Moscow, Russia - The fall of the Soviet Union precipitated the collapse of many collective farms and state-owned enterprises, shutting down thousands of factories and throwing millions of people out of work.
In rural areas, many were left behind and had few opportunities to adapt to new circumstances caused by a lack of infrastructure and poor education.
Unemployment and poor living conditions forced people out of the villages and led them to migrate toward the cities. In northern Russia, there are hundreds of abandoned settlements and ruined factories, making many villages feel like ghost towns. A substantial number villages are home to primarily pensioners and thousands of villages have less than ten people.
Unemployment and alcoholism are widespread. Critics say the government has not created iniatives to revitalise these towns, leaving many to decay.