Friday, 3 June 2011

Abandoned Wonders of the USSR

The USSR has ceased to exist but its monuments still haunt the minds of millions. There are hundreds and thousands of artifacts reminding of the intense construction of the “bright future” which never arrived. So let’s take a closer look at the seven most interesting “wonders” of the USSR, all abandoned and left to the mercy of fate.

1. The infamous mining town of Promyshlenny (“Industrial”) located 26 km far from Vorkuta.

More than 10 thousand people once lived and worked here. In the early 90's, when the era of socialism ended and the time of savage capitalism came, the mine suddenly became unprofitable, and the town turned out to be 100% subsidized. When the water, electricity and gas supply was cut off, its residents were forced to abandon their homes and start new life in neighboring towns from scratch.

2. Abandoned Soviet construction areas are a separate and very broad topic for research. To be short, no any other country in the world has such a huge amount of money and man-hours wasted. Thousands of unfinished buildings, almost ready for use, rise above the huge territory of the former Soviet Union, serving as a silent reproach to people who were able to destroy and unable to finish building.

3. Abandoned bunkers along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean.
A complex of abandoned fortifications designed to protect against possible attacks of Japan is located not far from Vladivostok. A strong reinforced concrete fort made of thick slabs and underground tunnels which stretch for miles along the coast, once made Vladivostok an impregnable from the sea fortress. Today, it’s just an interesting place for tourists.

4. Only in the former Soviet Union this could be allowed – the incredibly expensive equipment of industrial and defense areas were left to the mercy of fate. In Russia, it’s quite common thing. One can still find abandoned giant radar antennas costing millions of dollars and other unique pieces of bygone technological power.

5. An abandoned missile complex in Latvia also turned out to be useless after the breakup of the USSR. The nuclear disarmament race did its job. Four abandoned bunkers, a central control room and a technical support bunker – all this is now abandoned and partially occupied by tourists. But maybe it’s for the better…

6. Legendary Balaclava is once a secret but now abandoned submarine base on the Crimean coast near Sevastopol. Even relatives who worked on this secret facility were forbidden to visit their families without a special permission from the government. Currently, all submarines are cut up for scrap, but the base has remained remarkably intact and is very popular among foreign tourists.

7. An abandoned Gulag camp in Siberia.
There was a time when political prisoners were kept in these wooden barracks but now they all are rotting and only wild animals drop in there sometimes. So let them rot on. We hope they will never be needed again.

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