Tanya Arkhipova: “I like how Putin treats his children and wife, I think he’s a great husband. He made people respect Russia.”
Fan Club Putin
In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin was named TIME magazine’s Person of the Year. As then Managing Editor Richard Stengel sat down to pen the now-famous article and photographer Platon shot the austere, unsmiling cover portrait, another photographer, Hungarian-born Bela Doka, was documenting the Russian youngsters who were most touched by the quickly spreading global phenomenon surrounding their president. That same year, Doka unearthed a community of adolescents and young adults known as the Putin Fan Club, a group of more than a thousand individuals who venerated the Russian president to the point where he beat out pop stars and even religious figures for a place in their innermost hearts.