Ad Astra (2019 –)

Astrakhan city is one of the centers of former Eurasian civilizations. It’s sutuated in the delta of Volga, the main river of the European Russia. Astrakhan is perhaps the most international point on the Russian map. Tatars, Russians, Armenians, Kalmyks, Greeks, Iranians — there is no other place in Russia with such a powerful ethnic and cultural mix. 

With the collapse of the USSR,  Astrakhan region became another depressive region. The only thing that remains the same in the administrative center, except for people and fishing, is the antique architecture.

In the spring of 2021 it came to the light that the city authorities plan to declare more than 2,200 homes in Astrakhan — or Astra, in popular parlance — as emergency. So, in the future, they are subject to demolition. These houses are mainly built in the XIX century and they has been forming the face of the city for a long time. If the giant plan really happens, then Astrakhan will become a typical regional center with a bunch of identical nine-story buildings.

And although some people don’t believe the information on the demolition, most residents are against. They want to save not only their homes, but also the magical charm of the entire city.

At the same time, most of the old buildings, including cultural heritage sites, are in very poor condition, because the authorities don’t give funding repairs. According to one of the ratings, Astrakhan region, including the city itself,  thas taken a last line in a life quality list of Russia. the income level of the population is low despite the presence of federal oil and gas companies, and ports of the Caspian Sea, through which Russia can trade with Turkey, Iran and the countries of Central Asia in the situation with the West sanctions.  Many people survive only through fishing and the fish trade, which is not always legal. But Moscow doesn’t seem to care about this historical edge of Russia.

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