The Most Beautiful Country Photo Contest

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“The Most Beautiful Country” is an annual event, a large-scale media project of the Russian Geographical Society aimed at preserving the nature of Russia and promoting an attitude of care towards the environment. It was first held in 2015. 

There are neither age nor location limits to enter the contest. The main condition is that photos submitted to the contest should have been taken in the territory of Russia.

More than 500,000 images have been uploaded to the website of the contest at photo.rgo.ru for 6 years of its existing. 

The selection of images is conducted in several stages.  At the first stage works are checked to comply with requirements and rules of the contest. Then on the website of the contest they are reviewed by independent experts, including professional photographers and heads of photo services of the Russian leading news agencies. The pictures that have a score of 4-5 are through to the semi-finals. Then at a meeting at the Society HQ, each expert selects 10 best photos in each category. The photographs with the highest number of votes go to the finals. The winners are selected by the jury.

The works are evaluated and selected anonymously: neither experts nor jury members see names of their authors. 

“Such contests provide an opportunity to make more and more discoveries, and even those people who often travel through the country and have seen quite a lot can understand once again that there is no such beautiful country as Russia”, said Sergey Shoygu, the president of the Russian Geographical Society.

VII photo contest of the RGS "The Most Beautiful Country"

The acceptance of works for the VII photo competition of the Russian Geographical Society "The Most Beautiful Country" took place on the website photo.rgo.ru from December 14, 2020 to April 5, 2021. Its main innovation is that for the first time it was possible to submit not only photographs to the competition, but also videos (up to three minutes) telling about how a particular photo was taken. A special "Behind the Scenes" prize has been established for the best video.

In 2021, the participants of “The Most Beautiful Country” will compete in ten categories: “Landscape”, “Wild Animals”, “Those Funny Animals”, “Russia from a Bird's Eye View”, “Many Faces of Russia”, “Taken on a Smartphone”, “Photo Project”, “Art of Wildlife (fine-art photography)”, “Live Archive” and “Magic of Water”.

Also, four special prizes have been established: "Behind the Scenes", "Reserved Russia", "Russia in the Face of the Older Generation" and "People's Choice Award". The winner of "People's Choice Award" is determined by open voting on the website of the photo competition from among the finalists of the competition in all categories.

An expert commission of 17 professional photographers and photo editors has selected 10 finalists in each category. Then, during May 2021, a meeting of the competition jury was held, where the winners were determined.