Support The Moscow Times!

Dagestan: Russia’s Wrestling Goldmine

In the fall of 2016 and winter of 2017, Moscow-based Dutch photographer Michiel Graafstal traveled to the North Caucasus to photograph the region’s wrestlers. “I wondered how it is that the sport is so big” in Dagestan, he told The Moscow Times

Graafstal says that gyms have had to turn newcomers away and many experienced wrestlers have left for Belarus and Uzbekistan where they have a better chance of competing internationally.

But, he said, Dagestan will continue to grow as a source of internationally successful wrestlers. “As long as they on keep winning, I think things will continue the way they are or even get bigger.”

Follow Michiel Graafstal on Instagram here.

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

The Moscow Times’ team of journalists has been first with the big stories on the coronavirus crisis in Russia since day one. Our exclusives and on-the-ground reporting are being read and shared by many high-profile journalists.

We wouldn’t be able to produce this crucial journalism without the support of our loyal readers. Please consider making a donation to The Moscow Times to help us continue covering this historic time in the world’s largest country.