214 localities in Kostroma region, Russia, became abandoned, it took only 6 years, from 2008 till 2014. Inhabitants left them because of poor roads, lack of schools and hospitals as well as electricity. Those who stayed refer to this area as Desert (Wilderness). We found people who remain the last inhabitants of the deserted villages to see how they live and to understand why they have stayed there.
"Its interesting there were so many people around. But time flies, thats it."
"I used to hunt cocks of the wood, and now I cant find a single grouse."
"There were 9 or more houses in Elyakovo. One house burned down, the other one collapsed. I remember 4 houses to be inhabited our house and 3 more. Everyone left."
"I dont like city at all, I can go for a trip there for 4 days, but I cant stand more than that."
"There is a cemetery near the church, all the villagers are buried there. My grandma and uncle too. Thats a pity.
Its hard for just the two of us to cope with everything, but during the summer our son and his wife come here to help us, bring the grandchildren they help to haymake and to do housework."
"There used to be more livestock - cows and sheep. We take them to the market. Zoya puts weighing scale, business starts by 9."
"We should have stopped working, we have no energy left already. But we will regret to stop."
"There were some binges, come to think of it. The problem is I have a screw loose. If there is some alcohol left, and I need to work the hell Im gonna work. If you drink again, you need more. And how can you work when you are drunk?"
"Thats how it is. Life is too short, you know. "
I arrived there when I was twenty something. Closed my eyes, pointed at the map and hit Kostroma."
"I get minimum pension payment, but its enough for me. We have groundwater, I dont need to pay electricity bill. All the money I get I spent on food and alcohol. If you want to earn something pick berries or mushrooms. Go fishing, set traps, do as you wish no need to go anywhere.
Those guys, hunters, drunk some and dont need any hunting. Just shoot the bottles and leave."
"I've been on a binge for 10 days. Take 6-7 bottles and Im already wasted. Nevertheless, Ill go and look for something more to drink. I buy all homemade vodka. A day earlier, two days later we are all headed that way. Whats the difference whether I die today or 10 years later no difference at all."
"Ive been married 3 times here. I have 10 children! All the girls liked me."
"I dont know why everyone is leaving! They had everything they need there they grew and kept everything themselves. Perestroyka comes, and everybody fled to the city. They harried the villages. And there were a lot of villages there."