The Soviet Union Abandoned, A Communist Empire in Decay

Struck by the extent of abandonment in the former Soviet Union and its satellite states in the former Eastern Bloc, photographer Rebecca Litchfield sensitively and beautifully records many abandoned location's within 13 countries, which were either part of the Soviet Union or occupied, such as forgotten towns, factories, prisons, schools, monuments, hospitals, theatres, military complexes, asylums & death camps across the former communist states.

Unseen to ordinary people who pass their boarded windows and fenced walls, the no trespass signs refrain society from seeing the hidden world behind closed doors. These locations are imbued with a wealth of meaning and wonder and a history of their own. There is considerable aesthetic beauty in things decayed and the objects that remain, but will soon disappear forever.

The former USSR was once a thriving place, but with the fall of a Communist empire places lie derelict, uninhabited, broken shells of a forgotten time. The collapse of The Soviet Union, after almost a century left haunting memorials of the ordinary people who once lived and worked there. Rebecca’s work shines a light on a society shrouded by the cold war, offering a unique and touching document of the daily lives of the Soviet people.

Her photographs breath life into these forgotten historical locations and the ideologies that built them, reawakens old narratives, finds beauty and meaning in their decay and revives the memories ingrained in the detritus of a collapsed regime.

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 memory of the former Soviet Union begins to fade, these places and the communities who once gave them life will be forgotten and deserve to be recorded for posterity too, before they too are lost as time rolls inexorably on.

Although these derelict places have no appeal as tourist destinations, their value and place in cultural memory is fundamental to the history of the 20th Century. There is very little difference between historical iconic world sites, which attract tourism, and the abandoned places known to so few. They tell a story of a long and interesting past like artefacts in a museum, he buildings and extant objects within are beautiful exhibits and memories of what once existed. This book documents the strange interval caught between modernity and antiquity.

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