Belayche, Mark Beunderman, Frederiek Biemans, Marc Bierings, Victor Blankevoort, Elgin Blankwater, Niels Blekemolen, Jelle Bloem, Jan Willem Bloemendaal, Maarten Boerma, Boudewijn Bollmann, Tjitske Boogmans, Lex Boon, Kris Borgerink, Chloe Borkett, Jack Bos, Maarten Boswijk, Nicolaas Bot, Gerwin Botterhuis, Enda Bowe, Laura Bras, Karel de Bree, Jacco Brink, Corine van den Broek, Gerard Broersen, Guido Bruggeman, Erik van Bruggen, Anke van Bruggen, Janny en Popke van Bruggen, David Plummer & Bryan Dooley, Irma Bulkens, Heleen Bulthuis, Tessa Bunney, Simon Burer, Theo Captein, Nelson Chan, Sally Clark, Toon de Clerck, Jörg Colberg, Rutger Colenbrander, Justin Collins, Jeannette Cornelisse, Simon de la Court, L.J.A.D. Creyghton, Alexander van de Cruijs, Agnese Da Col, Adrian Davies, Peter M Dekens, Els Dekker, Julie Del Piero, Stichting Doel Zonder Naam, Carola van Dongen de Boer, Ivan Donovan, Louis S Dowse, Jochem Driest, Derk Duit, Chris Ecclestone, Janus van den Eijnden, Anna Eikelboom, Jan Pieter Ekker, Georgy Ekzekov, Stella Ekzekova, Frank van den Engel, Simone van Engelen, Michael Ensdorf, Leo Erken, Nicole Ex Asselbergs, Rémi Faucheux, Federico Ferrari, Olivier Fierens, Richard Fieten, Eva Flendrie, Regina Fluyt, Jan Willem Folkers, Markus Franke, Francoise Gaarlandt Kist, Thijs Gadiot, Isabel Garces, Coen Geertsema, Bertus Gerssen, Heidi de Gier, Frits Gierstberg, Jasper Gilijamse, Roos Gils, Sébastien Girard, John Gossage, Ingo Gotz, Ian Joanne Graham, Peter Granser, Stefanie Grätz, Simone de Greef, Hans Gremmen, Jasper Groen, Martijn Groeneveld, Inge de Groot, Feyoena Grovestins, Peter Göttler, Anke van Haarlem, Arjan van Hal, Barbara Hanlo, Ingrid Harms, Gregory Harris, Neil Harrison, Hans Ueli Hasler, Maxim Heijndijk, Chantal Heijnen, Marlene Herkemij, Arthur Herrman, Pauke van den Heuvel, Lorelei Heyligers, Marloes Hiethaar, Richard Higginbottom, Paul ‘t Hoen, Eva Hofman, Joop Hopster, Joost en Joke Hornstra, Luc Hornstra, Tom Hornstra, Laurien ten Houten, Marjan Hoving, Fred Icke, Tarek Issaoui, Mieke Jansen, Tom Janssen, Michael Jellema, Fred Jelsma, Mayke Jongsma, Roy Kahmann, Felix Kalkman, Manja Kamman, Emile Kelly, Dolph Kessler, Vivian Keulards, Robin Klaassen, Erik Klappe, Martijn Kleppe, Freya de Klerk, Anneke Kloostra, Kim Knoppers, Talmon Kochheim, Ria Kock, Olaf Koens, Stefan Kolgen, Dirk Kome, Suzanne Koopmans, Paul Kouwenberg, Erik Kroes, Jan Kruidhof, Annelies

