Photo Gallery: Remembering A Lost Town

  • Maria Kuvshinnikova, 91, sits in her apartment in Rybinsk, Russia. In 1941, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin began carrying out his plan to dam the nearby Volga River in order to create a reservoir. Kuvshinnikova, then in her 20s, remembers that terrible time, when her home in the nearby town of Mologa was flooded and destroyed.
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    Maria Kuvshinnikova, 91, sits in her apartment in Rybinsk, Russia. In 1941, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin began carrying out his plan to dam the nearby Volga River in order to create a reservoir. Kuvshinnikova, then in her 20s, remembers that terrible time, when her home in the nearby town of Mologa was flooded and destroyed.
    David Gilkey/NPR
  • Winter in Rybinsk, which is about an hour northwest of the Siberian city of Yaroslavl. The town sits on the Volga River, just south of the Rybinsk Reservoir.
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    Winter in Rybinsk, which is about an hour northwest of the Siberian city of Yaroslavl. The town sits on the Volga River, just south of the Rybinsk Reservoir.
    David Gilkey/NPR
  • The creation of the reservoir forced thousands of residents in the area to move — or their homes would have been submerged. Many of them dismantled their houses piece by piece and reassembled them in safe areas, such as Rybinsk.
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    The creation of the reservoir forced thousands of residents in the area to move — or their homes would have been submerged. Many of them dismantled their houses piece by piece and reassembled them in safe areas, such as Rybinsk.
    David Gilkey/NPR
  • Nikolai Novotelnov's wooden home in Rybinsk is among those that once stood in Mologa before it was moved.
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    Nikolai Novotelnov's wooden home in Rybinsk is among those that once stood in Mologa before it was moved.
    David Gilkey/NPR
  • Novotelnov and his mother moved their home to Rybinsk when he was 16. At 86, he continues to live there, now with his wife.
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    Novotelnov and his mother moved their home to Rybinsk when he was 16. At 86, he continues to live there, now with his wife.
    David Gilkey/NPR
  • "I still have memories of the churches, the tombstones," Novotelnov says of Mologa. "There was just a simple command: Move it all, and start living in a new place."
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    "I still have memories of the churches, the tombstones," Novotelnov says of Mologa. "There was just a simple command: Move it all, and start living in a new place."
    David Gilkey/NPR
  • Novotelnov (right) proudly served his country in the Red Army. But these days, that pride has faltered. "The country is divided into rich and poor," he says. "Money has become the most important thing.  Nothing good has happened in Russia during Putin's time in office. I am his opponent."
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    Novotelnov (right) proudly served his country in the Red Army. But these days, that pride has faltered. "The country is divided into rich and poor," he says. "Money has become the most important thing. Nothing good has happened in Russia during Putin's time in office. I am his opponent."
    David Gilkey/NPR
  • An old woman walks through a park in Rybinsk.
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    An old woman walks through a park in Rybinsk.
    David Gilkey/NPR
  • People wait at an open-air bus shelter outside of Rybinsk.
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    People wait at an open-air bus shelter outside of Rybinsk.
    David Gilkey/NPR

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