Anastasia Vlasova


Documenting Ukraine Grants

Aftermath: Rebuilding Lives after the Great Flood

The unthinkable happened in southern Ukraine in early June 2023. The 30-meter-high Kakhovka dam was destroyed, either as a result of a deliberate explosion or negligence by occupying Russian troops. This event unleashed an 18-cubic-kilometer reservoir of water from the Dnipro River, equivalent to the Great Salt Lake in the United States.

The massive water flow claimed dozens of lives and destroyed the homes of thousands of people. The draining of the reservoir disrupted access to drinking water for approximately 700,000 Ukrainians, according to UN estimates.

As experts assess the consequences of this major flood and the International Criminal Court investigates a potential war crime, we aim to cover the aftermath of the disaster for the communities living near the breached dam.

Our goal is to document how people are adapting to this new reality and supporting one another.


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Breaking Out from the "Brotherly" Embrace

“We don’t have an apartment now. Our block was set on fire by a missile, so we’re now homeless people. We don’t have a school anymore because it was bombed, and so we don’t have a place of work,” said Viktor Shulik, a former headteacher from Popasna, Luhansk area. “We took up arms because, well, what else can we do?”
My project is about people from the Donetsk and Luhansk areas who fight for Ukraine, either as soldiers, volunteers or as part of the local self-defense forces.
The stigma of people from Donbas being pro-Russian is still present, and the existence of people like Viktor is underrepresented. While many people with pro-Russian views remain, a lot has changed, and it is a mistake to assume those with pro-Russian views are the majority.
I have been documenting the Russian war against Ukraine since its start in 2014. In my reporting, I always focus on people and go where they and the chance take me. Thus, I developed many acquaintances and good friends with a pro-Ukrainian position and those whose views changed over the years. Most of these people are actively involved in the war or its aftermath.
In this project, I want to highlight the participation of Donbas residents in the joint fight against Russia, which demonstrates that many people from these territories are its supporters.

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Latest Grantee's Blog Posts

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    On 2 June 2023, the exhibition “Documenting Ukraine: Bearing Witness to War” will be officially opened. The exhibition, organized in cooperation with Bildrecht and FOTO WIEN, will be held from 2 June to 1 July 2023 at Bildraum Studio. 
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    Anastasia Vlasova was one of the first photographers who came to Kherson right after its deoccupation on 11 November 2022. Born and raised in Kherson, she used to refer to her hometown as "a small city where nothing ever happens" and then admits, "until last year, obviously."