05 The Danish Siddiqui Award 2023

Best feature photography on an international theme published in any medium

AWARD NAME: The Danish Siddiqui Award 2023
RECIPIENT: Nanna Heitmann
AFFILIATION: The New York Times
HONORED WORK: “Putin’s Forever War”

Nanna Heitmann’s unflinching coverage of the Russian side of the war in Ukraine unveils quiet moments from largely inaccessible places. Her stunning photographs tell the story of a society shrouded in nationalism and secrecy, showing unmarked graves in a snow-covered cemetery, a volleyball arena transformed into a refugee center, and the devotion displayed by young boys at a Communist Party youth event. Heitmann’s work captures the complexities of daily life under war, while delving into the historical legacy that helps sustain it.


Cadets in the Russian military who have just finished their studies are captured, fists clenched, in a state of fervid exaltation. Photo: Nanna Heitmann

A soldier on a recruitment billboard reading “Hero of the Great Country!” looks over young contestants in a Moscow fashion show. Russia is split: Life goes on in major cities as remote regions suffer the full impact of the war. Photo: Nanna Heitmann

A stark and wintry field of makeshift crosses near the Black Sea marks the graves of Wagner
mercenary forces killed in Ukraine. Photo: Nanna Heitmann

Russia’s war in Ukraine came home in the summer of 2023 as Ukrainian forces struck the western
Russian border town of Shebekino. Alena Moleva picked her way through a scene of random
devastation familiar to millions of Ukrainians. Photo: Nanna Heitmann

Russian boys pose in front of a bust of Stalin outside the Kremlin walls. Putin has rehabilitated Stalin as a symbol of Russian might and heroism. Photo: Nanna Heitmann

Conscripts injured in Ukraine gather at the Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces, told their wounds are part of a civilizational battle, just as in the “Great Patriotic War” against Nazism. Photo: Nanna Heitmann

On the centenary of the remote Russian Republic of Buryatia, where the war has had a devastating impact, a crowd at the Ulan-Ude Opera House honored Putin, framed by laser lights.“The role of conquerors of Nazism is played again by a new generation,” the governor of Buryatia, from Putin’s party, said, drawing a historical link between the conflicts. Photo: Nanna Heitmann

Hundreds of police officers and National Guard troops surround the Porokhovskoye Cemetery in St. Petersburg, where Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, the Wagner military boss turned mutineer, was buried six days after his plane fell from the sky, and two months after his brief uprising against Putin’s conduct of the war. Photo: Nanna Heitmann

Stunned and displaced Russians sit at a Belgorod volleyball arena transformed into a temporary refugee shelter. Photo: Nanna Heitmann

War in Chechnya helped propel Putin to power in 2000, fueling nationalism. Turpal Akhmurazev, born during that war, comforts his mother as he departs from Chechnya to the front in Ukraine. Photo: Nanna Heitmann

Volunteers from Chechnya, which a generation ago fought an unsuccessful war to secede from Russia, board an IL-76 transport plane in Grozny to fight in Ukraine, whose independence Putin refuses to accept. Monthly salaries of over $2,000 are a big draw. “The entire country is tangled in debt and money is the primary motivator,” said one former Wagner mercenary boarding the flight. Photo: Nanna Heitmann

Students listen to a lesson at Moscow’s “Victory Museum.” Photo: Nanna Heitmann


Citation for Excellence:
Hannah Reyes Morales
The New York Times
“Africa Youth”