Because of lack of economic incentive and government support, every year almost 300 villages disappear from the map of the Ukraine. Young people leave their villages to move to the big cities and towns in search of a good job – which is a generalised trend now in post-Soviet countries. I found the last people in the village of Kuzbej – Anna (deaf and mute) and Kalina, sisters who live in a mountain village in the Korpaty region. In Soviet times, the village had 25 houses, a church, and one bus per day, which connected it to a bigger village downhill.
Feature / U / Disappearing Village by Andrei Liankevich
U (2008-2009) Of all the former republics of the USSR, Ukraine is one of the most important. With a population of 47 million and a territory as large as France, this EU neighbor is crucial for both Russia and the West. In addition to its natural resources, heavy industries and access to the Black Sea, Ukraine is a major transit country for Russia’s oil and gas. As witnessed last winter, events in the Ukraine have a direct impact on the stability and security of two continents. Although it has been independent since 1991, this emerging democracy has yet to form its national identity. Like many post-Soviet states, it is in the throes of an identity crisis. To gain a better understanding of Ukraine and what it means to be Ukrainian, the non-profit organization Altemus commissioned the photographers of Sputnik Photos to travel to the country and capture its ethos. To deepen this process of discovery, it also asked Ukraine’s most talented young writers to write a short essay or story on the theme of identity. Project Manager: Christine Medycky (Altemus) Photo Editor: Maria Mann (European Press Photo Agency) Curator: Rafał Milach Book design: Ania Nalecka / Tapir Book Design