The 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow were controversial. While its war in Afghanistan had sparked a global boycott of the games, the USSR also wanted to showcase its capacity for opulence. To this day, the architecture of the Olympic Village lives on like an undying tribute to the Soviets’ misplaced and ultimately untimely ambition.
Russian-born photographer Anastasia Tsayder recently set out to capture the devolution of this grandeur over 30 years after the Games by photographing the Olympic Village in its current state. “[The] Olympic buildings — mostly designed in 1975-1978, a period still marked with optimism and hopes for a bright future — acted as a manifestation of prosperity and power of the Soviet State,” she writes on her website. However, decades since the games, it’s interesting to see how the buildings have been preserved and, for the most part, repurposed for sports and leisure in modern day Russia.
The resultant photo series is simply called “Summer Olympics.” Tsayder’s style almost makes it impossible to distinguish whether you’re looking at the peculiar preparations for the first and only Soviet games or the uncertain state of contemporary Russian capitalism. Either way, the buildings do look pretty terrific. [Anastasia Tsayder]
Pictures: Anastasia Tsayder