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 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.

VIII Photo Contest "The Most Beautiful Country"

From December 27, 2021 to April 10, 2022 the Russian Geographical Society accepts works for the VIII photo contest of the Russian Geographical Society "The Most Beautiful Country" on the website

At the VIII RGS Photo Contest "The Most Beautiful Country" works are accepted in ten categories: "Landscape", "Wild Animals", "Birds", "Russia from a Bird's Eye View", "Art of Wildlife (fine-art photography)", "Faces of Russia", "Macroworld", "Underwater World", "Live Archive", and "Elemental Magic".

The new category "Elemental Magic" was the creative development of last year's "Magic of Water". Here compete the photographers who have captured all the variety of natural phenomena: storms and thunderstorms, blizzards and avalanches, hurricanes and floods. The presence of people or animals in the shot is allowed, but not as the main subject of photography.

Also three special prizes established:

"Behind the Scenes" – the prize for the best short video telling the story of the creation of a particular photograph. Videos about the nature of the places where the photographer was shooting can also be submitted.

"People's Choice Award" – the winner will be chosen on the Internet through an open vote.

"Reserved Russia" – a prize from the partner of the competition VTB Bank. It will be awarded to the author of the best shot taken in specially protected natural areas.

For the fourth year in a row, within the framework of the competition, the Russian Geographical Society is holding a separate competition for photographers under 16 years old "The Most Beautiful Country through the Eyes of Children". Young authors can submit works in four categories: "Landscape", "Animal World", "The World from a Bird's Eye View", and "Natural Phenomena".

The Expert Commission of 15 professional photographers and photo editors will select ten finalists in each category. Then, during May-June 2022, a meeting of the competition Jury will be held to determine the winners.

The main award in each category of the main competition is 250 thousand rubles. Holders of special prizes will receive 100 thousand rubles. And the winners of "The Most Beautiful Country through the Eyes of Children" will receive a quadcopter. The works of the finalists will take part in exhibitions in Russia and around the world.

Regulations of the Photo Contest