I started shooting a project on the Belarusian agro towns driven by the desire to understand my generation and that youth who stayed in villages, my peers who participate in the state program “Rural Development”. I wanted to rethink the choices that were made by me and by them. Another reason was an attempt to document my epoch as two five-year plans of the “Rural Renaissance” is a unique social project typical for this country and our time as well as those transformations that our society undergoes.
I grew up and came into my own together with the characters of my pictures, I used to go to the same school with them, I spent my free time the same way they did, visited discos… so I could easily find a common language with them. But those last 10 years that I have lived in Minsk (studying at the university, working and traveling) alienated me a lot from my village peers and helped me to look at this visual research at a distance, to pay attention to seemingly common things that reveal the characters and ideals of my heroes. On the other hand, I often found myself thinking that I took the pictures of my own alternative biography, of the way my life would have looked like if I had stayed in the village.
Talking to my characters I began to realize that for college or technical school graduates moving to an agro town is a kind of step into the adulthood. Unlike their peers, they do not need to take bank loans or be on an accommodation waiting list, to live with their parents or to rent an apartment. But on the other hand, they get into all the same ‘parental comfort zone’ without even realizing it, where the state creates favorable life conditions for them and provides them with the ‘city-in-the-country’ life but limits the choice of the future.