Red Nostalgia is an ongoing documentary project in which Sebastian Hopp (b. 1989, Germany) photographed inhabitants of Georgia, a former Soviet country, who still feel a strong nostalgic affection towards their infamous former leader, Joseph Stalin. While the youth of Georgia have become more and more influenced by Western culture, the aging seniors raised in the Soviet era seem all the more attached to their Soviet roots.
Residual signs of devotion to Stalin can be found across the country, in monuments and movements, but it is the strongest in Gori, the city of Stalin’s birth. With the world’s largest Stalin Museum, gift shops that sell everything with his face on it and grocery stores that have his portrait on their outer façade, this city radiates a nostalgic adoration for the former leader and his regime.
Through his work, Hopp wanted to examine how it is possible for people in Georgia to accept the cruelty of Stalin’s regime and continue to raise their children following Communist traditions. In an effort to understand their worldview, he interviewed and photographed Georgians of all ages. By capturing their pride as expressed in symbolic colours, satisfied facial expressions and characteristic elements, he gives a deeper insight into how two generations and cultures can co-exist in a single nation, while diametrically opposed to the ideals of the other.