Venera Shakirova
I am a content creator from Russia, now based in Munich, Germany.
I'm all about social issues, science popularisation and people’s everyday life.

For many years, I have enjoyed noticing intriguing details and capturing them on video or in photos using my smartphone. However, six months ago I managed to purchase a DSLR camera and took a course on Coursera from the University of Michigan, and this hobby has now reached a new level. Here are my creative experiments.


Alexey Navalny, the most influential politician of Russia’s opposition, passed away under suspicious circumstances on February 16, while in custody at a prison located in the Yamalo-Nenets region, situated approximately 1,200 miles northeast of Moscow. His death is a tragedy, and not only for his family and like-minded people in Russia, but also for many hopers and dreamers all around the world, unconsciously believing in Navalny as a superhero who’d survived numerous other attempts of Putin to hurt or kill him.

People worldwide gathered at memorials, Russian embassies and other Russia-related places to process the loss, talk, cry, and support each other. At that moment we didn't even know if his body would be released to his mother, we weren't even sureif all that nightmare was even real.

Here's how it happened in Munich.


Istanbul is a cultural and economic hub, it's a bridge between Europe and Asia. It's one of the largest cities in the world, it's a very popular touristic place that somehow stays unique. As a Tatar, a representative of turkic people in Russia, I see so many relatable things there, but people here seem much freer than mine. Turkey looks like a dreamland to me, where turkic people managed to avoid colonisation and remarkably preserved their culture and language.

I know this country has its problems, and, unlike other touristic places in Europe I've visited, Istanbul doesn't even care to hide that. It's very forgiving to my people who come here first after escaping the regime in Russia, and that's making me more forgiving and open-minded towards Turkey too. I empathise with the struggles of Turkish people and I receive such unconditional acceptance here as well.

A couple of months ago I came to Istanbul to meet my friends from Russia who now live all over the world. My husband and I took some time to walk, breathe, watch and listen to Istanbul, and now I invite you to see what I saw.


As a hobby, in collaboration with experts I create explanatory illustrations on various life spheres, such as the biology, physics, and chemistry of natural processes, and social processes from the perspectives of political science and economics.

For example, when I realised that a lot of my acquaintances and friends held numerous misconceptions about cancer and its treatment methods, I collaborated with a doctor, a microbiologist, and a geneticist to create this series of illustrations.


Sometimes I create illustrations of this sort on important social issues, for instance, how the meaning of International Women's Day has been distorted in the post-Soviet area , transforming into a "day of love, beauty, and tenderness." Now, women in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and other post-Soviet countries receive bouquets and wishes to remain "beautiful and tender."

I addressed this irony by depicting bouquets with key feminist theses. This post went viral on my small blog, reaching around a million views and over 1,000 likes: women, tired of the absurd interpretation of the holiday, rushed to express the importance of remembering the true meaning of International Women's Day and the history of feminism, and shared these illustrations on social media.


In the beginning of the Pandemic I was shocked at how many people treated the dangers of COVID-19 carelessly. Every time I discussed it with people, I was devastated by lack of knowledge on basic biology and a wide spread of false information.

I collaborated with an infectious disease specialist, a microbiologist, and a haematologist to create a video and an article exploring COVID and the basics of vaccination. Later in 2020, we participated in the annual contest organised by Biomolecula, a Russian-speaking project dedicated to science popularisation.
This video was also shown in school biology classes and even to med students.

As long as the article was written in Russian, I've made a translation for you to grasp the idea.