Underground | 2017


It doesn’t matter when and where there is a war. What matters is that there are no winner in any. Through the smoke of the missiles and fires it is difficult to see the civilians, their destinies and their tragedies.
This is the story of people who happened to be in the centre of a military conflict. In the centre of the war chaos, of the tragedy which can come to any house at any time. Despite all the horrors of the war, people stay humans and struggle for their lives every day even though each moment can become their last one. Valentina Borodina is one of the last inhabitants of a demolished village in Donbass. The village Shakhti 6/7 is situated on the battle line and has been under constant firing since the beginning of the war conflict. With the onset of the nighttime the fragile silence is torn apart with the salvos and missiles’ explosions. Valentina and some of the other natives have been living in the basement of a destroyed school for more than two years. Many years ago they were taught how to read and to write in that building and now they are hiding from death there.


Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by C.O.C.A.


Valery Melnikov

Russian Federation


Born in Nevinnomyssk, Valery Melnikov studied journalism in Stavropol, Russia. His photographic career began when he started to work for The North Caucasus newspaper. For ten years he was a staff photographer for Kommersant publishing house and since 2009 for international news agency Rossiya Segodnya. He has dedicated himself to documenting the political and social life of societies in conflict. Valery’s professional biography includes coverage of Chechen war, conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia, Lebanese war in 2006, uprising of Mali Republic, Syrian civil war. In 2014, Valery began documenting war in Eastern Ukraine. This work continues in his current ongoing project,


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