Russian Ghost Towns

Russia is a pretty big place. Even with their population of about 140 million, they still can’t fill the 17,0175,400 km2 of land they have.

The Ghost City of Stepnogorsk

And after looking at some recent posts on English Russia, it looks like they can’t even keep previously constructed buildings and cities occupied.

It’s odd to see subway stations, college campuses and even entire towns where the population just picked up and left. It kind of says something about the stark differences between American and Russian cultures.

An abandoned Russian institute

In the U.S., there seems to be the ideology of tearing down and rebuilding. We won’t be hearing news of plans to tear down iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building anytime soon, but as for those generic buildings from the ’60s or ’70s? No such luck for them.

Of course, in some cases, it’s a smart idea to leave. Who would want to stick around Chernobyl? Now, it’s only purpose is as the setting for video games.

And in terms of abandoning cities due to man-made disasters, it’s not exactly a uniquely Russian phenomenon. Back in the ‘60s, residents of the Pennsylvanian town of Centralia picked up and left after a fire was ignited in the mine underneath the town.

A few years back, the Web Urbanist posted a blog listing the seven abandoned wonders of the former Soviet Union. Their list was pretty diverse — they covered abandoned buildings, submarine bases, prison complexes, missile silos and military bunkers.

It’s one thing to see random abandoned buildings and such, but fairly surprising to see so many government related buildings on the list.

I guess we should cut the Russian people some slack, though. I’m sure they had more important things to deal with in the early ’90s, other than tearing down unused buildings and complexes from the Soviet era.. You know, like forming a government.

Abandoned Moscow metro line