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«It's funny and nice». The websites of Ukrainian photographers have been blocked in Russia: Mstislav Chernov, Olena Grom and Sasha Maslov

The web resources of three Ukrainian documentary filmmakers, members of the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers, have been blocked in Russia with all domains and subdomains. This is reported by "Detector Media" with reference to the Russian resource "Roskomsvoboda".

"The websites of three well-known Ukrainian authors appeared in the register of prohibited information by the decision of an "unspecified state body". Most likely, this was done for reasons of military censorship," the statement said.

The Russian register of banned information includes the web resources of three Ukrainian documentary filmmakers: the website of Mstislav Chernov, director of the film 20 Days in Mariupol and founder of the UAPF; the website of documentary filmmaker Olena Hrom; and the website of Ukrainian-American author Sasha Maslov.

Sasha Maslov actively covers the Russian-Ukrainian war, and his photos are published in the world media. The photographer says that the news about the blocking of Ukrainian photographers' web resources in Russia has caused him a positive reaction: "It's a bit funny, of course. On the other hand, it's even nice. But it's a rather strange recognition. If they are already bothering themselves with such things, it means that they are not doing well in their house. It's really a bit ridiculous to hold a trial, read out names and ban websites."

Olena Grom, who also actively records the consequences of Russian aggression, emphasizes that truth is the weapon of the winners, as Russia invests huge amounts of money in its propaganda of war against Ukraine. "Ukrainian documentary and reportage photography is standing up to powerful Russian propaganda. Documentary photography is more than just a visual medium. It is a powerful tool for telling stories, conveying emotions, and raising awareness. With the help of photography, I show the face of this war, tell the stories and realities of people affected by the war. This evokes empathy and compassion in everyone who is able to feel. Russia, on the other hand, is trying to dehumanize the Ukrainian people so that their population will no longer feel empathy for Ukrainians. It makes it easier for them to kill us. I have been working with the topic of the war in Ukraine since 2016. My website has published documentary projects about Bucha, Maryinka, Donbas, children of war, and victims of Russian aggression. Now Russia has blocked access to my website for Russian users. For me, this is the best recognition that my work is very important in the fight against Russian propaganda," says Olena Hrom.

Olena also says that her website has been subject to DDoS attacks before. In 2022, she created the project "Learning Tools" about children living in the de-occupied towns and villages of Kyiv region. At the time, she took photos of schoolchildren against the backdrop of destroyed educational institutions, and every time she posted the photos on social media, someone tried to take her website down. "This went on for a month. For me, it served as a marker that I was moving in the right direction," says Olena Grom.

Earlier, the website of the international organization Reporters Without Borders, the OSINT-Bees project, and the domain of the I Want to Live project were also blocked.



Mstyslav Chernov is a Ukrainian documentary filmmaker, photojournalist, director, war correspondent, writer, and founder of the Ukrainian Association of Professional Photographers. He covered the Revolution of Dignity, the war in eastern Ukraine, the aftermath of the downing of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, the Syrian civil war, the battles of Mosul in Iraq, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, including the battles in besieged Mariupol. He shot footage there that later became the movie 20 Days in Mariupol. The American Film Academy awarded Chernov and his team the first Oscar in the history of Ukraine. He is also the recipient of the Shevchenko Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the Directors Guild Award, and the BAFTA Award.

Olena Grom was born in Donetsk. Since 2015, she has studied at Bird In Flight photo school, Victor Marushchenko photo school, and art business school. Olena works at the intersection of social reporting and conceptual photography. Grom sees her "mission" in covering the lives of people who find themselves in the "gray zone" or the area close to military operations. Life against all odds is one of the main themes of the artist. The author is a laureate and winner of international competitions. She is a finalist of LensCulture Portrait Awards UK, YICCA International Contest of Contemporary Art, Kaunas Photo Star Lithuania, Slovak Press Photo, The Tokyo International Photo Awards. She has exhibited in Europe, the USA, Japan, and Colombia.

Sasha Maslov was born in Kharkiv. He lives and works in New York. His work has been presented at various venues in Europe and the United States. He collaborates with well-known publications, including The New Yorker, Guardian, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Forbes, and others. In his spare time, he works on his personal projects, the largest of which is the Veterans project, for which he has traveled to more than 20 countries in 5 years.


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