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Russia: Shrinking Siberia

Model and police investigator Maria Klimova, 25, is packing her suitcase as she prepares to emigrate from Russia's Far East. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Maria Klimova decided to emigrate: “First China, then Italy,” she says. “I would never fit the Russian system anyway.” Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Maria Klimova and her mother have made plans to emigrate from their hometown. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Model Anastasia Shelest, 21, is moving away from Russia's Far East to St. Petersburg, as she says, "to have good education and better life." Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Anastasia Shelest, 21, is eager to escape: "As soon as I return to our gray Khabarovsk from my trips abroad, I immediately feel depressed," she says. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Vika and Aleksy, a young family in Khabarovsk, hope that Aleksey's employer Coca Cola will transfer him to Moscow soon. "There are more prospects in the capital than in Far East," he says. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Last year 6,000 Russians emigrated from Blagoveschensk, a city on the Amur River with a population of 200,000 people. Many of them moved to Heihe, a Chinese city on the other bank of the river. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Russians in Heihe, a Chinese city across the Amur River. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Two years ago Vika and Konstia emigrated from Russian Blagoveschensk to China's Heihe. "I feel more at home in this foreign country than I did in Blagoveschensk where I had to deal with corruption every day," Konstia says. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Vika and Konstia, who emigrated from Russian Blagoveschensk to China's Heihe two years ago, are happy about their children's new corruption-free kindergarden. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Schoolchildren in Heihe, a Chinese city across the Amur River. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Vika and Konstia emigrated from Russian Blagoveschensk to China's Heihe. "I feel more at home in this foreign country than I did in Blagoveschensk, where I had to deal with corruption every day," Kostia says. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

High prices, lack of opportunities and corruption push thousands of young Russians away from the Far East to China. It takes only 7 minutes to cross the Amur River from Blagoveschensk to Heihe. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Yekaterina Malyutik, a Russian professor, teaches Russian language at a university in Heihe. "Here we are respected and well paid, unlike back home in Khabarovsk," she says. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Yekaterina Malyutik at a university in Heihe. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Officials ordered Vladislav Solovyev to paint the outside wall of his house so as not to shock important guests coming to the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit in September 2012. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Vladislav Solovyev wrote letters to Vladivostok and Moscow authorities asking them for help in fixing his ceiling and roof, but he never heard back. "My house is a real Potemkin village," he said. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

The $1 billion bridge did not help people living on Russky Island: Residents still rely on ferries to cross the bay on their way to Vladivostok. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

The glitz of the APEC Summit 2012 in Vladivostok cannot mask the slow death of the Pimorye region. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

Tears ran down Nadezhda Voronstova's face as she recounted her story: Moscow authorities have decided to demolish her house along with her entire village on Russky Island. Image by Anna Nemtsova. Russia, 2012.

After 20 years of declining industry and rampant corruption, Russia is now on the move--its young people, especially those in remote areas, are looking for opportunities to move out of the country.