EXCLUSIVENSFW – “NAKED CITIES: NAKED MOSCOW” by Fedya Ili.

Naked Cities

What does gay life look like in Moscow, or Berlin, or Tel Aviv?
‘Naked Cities’ is a series of books. Local guys and couples tell their stories in series of interviews, posing undressed at iconic city locations – revealing the soul and beauty of their personal connection.

Photo-project started in 2015 with ‘Naked Petersburg’ book – the first city in this series of Souls. There are five cities discovered at the moment.

 

NAKED MOSCOW

Zhenya (ig: evgtanned)

My current situation is very confusing. On one hand, I really need a change but on the other, I don’t know how to do it. I have no clear direction. I can already put a checkmark next to the important milestones – getting my own place, buying a car, getting a degree, finding a job – I am done with all of that. It is just a weird time for me.

…I would like to live somewhere by the beach. I do not like the climate here, among other things. I do not like Russian politics, nor do I admire the country’s current economic standing. That being said, I do not feel oppressed, at least not in Moscow (Iʼm not talking about Caucasus, where we get killed). Here, it is still tolerable. Of course, when people notice us, they begin to whisper and immediately make up stories. Even if
a political change was on the way, like a new president, I still don’t think that I would witness a paradigm shift. Not in my lifetime. The future does not look bright. That’s my personal view at the moment. But I can’t just move. I can’t quit and leave everything I’ve built behind.

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MODEL: Zhenya
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MODEL: Zhenya
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MODEL: Zhenya
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MODEL: Zhenya

 

Kostya (ig: kostyakazenny)

Yes, I was a student at the Moscow State University.

Generally, this society is becoming more conservative or rather, more orthodox. The government can’t or doesn’t want to “deal” with the gay community. It won’t engage in dialogue and tries to create laws in order to shield itself from the concerns and dislike of the people. They (the government) are not worried about you having sex with the same gender or getting married to it. They worry only about potential alliances being formed that could pose a political threat to their rule. That is why public demonstrations are not an option – we can’t stand united. The present political power is trying to preserve itself by eliminating the competition, including protest groups as well as the gay community. The lack of community is a special feature of Russian culture, unless it is an artificially cultivated community. That’s why our society is so underdeveloped and that’s why any self-formed community is impossible in Russia.

…Want to make God laugh – tell him about your plans. On one hand I can’t be without a job. On the other I would like to live by the beach. That is why my plans are to have a job that can travel with me. I would like to buy a house in a village somewhere. But with how things are today, I keep on coming to the same conclusion that the house should be on the Lenin-Prospect (Moscow City).

 

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MODEL: Kostya
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MODEL: Kostya

 

Egor (ig: goshadoesmore)

I want to finally start traveling but I am grounded by my work and by an obligation to myself to fulfill my dream. Until that happens, I can’t imagine how I could ever move. 

…Certainly, a person is not defined by their country of origin. On the contrary. People shape the country, the country does not shape people. If you know who you are and you are at peace with yourself, you will be comfortable anywhere on the planet.

…Deep inside I know that leaving has never been my dream. 

…I take life one day at a time and enjoy living in the moment. Presently,
I surround myself with people for entertainment and to avoid boredom. Of course, my heart longs for a loving partner, a family, etc. I would like to settle down and find a person with whom I can enjoy quiet moments, with whom I can feel at ease, who can be my best friend. But I know that until I am at peace with myself, I should not start my search for him. 

 

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MODEL: Egor
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MODEL: Egor
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MODEL: Egor

 

Anton and Vladimir (ig: krasiyanton, vskalinin)

Ever since I moved to Moscow 13 years ago, I never hid my sexual orientation. Neither in the office, nor on the street. I have been living next to my neighbors for about 8 years now. They are a young heterosexual couple and we are very good friends.

Should gay marriage be legalized in Russia? I don’t know what benefits that would bring. We are fine with how things are. We don’t necessarily need a stamp in our passports. I have no problem telling people that he is my husband without all the paperwork. As for the hospital, then I’ll just be alone. If we decide to have a child, we will just make that happen. A marriage certificate would simplify my life only in an administrative way and for legal purposes. It would not enforce any rules or protect our human rights.

…With gays, things are different. Today we have an amazing sex life. Four years from now, it vanishes. In five, we are just friends. So what’s the point? Throughout our whole lives, we would be getting married, then divorced, then married, then divorced.

Of course, we want marriage but that’s because we can’t have it. If we could, that would be another revolution in the history of Russia.

…Sometimes we can hold hands at the movies and make out. People stare, whisper something to one another or throw a dirty look at us. That’s their problem.

…Russia will get there when our generation will be about 70 years old, when people born during the time of the Soviet Union are gone.

My life’s philosophy is that I live here and now. We do have some short-term plans but starting something serious like buying an apartment, getting a dog or kids, that’s not our thing. We are just living and enjoying life.

 

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MODELS: Anton & Vladimir
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MODELS: Anton & Vladimir
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MODELS: Anton & Vladimir

 

PHOTOGRAPHER: Fedya Ili – ifedya.com/nakedcities