Photographer Lucian Perkins has covered Russia and the former Soviet Union on and off for the past 20 years. He first traveled to Moscow for the Washington Post in 1988 to cover the historic summit meeting between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Perkins returned for a six-month stay in 1993. "It was like visiting two different countries," he recalls.
Perkins' photos are a window into the major political events of the time, such as the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis and Boris Yeltsin's 1996 presidential campaign, but they also illuminate the new spirit of freedom experienced by the Russian people -- a spirit that manifested itself it raunchy nightclubs and wild rock shows as well as prayer revivals and political rallies.
"For the young people it was a time of excitement and hope and the possibility of a new way of life," Perkins remembers. But his camera also captures the fear and uncertainty of Russia's older generation, who had been promised a lifetime of security under communism and now had "a lot more to lose" than their children and grandchildren.
Perkins recalls it as a great time to be a journalist. "In the early '90s, it was easier to cover things in Russia than it was [in the United States]," he says. "It was totally open, people welcomed you with open arms. It was amazing what you could get into and what you could cover. Today, that's changed quite dramatically."
Above, a lone communist protester walks through debris left behind after a bloody confrontation with police in Moscow. (1993)