in 1962, paldiski, a northern town in the then estonian soviet socialist republic became a soviet navy nuclear submarine training centre. with this came the obligatory status of ‘closed town’ and its name was to disappear from maps. the barbed wire and check points surrounding this once normal town settlement were to stay until august 1994. it took over another year for the russian military to finally leave.
with the construction of two land-based nuclear reactors, employing some 16,000 people, paldiski was at its height the largest naval military training facility in the soviet union.
what may be surprising about paldiski, is that even though it was abandoned by the russian army and left full of highly radioactive waste (which has required a cleanup costing 100`s of millions of euros that is only now winding down), former residents that had been forced out in the 60`s decided to return.
location: paldiski, estonia
format: medium format (6x45)