Unfortunately the first thing that goes out the window when you're homeless and in poverty is the truth – the promises you make, the friendships, your potential, your commitments.
A Russian Fairytale is visually stunning and shows the awful contradiction between this day-to-day tooth-and-claw struggle and the fairytale dreams you desperately escape into via shooting up or whatever.
The way out has to be to provide a framework of support to help people lift themselves out of the sticky stuff and back into the real world where dreams can be fought for.Lord John Bird - Founder of The Big Issue
"I told my mother, if you don't stop drinking, I will jump"
Kolya comes from a broken home. He's been on the streets since he was seven after spending much of his childhood passed between his mother and grandparents. After meeting the other kids living on the streets, Kolya decided to join them. Over the years he became increasingly detatched from his family and finds he is unable to return home.
Perm was once a soviet weapons-building city, closed to the outside world. Approximately 1160km East of Moscow, it’s close to the Ural mountains (the geographical boarder between Europe and Asia).
The fall of the Soviet Empire meant for many families a great social decline due to the country’s industry being sold for pennies to a small group of wealthy oligarchs, leaving the rest of the population to cope with the unfamiliar concept of capitalism.
Summers are hot but the harsh Siberian winters often drop to -35°c which makes Perm a very hostile environment for those living on the streets.
"My aunt loved me, until I lost my fingers"
Denis ran away from home after his mother died and he was neglected by his alcoholic father. One winter he was beaten up and left in the snow unconscious. As a result of severe frostbite, he lost his fingers and toes. His aunt who was caring for him abandoned him after this and he became a successful beggar at the market. He later became the main breadwinner of the group whom he lives with on the streets.
"In time our group will disintegrate. Some will go to prison, some will return home."
Irina was born into an abusive family. Her mother was imprisoned for murder when she was a baby and she was neglected by her alcoholic father. She was taken into institutional care and struggled to come to terms with her new life in an orphanage so she ran away, finding other children on the streets to live with instead.