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The Sochi Project

This multimedia slow journalism project tells the shadow narrative to the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, which is surrounded by conflict zones. It brings together long reads, photo series and TV reports.

In 2007, Vladimir Putin stepped onto the stage at the International Olympics Committee’s annual meeting to the sound of the triumphal opening of Tchaikovsky’s first piano concerto. He was there to support Sochi’s candidacy for hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics. “It’s a unique place,” he began. “On the seashore you can enjoy a fine spring day, but up in the mountains it’s winter. Real snow is guaranteed.” What the Russian president didn’t mention is that a metaphorical winter is also raging here. For Muscovites, Sochi is a summer capital, with its beaches and luxury resort spas. It is the ideal setting for the glitter and glamour of the games. But there’s trouble brewing behind those mountains. The largely unrecognized mini-state of Abkhazia has been a source of conflict since time immemorial, and it’s just a stone’s throw away. Further to the east are the vast war-torn regions of Chechnya and North Ossetia. They provide the hidden story behind the upcoming games, and Rob Hornstra and Arnold van Bruggen have been writing about it, and photographing and filming it since 2007 for their slow journalism project. Made partly with the support of donations, these “long reads,” photo series and TV reports have now been assembled on a multimedia website. Coming soon, they will also be exhibited in various cities, including Amsterdam and Moscow – the lion’s den.

Project details

Year of development :2013
Created by:Rob Hornstra & Arnold van Bruggen
With:Kummer & Herrman, Prospektor

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