Soviet Ghosts: photographing the abandoned USSR

Abandoned soviet 10 Photographer Rebecca Litchfield's gorgeous and haunting photo series and book, Soviet Ghosts: A Communist Empire in Decay, documents abandoned towns, factories, prisons, hospitals, theaters, and military bases in the Soviet Union and former Eastern Bloc.


Whilst some may look at the decay in these places as simply reflecting the destruction of the Soviet Union and the moral bankruptcy of a flawed ideological system. In reality they will cease to exist very soon and as the memories fade, these places and the communities who once gave life will be forgotten and deserve to be recorded for posterity too. This book documents the strange interval caught between modernity and antiquity.

Abandoned soviet 00

Abandoned soviet 05

(via Huh)

Notable Replies

  1. Why did they just abandon all this stuff? It’s not as if the people all died or turned into zombies or something, they still need locomotives and auditoriums and hospital rooms. At the very least you’d think it would be sold for scrap.

  2. You've been to Detroit?

  3. Well, 1) a lot of these buildings were very shoddily constructed and even used hazardous materials in their construction. For example, East Germany's parliament ( Palast der Republik) was going to be remodeled but they discovered that it was too contaminated with asbestos to save; they ended up tearing it down (and are in the process of building a replica of a royal palace on the site). 2) Some of these buildings were in out of the way places that didn't really need them but getting a a fancy auditorium was the way that the Party leader of Outer Pigsty Village showed he had power (not unlike university administrators in the West).

  4. Cunk says:

    Article title appears to be wrong. These are obviously concept art for the next S.T.A.L.K.E.R. game.

  5. I've lived there (the Eastern Bloc). It was not so bad.

    The architecture was greyish, the material goods were more scarce, but the people had more time to spend together. These days, everybody is working their donkey off and paying a mortgage and afraid of losing job. Not worth the shinier houses.

Continue the discussion

23 more replies