Gennadiy N. Lepeshkin: When the Aral Sea had water in it, and fish, life was very good in Aralsk. There was a fish cannery there, and, um, there was a ship repair concern, and military divisions which provided civilian jobs. So, the town expanded and prospered... however, when the sea receded and the military divisions withdrew following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Aralsk went downhill. The fish cannery is closed, the ship repair facility is not operating, and when the military divisions left, they deeded their facility over to the local authorities. People have settled there, but the multi-storey buildings didn't get any heat and in the winter people were freezing. And so finally they left that housing and moved to smaller buildings, in their... where they used to live. The buildings were vandalized and dismantled, piece by piece, and today they are abandoned ruins.