Kuiper, Sybren Kuiper, Jeroen Kummer, Tom Lagerberg, Raoul de Lange, Matthew Lemon, Beate Lendt, Dick van Lente, Natascha Libbert, Jann Liebert, Baptiste Lignel, Geisje van der Linden, Johan Linssen, Sjoerd Litjens, Dunja Logozar, Alma Loos, Hans Loos, Marijke Louppen, Menno Luitjes, Celina Lunsford, Femke M Lutgerink, Michael van Maanen, Gordon MacDonald, Taisya Makova, Henrik Malmström, Paul Malschaert, Rense Mandema, Uwe H. Martin, Russ McClintock, Michael Mccraw, Harminke Medendorp, Kristin J Metho, Andrea Meuzelaar, Svetlana Mikhaylenko, William Mitchell, Jo Mockers, C.F. van der Molen, Vittorio Mortarotti, Fotolab MPP, Gerda Mulder, Andreas Nader, Herbert Nelissen, Dieter Neubert, Jose Luis Neves, Floor Nicolas, Pepijn Nicolas, Pipo Nicolas, Leonie van Nierop, Bram Nijssen, Corinne Noordenbos, Kenneth o Halloran, Laura Obdeijn, Hilje Oosterbaan Martinius, Jan Oosterman, Henk Otte, Floris van Overveld, Johannes Paar, Lodewijk van Paddenburgh, Emiliano Paoletti, Martin Parr, Vanessa Penn, Douglas Penn, Steve Pepper, Andrew Phelps, Cock Pleijsier, Rik Plomp, Jan Postma, Corey Presha, Tom Price, Jeppe van Pruissen, Mireille de Putter, Pierre Yves Racine, Rianne Randeraad, Marco Rapaccini, Monique van Ravenstein, Katrien Raymaekers, Eduard Rekker, Ramon Reverte Masco, Liza de Rijk, Mike Roelofs, Laura van Roessel, Johannes Romppanen, Hans Roos, Tijmen Rooseboom, Pieter Roozenboom, Carsten Rummel & Sophie Roualt, Frank de Ruiter, Rixt Runia, Jacobien Rutgers, Jaap Scheeren, Hannah Schildt, Patrizia Schiozzi, Marike Schipper, Ralph Schmitz, Oliver Schneider, Andreas Schöning, Meindert Scholma, Söeren Schuhmacher, Hendrik Schwantes, Terri Schwartz, Roel Segerink, Fabio Severo, Geert Job Sevink, Jeroen Seydel, Patrick Sijben, Iris Sikking, Teresa Silva, Katja Sinnema, Fransje Sjenitzer, Anna Skladmann, Johan Slager, Bart Sleegers, Bart Sleegers, Robin Sluijs, Rob en Eva Sluys, Monique Smeets, Hans Snellen, Frans Soeterbroek, Baato Soort, Peter Sorantin, Robert Specken, Sander Spek, Marijn Staal, Petra Stavast, Joop Steenman, Conny Steenman, Jolien Steenman, Lorette Steenman, Bonnie Steenman, Jana Steffen, Truus Stevens, David Strettel, Margreet Strijbosch, Philip Stroomberg, Ton Sweep, Marlies Swinkels, Victor Taylor, Anne Tegelaar, Florens Tegelaar, Margriet Teunissen, Björn Theye, Mirelle Thijsen, Bas Timmers, Chiara Tocci, Jeroen Toirkens, Reinier Treur, Jan Vandemoortele, Anneke van Veen, Christiaan van Veen, Evelien Vehof, Lucas Verheij, Ralf Verhoef, Kirsten Verpaalen, Marieke Viergever, Dirk-Jan Visser, Henkjan van Vliet, Elise Volker, Jurryt van de Vooren, Zelda de Vries, Tanya Vriesman, Bas Vroege, Martijn de Waal, Theo de Waal, Rolf Weijburg, Rob Wetzer, Thomas Wiegand, Mick van de Wiel, Kitty Wigleven, Guido de Wildt, Andrea Wilkinson, Marieke ten Wolde, Stephen Wooldridge, Valentin Wormbs, Raimond Wouda, Steffi Wurster, Natalie Wynants, Antonia Zennaro, Isabell Zipfel.

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