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Soviet Sanitoria: Solace for the Damned

“In the Soviet days, the elite of the Communist party always lived much better than the rest of us.” I’ve heard some variant of this throughout the former USSR . It’s always made to sound as though the politburo were living like sheikhs behind closed doors. Maybe, I guess.

But then I hear stories about how they would go to places like the Jeti-Oghuz Sanitorium outside of Karakol in eastern Kyrgyzstan. Yuri Gagarin won himself a free trip here after his orbit. Yeltsin met with President Akayev here after the collapse of the USSR for some tough talks in a chic and relaxing atmosphere.

I’m all for faded glory like the dirty, decayed hotels of the Orient Express’s former hubs, but I’m trying to imagine what kind of glory could’ve been here. Instead this harvest of creepy statues and abandoned cafes feels like a lunatic asylum designed by the patients. The rooms are fit for monks, the metal figures look frightened and psychotic, littered more than positioned on the premises, as if they were caught in the act of some heinous act and frozen. There’s a hypnotic wind through the trees that whispers frantic pleas and moans inconsolably. Furtive ghosts coast and shift warily through the uncut grass.

That said, I find it quite homey and comforting. Please don’t ask me to leave. And please stop talking to me in that tone; I’m not a child. I don’t want to feel the things you’re making me feel. And if you insist on laughing at me, at least have the decency to come out from inside the wall and do it to my face.

One Comment

  1. Carpetblogger

    We stayed here in 2003! Surprisingly, it hasn’t changed.

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