From my newly adopted home in Brussels, I have become fascinated with my unknown and hidden family history, far away in Russia. So, I decided to travel by train from Europe to Russia with my father in order to uncover these long kept secrets. After thirty years of absence, we return to the region where he grew up – a place I have never been before: Asha, a small industrial town in the middle of the Urals, on the border between Russia and Bashkiria. Asha is a place where time seems to stand still. Old Soviet architecture and war memorials defi ne the cityscape, constantly confronting its inhabitants with their tough and complicated past. We visit the apartment where my father spent his childhood. Once fi ve people lived here together, but now only my stepgrandfather, Nikolay, remains. It is littered with yellowed photographs, old postcards and souvenirs, like a treasure chest full of family history and memories of life in the USSR. This becomes the meeting point for all the generations of my family. I systematically dive into our collective past discovering how my family experienced the different eras of Stalin, USSR disintegration and now, Putin. Reigns of terror, war and environmental disasters have largely determined their lives and led to many depressions that resulted to my surprise in several suicides in the family. My grandmother was born during World War II and never set foot outside the Soviet Union. She lived under the Stalinist regime and in 1989, the year of the fall of the USSR, she took her own life. My main question is how we can cherish the past without burdening ourselves and future generations?
31. 3. 2022
East Doc Platform 2022 Winners Announced
The East Doc Platform Award went to the Polish project The World is not (a) Mine by Natalia Koniarz, while the Ukrainian project Up in the Air by Oksana Syhareva has two awards including HBO Max Award. See the awarded projects and juries statements.read more