Victory Day, commemorating the Red Army’s triumph over Nazi Germany, offers an opportunity for Russia’s present-day leadership to demonstrate the country’s resurgent military might. For many World War II veterans, meanwhile, the day is a time for reflection – to take pride in their accomplishments and to appreciate their good fortune in having survived.
Freelance photographer Jonathan Alpeyrie has spent the past few years working on a documentary project, photographing Soviet veterans and recording their stories. There is a growing sense of urgency to his mission, as the number of World War II vets is fast dwindling. Some of the subjects of this photo essay, for example, have died recently.
Being part of the winning side in war did not guarantee veterans a lasting peace. Many of the veterans who agreed to be photographed by Alpeyrie ended up emigrating and resettling in New York City.
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Jonathan Alpeyrie is a freelance photojournalist based in New York.