The Lost Towns of Russia

Ransom Riggs

Photographers in the former Soviet Union seem to really enjoy taking pictures of abandoned buildings, and that's a lucky thing, considering how many of them they have. Photographer Uryevich explains the situation this way: "Most abandoned buildings, plants and areas appeared in the Soviet Russia ('70-'80) because they belonged to the "state" (meaning nobody) and afterwards ('90) as a result of the economic crisis." Let's take a look at some of their work (absolutely the envy of wannabe urban explorers like myself), starting with this abandoned cement factory near Moscow (at right and below, photos by Uryevich). Update: for those who missed it, last year I did a post on the 50-km "Exclusion Zone" surrounding Chernobyl; very creepy stuff.

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Contemplating a frightening hole in the floor. (I'm glad they wore breathing masks.)

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These are from the always-interesting (if not always grammatical) EnglishRussia, who offers this as socio-political explanation:

When the Soviet Union collapsed, government didn't have much funds to support some small cities around strategically important objects. People of these cities were left all by themselves. Nobody could support them because any communication with this places terminated after the army decided that they now don't have money to support those objects. People had to leave their places and move. Some were lucky to find their place under a sun of the Army of new Russian Federation, some less fortunate had to leave such places without any hope to find a new home, just because the shops stopped working, water stopped coming out of the faucet and nobody cared about them any more.

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