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Life On Sochi’s Baku Street

The preparations for the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi have affected the lives of many residents -- and in some cases, turned them upside down. In one neighborhood, illegal dumping of waste has set off landslides, which in turn damaged the foundations of residents' homes and forced some homeowners to move out. Some residents have sought compensation from the city government, but they say that no help has arrived.

The view from an abandoned building on Sochi's Baku Street, where a landslide caused by dumping farther uphill destroyed several houses. In the distance, the Olympic Park can be seen.
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The view from an abandoned building on Sochi's Baku Street, where a landslide caused by dumping farther uphill destroyed several houses. In the distance, the Olympic Park can be seen.

A short drive uphill from his family home, Dmitry Abzhan, 27, points to the place where trucks illegally dumped waste, causing a landslide.
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A short drive uphill from his family home, Dmitry Abzhan, 27, points to the place where trucks illegally dumped waste, causing a landslide.

Several buildings damaged by the landslides have been demolished in the months leading up to the Olympic Games. Abzhan’s home (second from the right) is damaged but still standing.
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Several buildings damaged by the landslides have been demolished in the months leading up to the Olympic Games. Abzhan’s home (second from the right) is damaged but still standing.

The old house where Dmitry Abzhan grew up is now propped up on concrete blocks. The family moved into a new house that was under construction when the landslide struck. Abzhan is scared to allow his young children to play outside out of fear that this building could collapse.
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The old house where Dmitry Abzhan grew up is now propped up on concrete blocks. The family moved into a new house that was under construction when the landslide struck. Abzhan is scared to allow his young children to play outside out of fear that this building could collapse.

The older house is leaning precariously.
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The older house is leaning precariously.

The foundations of the old Abzhan house
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The foundations of the old Abzhan house

An unstable foundation supports the damaged house.
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An unstable foundation supports the damaged house.

Abzhan disuades visitors from entering.
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Abzhan disuades visitors from entering.

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Abzhan drives his taxi on a road that has cracked from nearby land erosion at the dumping site.
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Abzhan drives his taxi on a road that has cracked from nearby land erosion at the dumping site.

Rubble from demolished houses has been put to new uses after the old tenants moved away.
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Rubble from demolished houses has been put to new uses after the old tenants moved away.

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Polina Kalayzhan, 75, lives next door to Abzhan. She says that her house is slowly sliding down the hill and floods every time it rains.
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Polina Kalayzhan, 75, lives next door to Abzhan. She says that her house is slowly sliding down the hill and floods every time it rains.

Kalayzhan says she has appealed for state assistance to repair her home, but has received no response.
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Kalayzhan says she has appealed for state assistance to repair her home, but has received no response.

Kalayzhan’s 89-year-old husband chops wood behind their house.
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Kalayzhan’s 89-year-old husband chops wood behind their house.

Nine people from four generations live in the Kalayzhan house. The youngest in the house is ten-month-old Karina.
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Nine people from four generations live in the Kalayzhan house. The youngest in the house is ten-month-old Karina.

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Unfinished buildings on Baku Street have been abandoned.
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Unfinished buildings on Baku Street have been abandoned.

A truck stands on Baku Street on a patch of rubble left from demolished houses.
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A truck stands on Baku Street on a patch of rubble left from demolished houses.

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