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Russians once lived here

The country's population is shrinking at an alarming rate. Is there any hope for the future?

By Oliver Bullough   April 2013

The church at Yeski: between 1991 and 2010, 20,000 Russian villages were abandoned © Oliver Bullough

This article was the winner of the Foreign Press Award for Travel/Tourism Story of the Year 2013

Driving towards the Russian village of Yeski on Christmas Eve was like entering a 19th-century painting. The unscarred snow stretched away to dense walls of conifers. Log houses clustered in the village centre. And, all the time, on the horizon, the strong vertical of the church bell tower gave a focus to the composition.

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