Inexistent people [by Misha Vallejo]

St. Petersburg, Russia.

Walking through the streets, we do not notice, or pretend not to notice them... We try not to look at them, closing our eyes as if they do not exist. They try to spend more time not getting out of their refugees. And the saddest part, is that for all it’s easier this way.

These people live on the streets, abandoned buildings or basements of St. Petersburg and the majority of them do not have documents, to prove their existence. They cannot officially work, get any kind of education or receive any doles. For the Russian government they formally do not exist, but, as they say, federal and local administration officials commonly use them as scapegoats. They are usually charged with such crimes as wallet, mobile phones and TV robbery, narcotics distribution and others.

Looking the truth in the eye, they have many problems: alcoholism, toxicomania, drug addiction, etc. But their most important addiction is the addiction to this way of life, which gives them the feeling of true freedom. And that is why they cannot, they don’t want to, and will not change anything. But even if they did, a long way is waiting for them to prove their right to exist, because in Russia there are no state or private programs to help them start a new life.

Everyone has his own story of coming to such a life and for most of them it’s because of parental violence, loss of loved ones and escape from orphanages. But it’s worthless to focus on why, it’s much more important to pay attention to the situation today, to make efforts to create programs in charge of these problems.

This series of photographs should serve as a proof for everybody of their existence in the present days.