Soviet Ghosts: Images of the Eastern Bloc

Photographer Rebecca Litchfield’s stunning images of abandoned Soviet structures

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 locations within thirteen countries which were once part of the Soviet Union or occupied. Including forgotten towns, factories, prisons, schools, monuments, hospitals, theatres, military complexes, asylums and death camps.

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

Bulgaria

Perched on top of Mount Buzludzha, this monument to Communism is the largest in Bulgaria. It is located on the site where the Bulgarian Socialists first began their clandestine meetings in 1891

Latvia

In the forests of Latvia, two ex-Soviet radio telescopes and a spy centre lie abandoned. In 1967, the Soviets began a Cold War project intended to track and decode signals from US satellites.

Estonia

In 1828 Tsar Nicholas 1 of Russia commissioned the construction of the prison on the Estonian coast near Tallinn. It was completed in 1840 and remained in use until 2004, a potent symbol of the troubled relationship between Estonia and Russia.

Ukraine

Pripyat’s Hospital No. 126 consists of 5 large buildings, each of them 6 storeys in height. In the wake of its sudden abandonment, medical equipment, beds, bottles, babies’ cribs and other equipment were all left to rust and rot away.

Hungary

The 424 053 Mávag 424-class locomotive was made in 1941 by Mávag, chassis number 5345, vehicle number 424.127. The locomotive was renumbered several times, to 424.189 In 1961 and to 424.053 In 1982. It was used during the Communist era with a red star in front of the train.

Soviet “Black Widow” Sub

Used during the cold war, the black widow u-45 was a patrol and attack submarine. Between 1957 and 1983, around 75 were made by the soviet navy. This example of the black widow was commissioned in 1967 and based in Latvia.

If you’d like your work featured here on our IN: IMAGES blog, shoot us an email here: blog@compasscultura.com


Compass Cultura is a high-quality, sub-compact publication that celebrates in-depth travel journalism. Subscribe now to help us stay independent and advertisement-free for less than $2/month.

Subscribe / Follow us on Twitter / Like us on Facebook

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Latterly’s story.