MURMANSK OBLAST is an important Naval Base and hosts the headquarters of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Navy. The ice-breaker Lenin, part of the atomic fleet, is lying at Murmansk’s port. Alyosha, an enormous statue of a soldier, is watching over it. At this time of year darkness does not exist and the sun performs a six hour long set-and-rise-spectacle. 

The Kola Superdeep Borehole is located near the Norwegian border - a scientific drilling project of the Soviet Union and the deepest borehole ever drilled - over 12km deep, lying in ruins today. We were lucky enough to meet the Geologist Yuri Pavlovich Smirnov, who shared his memories with us about the research project and the past during a misty night at the borehole.

In a remote village on the coast, several hours on muddy offroads away, there is a Marine Biology Institute - the old house is peacefully sleeping while moss grows over the laboratory-grounds. Its windows are facing the new buildings on the opposite side of the bay where the Algaeologist Mikhail Vladimirovich Makarov continues his father’s research and is running a project to clean the ocean from oil. 

“Some things might cease to exist but science will always move forward.”

Photos by M.A.B.-W.


Rustavi’s Steel Factory premises are enormous, almost an entire city by itself. Some areas are abandoned due to a fire that took place many years ago. In other parts there are works still going on, the company was so kind to let us explore their grounds. We will go back and shoot there for SOVIETOPIA.

Photos by M.A.B.-W.


ABKHAZIA is a partially recognised state on Georgia’s territory. Due to ongoing disputes with Georgia though it is easier to access through the Russian border, the currency used is ruble and the general mind set is very much pro-Russian. 1992/93 a war destroyed large parts of the idyllic region on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. The lack of money and the uncertain political situation has slowed down the reconstruction immensely therefore numerous buildings such as train stations, sanatoriums, power plants etc are abandoned. Nature has conquered many back and time seems to exist in its very own principle there. The mobile network doesn’t support foreign numbers, generally one feels like in a parallel reality - frozen in Soviet days. There is hardly any tourism from Europe since the general advice is not to enter the country but we have been welcomed warmly and experienced the generosity of Abkhazian people. The landscapes are mind blowing and the first snow in three years made the scenery seem like a dream…

Photos by M.A.B.-W.

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