About the competition

The photo contest of the Russian Geographical Society was first held in 2015. It immediately set out to become the largest Russian wildlife photography contest. In the first year, 25 thousand participants sent about 200 thousand pictures. And in eight years, the number of photos sent has increased to 622 thousand.

Any person can become a participant of the competition, regardless of place of residence, citizenship and age.

The only condition is that the photographs must be taken in Russia.

8 contests,
since 2015
94 000 participants
622 000 photographs
Prize fund of more than 2 500 000 rubles for each competition
Sergei Garmash
Theater and film actor, director, member of the Jury of "The Most Beautiful Country"
When you look at the wings of a butterfly or the shell of a sea urchin, you want to believe that this fantastic symmetry was created not by evolution, but by some higher power. But when you observe this harmony in action – a round dance of deer or whales – you want to believe in this higher power even more. There were works at the competition that could hardly be called photography. They are more like painting.
Marco Urso
Italian wildlife photographer, a member of the Jury of "The Most Beautiful Country"
I envy the contest participants. Russian nature has given them an incredible variety of stories and subjects. One special skill is to convey emotions and culture pattern through the photographs. If the author succeeds, then his work goes beyond the boundaries of everyday life and turns into art.

Categories and special prizes


1 Landscape

2 Wild Animals

3 Birds

4 Elemental Magic

5 Russia from a Bird's Eye View

6 Faces of Russia

7 Live Archive

8 Art of Wildlife (fine-art photography)

9 Macroworld

10 Taken on a Smartphone

The main prize in each of the categories is

In each category, not only the winners will be determined, but also the holders of the 2nd and 3rd places.

Special prizes

1 People’s Choice Award

2 Reserved Russia

3 Men of Action

People’s Choice Award –
a gift set from the RGS
"Reserved Russia" –
100 000

"Men of Action" –
a special gift from a partner

Stages of the contest

Acceptance of works
Evaluation and determination of finalists
Online Voting for the People’s Choice Award
Jury Meeting. Determining the Winners

How to participate in the competition

  1. Register on the website photo.rgo.ru or enter your personal account under an existing login.
  2. Go through SMS authorization process.
  3. Upload photos to the site. No more than 25 works.
  4. In your personal account, keep track of how the experts evaluated your works, whether they pass to the semifinals and finals.
  5. It should be pointed out that everyone, regardless of age and place of residence, can participate in the competition. The only condition is that all photographs must be taken in Russia.

How we evaluate works

We tried to make the assessment of the participants' works as simple and transparent as possible
  • At the first stage, the photographs are evaluated by the members of the Expert Commission – these are 14 professional, reputable photographers and photo editors.
Alexander Tyagny-Ryadno
Photographer, honorary member of the Union of Photographers of Russia, member of the Union of Journalists of Russia and the International Association of Art of UNESCO. More than 60 solo exhibitions around the world.
Sergei Semenov
CEO and chief photographer of the world-famous project AirPano. Photojournalist of the National Photo Archive “GeoFoto”, member of the Union of Wildlife Photographers, member of the Union of Photographers of Russia. Winner and laureate of Russian and international photo contests.
Dmitry Pitenin
Landscape and art photographer, co-founder and head of Nature Photo Team, curator and organizer of exhibitions. Member of the Creative Union Of Artists Of Russia, the Union Of Photographers Of Russia, the Union Of Wildlife Photographers, the Russian Geographical Society. Finalist of all-Russian and international competitions.
The full list of the Expert Commission
  • Each work is evaluated by at least three experts on a 5-point scale.
  • Works with an average score of 4+ go to the semifinals.
  • 10 finalists in each category are selected from among the semifinalists at the in-person meeting of the Expert Commission.
  • The experts do not know the authors of the works. This ensures an impartial assessment.

This is what the in-person meeting of the Expert Commission of the competition looks like.

Follow the progress of the competition
in your personal account

In your personal account, you will be able to watch the progress of your work along the "roadmap" of the competition from the moment of uploading images to the announcement of the winners:
  • You will receive an electronic participant certificate , as soon as the first uploaded photo passes pre-moderation for compliance with the terms of the competition.
  • You will receive a notification and an electronic certificate of a semi-finalist , if the experts rate your work 4+
  • You will receive an electronic certificate of the finalist, as soon as the Expert Commission decides on the 10 best (in their opinion) photos in each category.

Why do we have such an unusual Jury?

The democratic nature of the competition also implies a special approach to the formation of the Jury. In addition to famous photographers, the finalists' works are evaluated by people from other fields of art – film directors, actors, art historians who have their own views on the artistic value of photographs.
Sergei Shoigu
President of the Russian Geographical Society
Among the landscapes and climate zones of Russia, everyone can find those places that are close to their heart. For example, I especially like the wild, untrodden corners of Siberia, where, alone with the pristine nature, you experience a sense of freedom and harmony, where there is no fuss and you can breathe deeply.
Sergei Gorshkov
Photographer of the Year according to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Award – 2020.
Russia is a huge and beautiful country. Our strength lies in traveling around Russia, filming and showing the diversity of its nature and architecture, cultural peculiarities of the life of different peoples. No one, but we ourselves, can show the beauty of our country.
At the meeting of the Jury, each participant selects three best pictures in each category. The votes are summed up. The works with the most votes win.

Photo album "The Most Beautiful Country"

All works of the finalists are published in a colorful photo album. A finalist receives the album for free. Any participant in the competition can buy it at the online store of the Russian Geographical Society.
In addition, the photographs of the finalists and winners are exhibited in Russia and around the world.

Regulations on the IX Photo Contest of the Russian Geographical Society
"The Most Beautiful Country"

Frequently Asked Questions

How to contact us

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