On the Trail with Putin: Photographs by Yuri Kozyrev

Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIME
Yuri Kozyrev—NOOR for TIME
Feb. 13, 2012. Kurgan, Russia. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin meets with a group of parents, teachers and students at School No. 7 in Kurgan, a factory town at the southern end of the Ural Mountains.

The grim factory towns of the Ural Mountains, such as the outpost of Kurgan along the Trans-Siberian Railroad, are among the only places left in Russia where Prime Minister Vladimir Putin could still count on the people’s firm support. The air tastes metallic here from the belching smokestacks, and most of the workers are massed in crumbling apartment blocks left over from the Soviet Union. But life is predictable, the average wage is enough to get by and the locals are grateful to Putin for that.

So his bid to win a third term as president—which he won on March 4—focused on places like Kurgan, which he visited on Feb. 13 to tour a provincial school. It was a safe place for a campaign stop, far away from Russia’s biggest cities, where the vibrant middle class has begun to protest by the tens of thousands to call for an end to Putin’s 12-year rule. Outside of School No. 7 in Kurgan, he was greeted by a crowd of supporters who waited for four hours in the freezing cold to have a glimpse of the man they call “our leader,” or sometimes even, “the czar.” Such towns are still home to the vast majority of the Russian population, and they were likely the ones who handed Putin a mandate to rule for six more years. The middle class will then need to wait to see much political change.

Simon Shuster is TIME’s Moscow reporter. Follow him on Twitter @shustry

Yuri Kozyrev is a contract photographer for TIME and was just named the 2011 Photographer of the Year in the Pictures of the Year International competition.

Related Topics: , , , , , ,

Latest Posts

Namsa Leuba

A Fresh Look at Africa through Nigeria’s Largest Photo Festival

The LagosPhoto 2014 photography festival sees photographers present work that offer an alternative to the "Afro-pessimism" usually on display in the media

Read More
A North Korean woman walks on the peak of Mt. Paektu in North Korea's Ryanggang province, June 18, 2014 .

Photojournalism Daily: Oct. 24, 2013

U Ku Tha La, 38, head monk at Nang Mal Khon Phoe Pyar Monastery. Kaw Ku Village, Kayah State.

Transforming Lives in Burma, One Solar Panel at a Time

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 17,659 other followers