Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Old Ventspils

Ventspils is a coast town in West Latvia, considered wealthy, tidy and boring place. These are a few photos of the city centre that slightly compromise this image - old signs of fishermen's club and hospital, street water pump, weird old house and closed glass bottle recycling point.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Friday, 25 September 2009


Kronstadt island was founded in 1704 as a fortress to guard sea access to St.Petersburg and is located in the bay some 30 km from it. The Kronstadt Sea Fortress used to be considered the most fortified port in the world. In Soviet times it was a closed city (with restricted access to visitors) due to its military port and ship-building industry. Today the city seems quiet apart from many cadets in the streets.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Late emergency

This old plate found in Liepāja, West Latvia says "in case of emergency after 6pm call...". It seems that in Latvian version someone has changed the time to "after 7pm".
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

RRR today

Rīgas Radio Rūpnīca aka Radiotehnika RRR or just RRR for short, which means Riga Radio factory, was producing radios, turntables and cassette players in Soviet Latvia but went bust in 1990s. Located in Imanta district of Riga the waste territory is now occupied by various small companies, strorages and empty buildings. One of the companies is RRR VEF, a merge of names of RRR and another famous company VEF, however besides the grand name there is a small firm that produces sound speakers.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Monday, 21 September 2009

Lenin in St.Petersburg

In St.Petersburg that used to carry Lenin's name (Leningrad) one can find dozens of monuments for the Soviet leader. These are just a few of them. The last photo with a wooden box has a special story. The ass of one of the main Lenin's monuments on Lenin's square was blown up by some explosives on the 1 April earlier this year. Lenin's ass is now under repair.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


There is not much difference between Narva and Ivangorod, except for the fact that Narva is the third biggest city in Estonia, which is part of European Union, while Ivangorod is just a rural area in Leningradskaya oblast in Russia. In Soviet times they operated as a single town (even thought Ivangorod was oficially also a seperate town then) but today Ivangorod sinks into recession and survives only thanks to transit and contrabanda of alcohol and cigarettes. The first photos are from Narva, while the last six photos are from Ivangorod.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Lenin is back

Yesteday there was a "white night" in Riga where various cultural events took place. One of them was a blue monument made by the artist Aigars Bikše. The statue that resembles Lenin occupied the same spot as Lenin's monument in the past. It was made of plastic and in a 2 minute sequence was inflating and deflating, thus referring to how political leaders rise and fall to power. The statue should remain there until 20 September.
Photo by (c) Arnis Balcus

Friday, 11 September 2009

VEF culture house

VEF kultūras pils in Riga is a culture house that bares the name of the famous State's electro-technical factory (Valsts Elektrotehniskā fabrika) even though the factory doesn't exist anymore - it bankrupted soon after the collapse of Soviet Union. The factory was producing telephones, radios and also is considered the birthplace for the world's smallest Minox camera. Built in typical 1950s monumental style the building today hosts various low-key events and youth hobby clubs.
Photos by (c) Arnis Balcus