- The Plate
Ranching May Offer Soviet ‘Ghost Farms’ of Kazakhstan New Life
To an outsider like me, Chilinka looks like a dream turned nightmare. But for 42-year-old Rahimzhanov Zhumabai, who was born and raised there, he can look past the ruble and see Chilinka’s former grandeur—a point of view that in this moment, entails looking past a large tree growing in the middle of his childhood home.
At the base, the tree trunk is about 10-inches wide. If Zhumabai cut it down and counted the rings, it would date to 1999—the year his family was among the last to leave Chilinka.
At some point since then, looters tore of the roof, doors, windows—anything that could be sold on the black market. We climb through a hole in the wall that used to be the