Fan Club Putin A photography project by Bela Doka

Fan Club Putin by Bela Doka:

In the suburbs of Moscow, a group of fresh-faced students wearing bright orange t-shirts can claim to be part of one of the world’s most unusual appreciation societies.

Since the members of this club have an average age of 18, it would be reasonable to imagine the object of their devotion to be a boy band or a hot new film star. But no, the 1,500 members of the “VV Fan Club” have a more heavyweight idol—the Russian president, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

The teenage members of the VV Putin fan club idolize their president as a savior. In their eyes, he is far away from the growing threat to democracy and global stability as many (both inside and outside Russia) portray him.

Many of the female members of the group venerate this clean-living, strong and strangely handsome president as a father figure—or even as an ideal husband.

“He is the perfect politician, sportsman and family man!” gushes Vika Matorina, 18.

I spent 2 weeks with the VV fan club and was surprised by the level of support for Putin, whose image appears on posters above the student’s beds, on badges, and superimposed over the Russian tricolore hanging next to makeshift shrines.

They spend hours chatting on the internet about their hero and even go to university wearing Putin T-shirts. I was really shocked at how they could feel such intense love for him.

– Discover more of Bela’s work here: Bela Doka

Monthly Photo Contest

color portrait of an elderly woman by Can Sever
© Can Sever

2022 Visual Storytelling AWARD Deadline: 31 January 2022

The art of visual storytelling encompasses a wide range of possibilities with at its heart, the will to tell a story.

From classic social documentary to imaginative storytelling: this month we are seeking visual artists aiming to captivate; unique voices willing to share their stories with conviction and awareness.⁠

Portrait, street, documentary, landscape: All approaches are valid. Enter now and show us YOUR stories!


1st Prize: $1000 · 2nd Prize: $600 · 3rd Prize: $400

Submit Now

Recent Articles

More Articles

Tip-Logo

To support photographers, each month we are
offering 10 FREE ENTRIES to the competition.

Enter your email and join our newsletter to be considered.