Last Love by Yaroslava Tarasova

A family of two elderly people is not something that is associated with a crazy reckless love, but it is a possibility not to be alone, something which gives meaning to one’s life.
Nikolai Konstantinovich Nikolaev (85) and Valentina Aleksandrovna Dildina (75) met in the private pension house “Peter’s mills” near Saint-Petersburg. They both are very angry at their relatives who had sent them to the pension house. Valentina Aleksandrovna suffers from amnesia, and she doesn`t remember her past and can barely walk. Nikolai Konstantinovich takes care and accompanies her everywhere. -She is very kind and I love her. This opportunity to take care of somebody when you are old and to feel that someone needs you helps me and gives my life a meaning.

A family of two elderly people is not something that is associated with a crazy reckless love, but it is a possibility not to be alone, something which gives meaning to one’s life.

An escape from loneliness is what matters for these couples more than just romantic feelings.

Main reasons to get married for the second time at the age over 50 is to have an opportunity to communicate, to take care of each other and to help with the housework as well as to improve the living conditions. It goes without saying that love between these people truly exists, but this is a type of love without any expectations such as to have children, without any long-term plans. Such kind of relations is not traditional in Russia, and very often they are judged by society and even their relatives and the children from their former families. Sometimes this judgement is what stops old people to have a new family, despite sociologists’ saying that relations between couples (transgender partnership) cannot be substituted by the relations with friends at all life stages.

Valentina Mikhailovna Kabanikhina (75) and Mikhail Nikolaevich Sinelnikov (66) met at the dance club for people over 50. – I has liked Michel at first sight, he is kind and caring, and unlike my ex-husband Michel is not at all jealous. Michael Nikolaevich writes poetry, and quite often he dedicates his poems to his spouse.

Olga Aleksandrovna Orlova (63) and Sergey Vladimirovich Petrov (65) met at a private pension for elderly people. They both had moved in there by their own will as they did not want to be a burden for their relatives who had had to take care of them. Almost all who come to the pension are physically impaired: they are unable to walk and speak. This is why the couple does not have many friends there, but they have a plenty of free time for talking, reading books and playing board games.

Galina Ivanovna Chunina (75) and Aleksei Alekseevich Gordienko (73) met in 1959 in the Russian city of Blagoveshchensk on the Far East. At that time they both were students of a geological technical school. In 1960 they moved to different towns, but managed to keep in touch. In 1967 Galina Ivanovna married another guy that is why they stopped writing letters to each other. 47 years later Galina Ivanovna contacted Aleksei Alekseevich at a social network. Not long after that he moved to Saint Petersburg to create a family with Galina Ivanovna. Aleksei Alekseevich came from Ukraine where he had been living with his son.

Genrikh Zacharovich Lubinskii (82) and Aleksandra Nikolaevna Zareckaya (70) – The chance that we should meet was one in a million. I think, this is a miracle that I have met a woman who was made exactly for me. We met at our acquaintance’s house. I visited her rather rarely, and Aleksandra Nikolaevna visited her only once, and it was the day when we met. I am very lucky as not everyone has a chance to meet a soulmate.

Nina Alekseevna Shumskaya (89) and Valentin Vlasovich Pautov (89) met when they were kids and lived in Turkmenistan but they didn’t communicate at that time. Later Nina Alekseevna became an opera singer, and Valentin Vlasovich became an drama actor. They met again when they were 69 y. o. and created a family.

Bravaya Lubov Borisovna (65) and Bravy Anatoly Alekseevitch (61) met 20 years ago. They had been working together at a plant. “As I started to work here, female colleagues asked me if I had husband or boyfriend and when I said no, predicted that I will definitely meet somebody at work. They didn’t mistake, I met Anatoly Alekseevitch, who worked at the plant as a security guard”, says Lubov Borisovna. After 20 years of relationships, the couple decided to marry officially. It was first marriage for Lubov Borisovna and second time for Anatoly Alekseevitch.

Ida Vasilevna Avksenteva (81) and Yury Ivanovich Nikiforov (77) met 14 years ago at Zelenogorsk, a small town close to Saint Petersburg, where Ida Vasilevna used to spend time with her ex-husband. She was sitting near a roadside cafe when Yury Ivanovich first saw her. Now the couple lives in the home for elderly people “The Red Star” near Zelenogorsk.

Elena Ivanovna Proshina (61) and Vladislav Viktorovich Nikulenko (69) met in the spring of 1973 on board of a suburban train which they both used to take every day to commute to Saint Peterburg for study and work reasons. Vladislav Viktorovich kept looking at Elena Ivanovna but was too shy to start talking to her. Elena Ivanovna, a young girl at that time, noticed that and decided to display an active attitude. After a few months of dating Vladislav Viktorovich had offered Elena Ivanovna to become his wife, and she promised him to think about it, but soon after that the couple had a quarrel and decided to break up. Next time they met was 20 years later. They got their marriage in secret from their relatives.

Sbitneva Alexandra Nikitichna (80) and Shutov Anatoly Andreevich (65) have created a family 14 years ago. They met in the gerontological center “Vishenki” in Smolensk. Anatoly Andreevich is invalid, he is a visually-challenged person. He had to move to the center after the death of his wife. Alexandra Nikitichna has moved to the center after her son’s death. The couple does not have any relatives who can visit them. They often take a walk around the gerontological center, but Anatoly Andreevich says that he has become less interested in walking when he lost his sight completely.

Natalia Iosefovna Alekseeva (66) and Anatoly Ivanovich Alekseev (76) met at a state boarding house for the retired and disabled. This is where they are now living. Natalia Iosifovna is blind from the age of 3, and Anatoly Ivanovich is hyposeeing. They both were brought to the boarding house against their will. Natalia Iosifovna moved there because her sister had refused to take care of the disabled relative, and Anatoly Ivanovich had been left homeless, and his son refused to give him money. They used to like to walk together in the nearest park, but now as Natalia Iosifovna is barely able to walk they almost never leave the territory of the boarding house.

Tatiana Nikolaevna Rodcevich (75) and Troshin Victor Sergeevich (78) have met at the concert organized by the School of the Third Age, an organization that works with pensioners and hosts eldery citizens clubs in Saint-Petersburg to provide the seniors with leisure activities. Tatiana Nikolaevna has loved playing the accordion and the piano since childhood. A few years ago she learned how to play the mandolin and the guitar. Victor Sergeevich shared Tatiana Nikolaevna’s interest in music playing and learned the guitar playing from her.

About Yaroslava Tarasova

Yaroslava Tarasova is a documentary photographer born in Riga, Latvia. She started learning photography after moving to Saint-Petersburg in 2009. She graduated from FotoDepartment Institute where she had taken the course of Documentary Photography and Photojournalism by Mikhail Domojilov in 2015. She took part in variety of master classes by major Russian and International photographers such as Jana Romanova, Oksana Yushko, Arthur Bondar, Mads Greve and Mads Nissen. In 2017 she was chosen to participate in The Eddie Adams Workshop, XXX in New York. She is mainly working on topics devoted to social prejudice and inequality. The works of Yaroslava Tarasova have won recognition by the public with publications in the major Russian media such as Lenta.ru, Echo Moscow, Bird in Flight, Openrussia, Russia beyond the headlines,Hojskolebladet.dk. [Official Website]

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