Photographer Dan Kitwood recalls joining election staff to collect votes from the elderly residents of Bakhchysarai, 30km south west of Crimea’s Capital.
On 16th March I joined election/referendum staff to collect votes from the elderly and infirm residents of a housing estate in Bakhchysarai, about 30km south west of Simferopol, the Capital of Crimea.
Bakhchysarai is predominantly a region of Muslim Tatar, who account for around 12 percent of the population as a whole within the Crimean peninsula. The community is very much opposed to Russian annexation, and largely boycotted the March 16th referendum. Within that community though there are still many older generation Russians living peacefully with their Muslim neighbors.
We were to visit around 20 residents spread out over several of the six story blocks of flats. Accompanying us were two election officials and a police officer to monitor proceedings.
As we winded our way through the courtyards and alleyways, children played in pot holes in the road, elderly residents shuffled through rubbish skips looking for anything useful. Fireworks exploded setting off the car alarms and stray cats ran through the alleyways between the blocks or sat lazily in the winter sunshine.