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Stalin’s Pipe

Samuel Schalch

Policies concerning borders are changing in many European countries. Triggered by waves of refugees, some countries re-erect fences. In the process, borders between countries become laden again with nationalistic, ideological and geopolitical connotations.

This is also the case in the Lithuanian region of Šalčininkai, at the edge of Europe, on the national border with Belarus, which is at the same time the outer border of the EU and the Schengen Area. Much has changed in the decades since the end of Soviet era, in which borders between the former Union states were insignificant. The border has been continuously shored up and partly buttressed with fences. Entire villages were split in two and families were separated.

So how do people live in border regions? In search of stories, Samuel Schalch travelled to the edge of Eastern Europe. Through photos and videos he approaches the feeling of being cut off. The images not only offer a view to Post-Soviet life at one of the outer borders of Europe, but give pause for thought on national borders in general. In this project, the region of Šalčininkai represents borders around the globe.

Abandoned building in the Belarusian village of Kulkishki.
Old border crossing near Ureliai.
Stanislav Alenzynovich from Norviliškės.
Barn in Daulėnai.
Stalins' Pipe
Juozas Alukauskas from Dieveniškes.
Stase and Vitas Staniulis at their wedding in 1975.
Cementery in Norviliškės.

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