Arkhangelsk, Russia 2015−2017
The word «keg» in Karelian means «susceptible to destruction.» Kegostrov, or, as it is also called, Kego Island, gradually decreases in size: the spring spills of the Northern Dvina erode its shores year after year. Today, the distance between this island region of Arkhangelsk and the mainland of the city is about two kilometers, and two hundred years ago it was only 500 meters.
In Soviet times, the local rich collective farm supplied dairy products to the city and region. Only ruins remain from that economy. Two Kegostrov timber mills have long been closed. Today, only some two-story wooden barracks built for workers in the 1930s remind of their existence. Many of them have not been repaired since those times.
In winter, the island and the city are connected by a pedestrian crossing over the ice of the Northern Dvina, and further downstream there is a car crossing. At the end of April, the ice breaks open, and for Kego, aperiod of high water begins: it becomes difficult for the tug to moor to the shore, you have to call a tractor, in whose trailer people sit down, and then go ashore.
Not only the area of the island, but also its population is declining: now about two thousand people live here permanently. Many houses are empty, there are ads on the pillars. Some Arkhangelsk residents buy old, but strong huts in the villages of Kegostrov. Come for the weekend, spend the summer here with children and grandchildren. It seems like a village, but it is a city — across the river. And the people here, despite the harsh way of life, remain cordial and hospitable.