Knives, guns and machetes. That’s not the shopping list of a serial killer, just a few of the things that Russians carry on the subway with them every day.
Photographer Oleg Ponomarev from The Calvert Journal took these X-ray pictures of the bags people carry during their commute on trains in St. Petersburg. There are plenty of normal things, like milk bottles and bread loaves. But there are plenty of weapons, too.
The author says his art project shows the paradox of the Russian security surveillance system. “There are more and more different means of state control and surveillance, from cameras on buildings to social media monitoring, which are meant to create order, but people still don’t feel safe, so they have to carry weapons,” he said.
The Calvert Journal is an online magazine about Russian art and design based in London.
This bag, found on a Saturday night in the Central district, contains an AKM Airsoft machine gun (it's like a paintball gun), a bag of pellets, and a can of Spam.
The pictures are taken from busy stations in St Petersburg that have a small x-ray machine to let police do random checks. This kitchen knife was found in Moskovsky district on a Tuesday morning.
The following captions describe when and where the weapons were found: Traumatic pistol (a type of gas-powered non-lethal self-defence weapon; model unknown), glasses, walkie talkie. Moskovsky district, Friday afternoon.
A bottle of beer, a bottle of milk, eggs, a sausage, three empty cans, two spoons, a fork, a knife, a water heater. Central district, Saturday night
A bowl, a plate, two spoons, a fork, phone charger, two glasses, a sausage. Central district, Saturday night.
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