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Politics

Jonas Bendiksen: Satellites

Traversing scattered and unrecognized mini-states, along with other isolated communities, Jonas Bendiksen explores the southern borderlands of the former U.S.S.R

Jonas Bendiksen

Jonas Bendiksen | Satellites Villagers collecting scrap from a crashed spacecraft, surrounded by thousands of white butterflies. Environmentalists fear for the region's future due to the toxic rocket fuel. Altai Territory, Rus (...)

The Soviet collapse spawned 15 new countries that are now established members of the international community. However, economic, political and ethnic disparities also gave birth to a series of lesser known unrecognized republics, national aspirations, and legacies.

Jonas Bendiksen | Satellites Crowds circle a statue of Lenin in front of the Supreme Soviet building. Transdniester is in many ways one of the last bastions of communist nostalgia in the former USSR. Transdniester, Moldova. 2004. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen | Satellites A Russian tourist girl in a Soviet-era resort 'Pensionat Energetik,' on the coast. Gagra, Abkhazia. Georgia. 2005. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen | Satellites Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx hanging on the wall of 'Red Heat', a drinking hole in the capital. Tiraspol, Transdniester, Moldova. 2004. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen | Satellites Halal slaughter house. Ferghana Valley, Uzbekistan. 2002. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos

Satellites is a photographic journey through the scattered enclaves, unrecognized mini-states, and other isolated communities that straddle the southern borderlands of the former USSR.

Jonas Bendiksen | Satellites Although Abkhazia is isolated, half-abandoned and still suffering war wounds due to its unrecognized status, both locals and Russian tourists are drawn to the warm waters of the Black Sea. Sukhum, (...)
Jonas Bendiksen | Satellites With its lush Black Sea location, Abkhazia is trying to attract Russian tourists. Here, at a road stop on the tour bus route, an entrepreneur, who charges tourists 10 rubles to photograph his bear. (...)
Jonas Bendiksen | Satellites A band of scrap metal dealers scan while waiting for a rocket to crash. Kazakhstan. 2000. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen | Satellites A father and son pray in their home. The crackdown on Islam makes it dangerous to pray in public. Ferghana Valley, Uzvbekistan. 2002. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos

The itinerary goes through places such as Transdniester, a breakaway republic in Eastern Europe, Abkhazia, an unrecognized country on the Black Sea, the religiously conservative Ferghana Valley in Central Asia, the spacecraft crash zones between Russia and Kazakhstan, and the Jewish Autonomous Region of Far Eastern Russia.

Jonas Bendiksen | Satellites The fiery wreck of a rocket after it crashed during the night. Kazakhstan. 2000. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos
Jonas Bendiksen | Satellites Scrap metal dealers collecting and blowtorching the wreckage of a crashed Soyuz spacecraft. Kazakhstan. 2000. © Jonas Bendiksen | Magnum Photos