Abandoned Russian village. Karelia, 2009

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If it is in Karelia it may be either a Russian or a Karelian village. In the 1960s the government forced people to abandon their houses and move to “bigger towns”, as it was considered “more profitable for the state”, so to say. I’ve been to a village named [Pegrema](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pegrema) once: children of those who once lived there would still come to “their village” to mow and collect hay, to later take it to [Unitsa](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitsa), where they live now. A beautiful place.

But not all villages in Karelia are Karelian in the ethnic sense. Most of those West from the Onego lake – are. Most of those on the Onego are either mixed, or Russian (or at least skewed towards Russian heritage). A lot of Old Believers ran there, to the north, from the persecutions. The chapel in the Pegrema village for example is not actually a “chapel”, but rather a church without an altar: it is an Old Believers chapel, probably of the Pomortsy sect.

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