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Thursday, May 12, 2016
On Victory Day, Russian photographers Mikhail Mordasov and Ignat Kozlov captured images of World War II veterans and young Russians who are the same age as the veterans were when they went off to fight in the war. They asked each of their subjects two questions: "What should one live for?" and "What should one be willing to die for?" (Click on the images for full-screen view.)
Dmitry Baranov, 19, Ivanovo
One should live for one's family, one's homeland, for one's self.
One should be willing to die for one's country, something one should remember especially on May 9. And for one's family.
Vasily Timofeyevich Fateyev, 90. At 19 he took part in the military operation against Japan on the Kurile Islands.
We are meant to live like officers, and not sacrifice our honor. I pledge my heart and soul to God and my honor to no one.
There is no sense in dying for nothing. But if the homeland needs defending, one should not spare one's life and be a hero.
Maxim Suponev, 19, Odintsovo
One should live in order to create a family, raise children, and help those who are close to you.
One should be willing to die for one's family.
Yevgeny Petrovich Kuropatkov, 92. At 19 he was sent to the front and immediately ended up at Stalingrad.
Life is the main thing. God gave us life so that we can be alive and create joy for our friends and for those close to us. And in order to be a free person.
One should only be willing to die for one's homeland, there is nothing else worth dying for. Everything else is ashes.
Alexei Radomsky, 17, Moscow
Everyone lives for different things. For pleasure, for fun, or so that one feels one's life is not wasted.
You can die if you're defending your kin or family.
Mark Semyonovich Sorein, 90. Sent to the front at 17.
One should live so that everything is good, but we never seem to achieve that.
One should be willing to die for one's homeland. The homeland is not to blame if there are bad people in it.
Nikolai Danilov, 22, Moscow
One should live in order to make the world better.
And one should be willing to die for what one values.
Vasily Stepanovich Kudukov, 95. At 22 he defended the Caucasus.
We live in order to defend our homeland.
Those of us who died, died for their homeland and for Stalin.
Yekaterina Deyneka, 13, Moscow
One should live in order to improve oneself.
One should be willing to die for the people who are dear to us.
Taisiya Vladimirovna Pchelintseva, 88. As a sixth grader, she lied about her age in order to work in a hospital and help care for the wounded.
One should live in order to do good.
And one should be willing to die for truth.
Andrei Vetrov, 20, Kirovograd, Ukraine
One should live for one's family, for one's home, in order to have some sort of meaning in this life.
One should be willing to die for one's family, for one's home.
Boris Grigoryevich Sverdlovsky, 93. At 20, he fought on the Third Ukrainian Front
Every life has its own purpose.
One should be willing to die for true ideals and noble goals, for the homeland.
May Arslanov, 19, Sterlitamak
I live to enjoy life, for new impressions, for experience.
One should be willing to die for a great idea, if one knows for certain that it will not be in vain.
Alexander Nikitovich Maslov, 93. At 19 he volunteered to go to the front.
One should live for one's country, so that there will not be war, so that things will be better.
We all were ready to die for our homeland. How can one abandon one's people when they are in trouble? Stalin won the war. Stalin was a gift from God, he was our blessing.
Vyacheslav Zhurilkin, 17, Moscow
One should live in order to live, to have a good time.
One should be willing to die for one's homeland, for one's family.
Papik Vaganovich Papyan, 92. He went off to war at 17.
One should live well.
Everyone has died: my wife, son, daughter. I don't want to die.
Mikhail Mordasov, 33, was born in Veliky Novgorod. He has been working on special documentary projects for several years, recently completing The Spine of Russia, with the book to be released this summer. His work has been published in a long list of foreign and domestic publications. Website
Ignat Kozlov, 28, lives and works in Moscow. He has been working as a photographer since 2010 and is a prize winning member of the Wedding Photojournalist Association. His work has been published in TIME, The Times, Washington Post, Le Mond, Russian Reporter and Kommersant, among others. Website
This coffee table book is the photographic journal of an epic 6000-kilometer road trip. The book includes over 200 compelling images of Russians and Russian places met along the way, plus a dozen texts (in both English and Russian) on everything from business to education, from roads to fools.
The story of the epic Spine of Russia trip, intertwining fascinating subject profiles with digressions into historical and cultural themes relevant to understanding modern Russia.