Photographer Irina Kalashnikova visited North Korea in the summers of 2008 and 2009, accompanying Glyn Ford, a former British Member of the European Parliament, and part of their foreign policy delegation responsible for relations with North Korea. She writes:
Almost every aspect of life in North Korea is suffused with politics, and with the efforts by the authorities to encourage a cult of hero worship around the republic’s founder, Kim Il-Sung, and the current ruler, his son, Kim Jong-il. In the place of advertising hoardings that you find in most cities are billboards showing the faces of father and son, along with slogans telling the citizens of one of the poorest countries on earth that they are living in a worker’s paradise. Pictures of both men are inside every office, shop and school.
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CAPTION: PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA - AUGUST 2008: A scene at Kim Jong Suk Nursery in Pyongyang, named after Kim Il-Sung’s first wife who died during childbirth in 1949. On the wall is a picture of Kim Il-Sung. (Photo by Irina Kalashnikova/Reportage by Getty Images)