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Abandoned Mining Towns Of The Russian Arctic

The coal mines of Vorkuta, just north of the Arctic Circle, were once vital to Soviet industry. But after the collapse of U.S.S.R., the mines were privatized and some were shut down. Today, the city is surrounded by former mining centers that have become ghost towns, or are sparsely inhabited. The coal mine in Vorkuta's Sovetskiy district was closed in 1996, but some 150 families still live nearby, half an hour by bus from the rest of the city, with no grocery store or pharmacy in their community. The mining town of Yurshor and the settlement of Rudnik, once part of the gulag camp system, have both been abandoned altogether. (Text by Sergei Khazov-Cassia, photos by Petr Shelomovskiy, RFE/RL)