Arseniy Kotov was born in 1988 in the city of Kuybyshev, now again renamed Samara. Arseniy was, as he put it, a "Soviet preschooler" but he himself has no memories of living in the Soviet Union. He was only 3 years old when the country was dissolved. But the urban landscape that surrounded his upbringing was still hard, strong, bold and surprisingly memorable even though he then had nothing to compare it with. It would have been in stark contrast to a typical Western European city, but it was his normal surroundings.
“Now this civilization no longer exists and in my pictures I show everything that is left of that era: unusual buildings and facilities, cities built according to a strict plan, factory chimneys as horizon, monumental mosaics representing cosmonauts, scientists, workers and farmers…”
He explains that it wasn´t until 2005 that the changes came to Samara. New districts appeared on the outskirts of the city and the traditional Soviet-socialist urban design was overshadowed by new modern high-rise buildings, bright and colourful."The country's Soviet past is being rubbed and pushed under the rug. Regardless of all the problems that then existed, the removal and erasure of our cultural heritage extinguishes what makes us unique in the world. ”
In recent years, Arseniy has therefore visited all the former Soviet republics, lived in more than 200 cities, and collected an impressive number of photos that he gradually publishes on his Instagram blog. Soviet Cities by Arseniy Kotov
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