Michal Solarski



'Infirmi' is a story about old days sanatoriums designed for treatments and rehabilitation, which are still sprinkled across the post-Soviet space in varying states of decay. Their construction began in 1920's and continued right up until the collapse of the Soviet Union. These magnificent spas were built for the workers who could rest and re-energize there on a pseudo-futuristic health regimen in preparation for the working year ahead. The question of leisure was one that preoccupied Soviet thinkers. Free time and work were not separate but connected and regular sanatorium stays for workers were seen as a way of increasing productivity. Soviet workers were sent to sanatoriums once a year so that they could return refreshed and ready for work. Workers in the toughest industries, such as mining, were prioritised over others. Stays at sanatoriums were overseen by medical crew and even sunbathing was monitored by health professionals. Today, long time after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there are many of these amazing buildings still functioning. ‚Äč

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  • Broken Barrier. A woman standing in front of the Khoji Obi Garm sanatorium. The building is nestled in the mountains of Tajikistan, known for its curative, radon-filled waters. May 2016, Tajikistan.

  • Lounge. The lounge of Foros sanatorium in Crimea. Crimea is a home to the most splendid sanatoriums in the former Soviet Union. August 2016, Crimea.

  • Wrestler. Kyrgyz wrestler in front of the outdoor swimming pool at Aurora sanatorium in Kyrgyzstan. Aurora during the Soviet time catered only for high rank dignitaries and was closed for general public. May 2016, Kyrgyzstan.

  • Satelites. Resting area and reception at Mishor sanatorium. August 2016, Crimea.

  • Biefing. Security guards during the meeting outside the main building of Foros sanatorium in Crimea. August 2016, Crimea.

  • Painting. Physiotherapy room at Mishor sanatorium in Crimea. August 2016, Crimea.

  • Doctor and Patient. Awaiting paraffin treatment at Khoji Obi Garm. Aplication of warm paraffin wax treatments is used mainly for muscle and joint pain relief. May 2016, Tajikistan.

  • Sterilisation Lamp. Women getting a sterilisation lamp treatment at Aurora sanatorium. This procedure is being used for treating bronchitis and tuberculosis. May 2016, Kyrgyzstan.

  • Bath. Woman taking a treatment (mineral water) bath at Aurora sanatorium. Issyk Kul. May 2016, Kyrgyzstan.

  • Laser. Women getting laser treatment at Mishor sanatorium. August 2016, Crimea.

  • Nose Wire. Patient getting treatment at Mishor sanatorium. August 2016, Crimea.

  • Dima. A doctor awaiting patients at Foros sanatorium. August 2016, Crimea.

  • Lay Down. Patient about to rest after radon steam sauna session. There are only few steam rooms using radioactive steam in the world. May 2016, Tajikistan.

  • Beds. Paraffin room at Koji Obi Garm sanatorium. Paraffin wax treatments provide heat therapy for many different applications including muscle and joint pain relief. May 2016, Tajikistan.

  • Cupping. Bruised back after intense cupping that draws blood from the pores at Aurora Sanatorium. Cupping is an ancient form of alternative medicine. People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood circulation, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage. May 2016, Kyrgyzstan.

  • Comb. This comb sends electric currents through your hair to stimulate growth. The wand comes with several attachments. May 2016, Kyrgyzstan.

  • Yevgienyi. A man at the gym at Foros sanatorium. August 2016, Crimea.

  • Auditorium with Monkey. Monkey in the auditorium of the theatre at Foros sanatorium before the evening circus performance. August 2016, Crimea.

  • Tea Room. Women having a tea, while awaiting sauna treatment. The steam used contains healing radioactive radon. Khoji Obi Garm. May 2016, Tajikistan.

  • Man at the Table. Man waiting for his meal on the hill overlooking a beautiful valley where Khoji Obi Garm sanatorium is built. May 2016, Tajikistan.