Life Inside Russia’s
Secret “Closed” City

June 16, 2014 | Marina Galperina

Under Communism, the Russian city of Zarechny did not officially “exist.” The public wasn’t informed of such “closed cities” until 1986, with more than one million people having lived in places that were not even on the map. Slowly, they are being “opened up.” Photographer Ksenia Yurkova, featured in The Calvert Journal, went to Zarechny to document the daily life of Zarechny, despite its severe photography and travel restrictions.

It looks like any other small town in Russia, until you realize that Zarechny’s 62,000 inhabitants live within a barbed wire fence. Visitors need to apply for passes. In Soviet Time, Zarechny was home to secret government strategic facilities. Today, it is home to Rosatom, “a state-owned corporation that manufactures parts for nuclear weapons.” Yurkova observes:

The paradox I’ve noticed in Russian people is that they want to guard things that are useless while things that are actually valuable are left unattended.

There are 44 such remaining “closed cities” in Russia. (Photos Courtesy Ksenia Yurkova via The Calvert Journal)