Monday, October 1, 2018

Half Abandoned Villages Show What Russia is Becoming, Maltsev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 30 – Most Russians live in cities, ranging from the megalopolis of Moscow to oblast centers and company towns, but there is “a fourth Russia,” the Russia of the villages that is “little different from the countries of ‘the third world’ and shows what the country has become, Vladimir Maltsev says.

            “To the dying little towns of Tver Oblast and the half-abandoned villages of Vologda, no one goes,” he says. “There is no reason to [except] that only by doing so can one understand what our (their) country is becoming,” the blogger says ( reposted at

                These places show that Russia is “like a termite-infested house – everything is beautiful from the outside; but inside is decay and rot … an entirely different world” where almost all the comforts, goods or even values many in the big cities assume are normal don’t exist except by the accidental arrival of outsiders.

            There are no roads, only paths, and people use horses or tractors, not cars – and what vehicles exist are as old as the grandparents one sees.  And for the residents, those who visit from the outside – and such people are rare enough – look like “extraterrestrials well-dressed, sober, in big cars and smiling.” In this other Russia, “there aren’t any people like that.”

            All the houses are collapsing, and there is trash everywhere, trash that the residents do not even bother to take very far from their doorways, Maltsev says.  People say “Stalin took the country with a plow and left it with an atom bomb.” But here people still have the plow, and that “bomb” lies under the country, the bomb of “complete degradation.”

            There are still the guard towers of the GULAG even though they too have been abandoned, silent reminders of what was and of what Russia has still not escaped, however much the glitter of the cities suggests otherwise. The people of these Russian villages live “outside of time” and serve as both a reminder and a warning, although few take note of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment