Abandoned villages of Nizhny Novgorod region: photos, reasons


The abandoned villages of the Nizhny Novgorod region are a sad reality that you can see and photograph with your own eyes. Why the residents leave their homes, which leads to the desolation of entire settlements, this article will tell.

Nizhny Novgorod Region

Nizhny Novgorod celebrated its 795th anniversary. Throughout its existence, it has always been a major hotbed of political life and commerce, and this is still the case today. Being the administrative center of the Volga region, the city brings together about 5, 000 cities, villages and villages in the Nizhny Novgorod region.

Since ancient times, people have chosen the local beautiful places, famous for fish rivers, forests full of game, and arable land. Starting from the 9th century, Slavs began to settle here, building small settlements and settlements. From the day of its foundation in 1221, Nizhny Novgorod was a stronghold and protection of Slavic lands from the raids of unfriendly neighboring Ugrian tribes, and by 1341 it became an independent Nizhny Novgorod-Suzdal principality.

Today, there are more than 400 large settlements and 3, 000 villages in the province. Unfortunately, time does not stand still and does not spare anyone, as evidenced by the abandoned villages of the Nizhny Novgorod region (the photo below shows one of them).


To understand why such a tendency manifests itself, it is necessary to understand the status of the village and its functions as units of the administrative region.

Village status

It has long been called the settlement of the peasants. This is due not so much to the fact that in those days their huts were wooden, but to the fact that the village called arable land and sown cornfield. In addition to peasant villages, there were settlements of hunters and fishermen, and the number of households soon became the main criterion for the status of this type of settlement. As a rule, they were few - from 10 to 50 private houses with outbuildings and vegetable gardens, which were called courtyards.


The status of the village at that time was distinguished by the presence of such important institutions as the church and local government, the parish school and the feldsher station. With the advent of Soviet power, there was a tendency to unite several villages into one collective farm, thus enlarging the farms and the number of workers in it.

Today, there are no strict gradations of such concepts as “village” and “village”, as many of them have schools, kindergartens and churches. The status of the village is awarded to the settlement, most often by the number of residents living in them.

With the development of cities, abandoned villages in the same Nizhny Novgorod region have become a familiar picture, but today the scale of this phenomenon is much wider than it was 100-200 years ago.

Why are villages empty?

It so happened that the achievement of humanity of a certain level of development or, conversely, its absence led to changes in the social system and the emergence of new habitats or the destruction of entire civilizations.

Abandoned villages of the Nizhny Novgorod region are an example of how the lack of economic development affects entire settlements. But, as a rule, the reasons for the desolation of the edge are much more:

  • In connection with the development of the industrial system and cities, Russian villages began to thin out on the map of the country 200 years ago. As soon as serfdom was abolished, many peasants gathered their belongings and went to the cities to look for happiness as workers in factories and manufactories. Today, the same trend, but in connection with the reorganization of collective farms or their collapse.
  • Currently, there are abandoned villages in the Nizhny Novgorod region, whose addresses are still in the mail registry and on the map, but in fact no one has lived in them for decades. This happens because the outflow of young people from the villages is a slow but constant process. The remaining old people live in their homes or move to the city to the children, which gradually reduces the population until the whole village is empty.


  • Often, small towns are absorbed by the city or become empty because of its proximity. For example, abandoned villages appeared in the Chkalovsky district of the Nizhny Novgorod region in connection with the municipal transformations.
  • Another reason for the disappearance of villages is the closure of enterprises or mines, near which they were built. These include the abandoned villages of the Nizhny Novgorod Region near the town of Volodarsk, for example, the village of Dalniy. It was once inhabited by peat-mining enterprises, but ceased to exist in the mid-80s due to the suspension of peat extraction. Now nature dominates here and gradually takes away what people once took from her. All overgrown with grass and shrubs, and houses are half-destroyed.
  • A person is built in such a way that at all times he is seeking comfort and stability, therefore a house in a village almost always loses to a city apartment with all conveniences. So became the abandoned villages of the Spassky district of the Nizhny Novgorod region Vysokovo, Dyuzhakovka, Krasnye Mary, Skuchiha, Syromyatnikovo and Yablonka, whose inhabitants moved to places where there is a demand for labor.

Less commonly, natural disasters, such as landslides or dry lakes and rivers, cause desolation of settlements. In the Nizhny Novgorod region there were no such serious problems, and the main reason for the neglect of the settlements is the lack of work, roads, schools and conditions for a comfortable life.

Spassky district

This part of the Nizhny Novgorod region is located in its southeastern part and today it is represented by eleven village councils, which include 44 localities. Once there was a center of Nizhny Novgorod trade, which appeared thanks to the annual bustling, rich summer and autumn fairs.

Today, almost 10, 000 people live in the district, most of whom are engaged in agricultural activities.


In connection with the transformation, some localities were enlarged and merged into municipal councils. The most distant and sparsely populated villages were left without residents who moved to larger settlements.

Chkalovsky district

Even before the construction of Nizhny Novgorod in the middle of the XII century, a settlement appeared on the right bank of the Volga, which was given the name Vasilev in honor of the son Yuri Dolgoruky. The settlement was guarded, like the Gorodets fortress on the opposite bank of the river, a water trade route. Sloboda safely lived to the present day, having received in the XX century a new name given in honor of its native Valery Chkalov.


Today, just over 20, 000 people live in the district, of which 53% are in the district center. The municipality consists of one city council and 9 townships. Abandoned villages in the Nizhny Novgorod region are in almost all parts of it, this fate and the Chkalovsky district did not escape. This is due to the fact that residents of small villages prefer to leave for larger settlements if there is work for them. According to the population census, over the past ten years, the population has decreased by almost 5, 000 people in the area, which is quite small nationwide, but for a small area it is a significant loss of labor resources.

Ardatovsky district

Ardatovsky district, known for its arable land, is located 160 km from Nizhny Novgorod, thanks to which 90 collective farms were organized during the days of general collectivization.

Today, the same situation is observed here: the abandoned villages of the Nizhny Novgorod region of Ardatovsky district are the result of the relocation of former collective farmers to the district center, where almost 57% of the population of the region live.

The number of people leaving the area forever is between 200 and 500 people per year and, as a rule, villages are the first to suffer.

Abandoned objects of the Nizhny Novgorod region

A commonplace in the world is the situation when settlements and even small cities are emptying, which are economically and financially dependent on a company or a strategic facility that has been closed with time for some reason.


There are a lot of such objects in the country, and if you count all the abandoned villages of the Nizhny Novgorod region, the list will be impressive. It includes such villages as Mavritsa, which was deserted due to lack of profits and the collapse of the collective farm in the 80s of the last century. The village of Fossa was empty after the school was closed in it in the 60s of the XX century.

There are many such examples and the tendency to the emergence of ghost villages was the improper management of the economy within the collective farms during the Soviet era.

Interest in abandoned villages

The Novgorod region has all the natural resources to attract people who want to own and work on the land. There is everything here: rivers with excellent fish places, and forests full of game, berries and mushrooms, and fertile lands that are waiting for hardworking hands to handle them.

Today you can see a great interest of urban residents to abandoned villages. As a rule, they come in families, populate all summer in empty houses, adults cultivate vegetable gardens, fish, and children spend time in outdoor games. After harvest, temporary residents go back to the city.


Another interest in abandoned villages is for treasure hunters and antiquities. Since most of the villages of the region were founded in the period from the XIV to the XVIII century, interesting artifacts, decorations and utensils of distant times may well be under the buildings of the Soviet era.

Revival of the Russian village

If you believe the scientists who say that history repeats itself, then maybe someday people who are tired of urbanization will want silence and clean air, and this will be a revival of villages in the Nizhny Novgorod region.

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