Image: Eric Lusito
Mig-21, 126th Fighter Aviation Regiment, Mongolia: During the 1970s, this base was seen as the front line for potential conflict with China and was therefore kept on high alert, ready to attack at a moment’s notice.
“These sites of power… are mostly doomed to disappear in the course of time.”
Like an archaeologist entering the ancient tombs of pharaohs for the first time. That’s how Italian photographer Eric Lusito describes visiting these abandoned Soviet military sites; places that have been brought to ruin, but which remain – and contain – fascinating relics of their now-collapsed empire. “I had the feeling of discovering a new world,” Lusito tells us. “But one that was already starting to disappear.” Even the Cyrillic alphabet appeared to him like ancient hieroglyphs, before he had any clue about how to decipher it.
Yet, language aside, it was Lusito’s intention that his pictures spark people’s imagination. “The ruins and images have the power to let everyone build their own stories,” he says. These haunting photographs, which have so brilliantly captured the crumbling shells of buildings against their stark landscapes, are certainly evocative enough to make us wonder about the people who inhabited them. Wonder – and then some.