What’s eerier—an abandoned former Soviet youth camp, or an abandoned former Soviet youth camp that’s now a cemetery for old, decrepit cars?
Just an hour’s drive from Moscow, the Salute camp once carried the torch for the Young Pioneer Organization of the Soviet Union, which was established to popularize the Communist ideology. Social hierarchy, sports and patriotism were Salute’s three main tenets.
Today the building and its surrounding land are mysteriously littered with the carcasses of rusted-out Communist-era automobiles. It’s unclear how the vehicles turned up there.
Judging from its mostly intact camouflage paint job, this truck actually looks like a prop for a film shoot—a replica of a Mercedes-Benz Type 4500A—a truck produced in Germany from 1939 until 1945. Its license plate reveals that the vehicle may have been intended for scenes reenacting Dresden during World War II.
The GAZ-M was a popular car manufactured in 1936 to 1943 by the Soviet Union that was inspired by the 1934 Ford Model 40 Deluxe Sedan. It’s a shell of what it once was, but the steering wheel hints at its former glory.
The interior of the camp’s buildings still retain some lighthearted signs that young life once coursed through these hallways. Pioneer camps were a popular summer—and sometimes winter—destination for kids throughout the Soviet Union.
All that’s left are scraps of this Сhevrolet c60x truck, manufactured in Canada by General Motors and Ford during World War II. More than 350,000 of these trucks were produced and exported to the Soviet Union.
Here lie the remains of a ZIL-157, first manufactured in 1958. The names of most Soviet cars are about as sexy as a robot dressed in a lab coat.
When it was attached to a motorcycle, this mini tank of a sidecar probably provided the ride of a lifetime. Now it’s just a metallic eyesore.
Whoever brought these cars here was pretty serious about making use of the space and even parked vehicles inside the buildings. Rumor has it that the camp facilities were recently purchased by a private investor, who was probably hoping to turn it into a restoration shop. But nothing has happened since.
Variety and sophistication weren’t something that Soviet car manufacturers could boast of accomplishing. But even if you could afford a private automobile and decided to get one, vehicles were usually in such short supply that you first had to get on the official list and wait a long time—sometimes years—before your order became available. Above, a poor imitation of the American favorite, Jeep.
Many of the vehicles’ engines are missing, and some of them have been almost completely disassembled in this building where cars go to die.