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On the Other side of the Mountains: The Sochi Project
Rob Hornstra and Arnold Van Bruuggen

On the other side of mountains

On the other side of mountainsOn the Other side of the Mountains: The Sochi Project
Rob Hornstra and Arnold Van Bruuggen


Edition of 5000.
63 Pages
300 x 420 mm
ISBN Not Available


On the other side of the mountains from Sochi is the North Caucasus, the poorest and most violent region of Russia. While in Sochi 50 billion dollars are being invested in the Olympics, many villages here barely have running water or gas. The North Caucasus is home to around 50 different nationalities, in some cases groups of less than a thousand people. The Games mean little here. Sochi and the North Caucasus lie scarcely a hundred kilometres from each other, but they are worlds apart. This is a portrait of the small village of Krasny Vostok in Karachay-Cherkessia.

About the Project
Sochi is the Florida of Russia, but cheaper. It is famous for its subtropical vegetation, hotels and sanatoria. People from all over the Soviet Union associate the coastal city with beach holidays and first loves. The smell of sunscreen, sweat, alcohol and roasting meat pervades the air. Nothing happens here in the winter. But that’s about to change. The Winter Games are coming to town.

Sochi has always been a plaything in Moscow’s hands. Sochi’s modern history begins in 1864, when the tsar’s army concluded the long war of conquest in the Caucasus and up in what will be the Olympic ski resorts of Krasnaya Polyana, defeated the last organised Caucasian army. Thousands of Caucasians, from Dagestan to Sochi Russia & Turkey, crossed the sea to present-day Turkey, then the Ottoman Empire. The crossing was sometimes a self-organised escape, but just as often it was facilitated by the Russian army, in preparation for Russian colonisation of parts of the Caucasus. This ‘Circassian Genocide’ is commemorated each year on 21 May in Turkey and across the Caucasian diaspora. The descendants of Caucasian refugees are still guards of honour in the armies of Turkey, Israel, Jordan and Syria.

About the Artist
Rob Hornstra
, born in 1975 in the Netherlands, is a Dutch photographer of predominantly long-term documentary projects, both at home and around the world. He has published several books of solo work, produced documentary series for a variety of international magazines, and taken part in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the Netherlands and abroad.

Arnold van Bruggen is a documentary filmmaker and journalist at the Prospektor agency in Amsterdam, which he founded with Eefje Blankevoort.

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