The aluminum sheds were designed to be garden storage, a place to put something and forget about it. And for more than 20 years, these oblong barrel-like structures have housed a forgotten community of refugees.
They are ethnic Russians who fled Tajikistan’s civil war for a country that they thought wanted them. In an overgrown field outside the small town of Borisoglebsk, about 600 kilometers south of Moscow, some 300 refugees still inhabit the makeshift shelters.
Soon after Sergey Kapunin lost his house in the 1992-97 Tajik Civil War he decided to flee with his wife and three children. "We left that country behind for our children’s sake. We traveled in boxcars. The whole train was full of us refugees. And we spent a month awaiting departure because the railway was damaged and there were no trains,” Kapunin told EurasiaNet.org.
There’s no gas, no streetlights in the refugee community. Water’s available at a pump station down the road for two hours a day. The houses are heated by electricity, which is unusual in Russia because it’s expensive.
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Konstantin Salomatin is a freelance photojournalist based in Moscow.