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And Then There Was One: Three People Lived in This Village Until Two Were Murdered.

DOBRUSA, Moldova — Thirty years ago, the village of Dobrusa had about 200 residents. At the start of this year, it had just three.
Then two were murdered.
And now there is just one: Grisa Muntean, a short, mustachioed farmer often found in a flat-cap, a checked shirt and a ripped pair of blue trousers held up by a drawstring.
于是现在只剩一人:格里沙·蒙泰安(Grisa Muntean),一个留胡子的矮个儿农民,他常常戴着一顶鸭舌帽,身穿一件格子衬衫,一条用绳子捆着的蓝色破裤子。
For company, Mr. Muntean has his two cats, five dogs, nine turkeys, 15 geese, 42 chickens, about 50 pigeons, 120 ducks and several thousand bees. The other humans have either died, left for larger towns and cities in Moldova, or emigrated to Russia or other parts of Europe.
"The loneliness kills you," Mr. Muntean, 65, said on a recent afternoon.
His former neighbors' houses are vanishing almost as fast as their owners. With few animals to graze the roadsides, and with only Mr. Muntean to prune the orchards, the buildings are sinking below a canopy of walnut groves and apple trees.
Dobrusa (pronounced Doh-BROO-shuh) was once a village of 50 houses that lined two parallel streets at the bottom of a shallow valley. Like many settlements across Moldova, it emptied out after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, an exodus mirrored across Eastern Europe, which has the world's fastest shrinking population.
Now only a few corrugated iron roofs can still be seen in Dobrusa, poking above the undergrowth. They are visible from the dirt track that connects the village to the nearest tarmac road.
Even the village graveyard, set on the other side of the valley, is slowly receding into an undergrowth of nettles and brambles, grass flowers and cow parsley.
Plants like these are the closest Mr. Muntean has to neighbors.
"When I work, I speak with the trees," he said. "With the birds, with the animals, with my tools. There is no one else to talk to."
Until February, Mr. Muntean relied on the company of Gena and Lida Lozynsky, a couple in their early 40s who lived at the other end of the village.
直到2月份,蒙泰安还与盖纳(Gena)和利达·洛兹恩斯基(Lida Lozynsky)为伴,他们是住在村子另一头的一对40来岁的夫妻。
The Lozynskys helped Mr. Muntean tend his small holding, and kept an eye on his home when he took his eggs and vegetables to the area market. The trio spoke, at least by phone, on a near-daily basis.
But one Sunday last February, the Lozynskys stopped answering Mr. Muntean's calls. He heard nothing from them on that Monday. When they failed to call him back on that Tuesday, he assumed he had done something to annoy them.
On the Wednesday, after a tipoff, the mayor of the surrounding area, Grigore Munteanu, visited the Lozynskys' home. In their garden, the mayor found the couple's cow, its udders unmilked in days. Inside the cottage, he found their half-naked corpses, cold and bloodstained, lying on the wooden floor.
周三,得知这个消息后,这一带的镇长格里戈雷·蒙泰亚努(Grigore Munteanu)去了洛兹恩斯基的家。在他们的花园里,镇长发现了这对夫妇的奶牛,已经好几天没挤奶。在小屋里,他发现木地板上倒着他们半裸的尸体,已经冰凉,还带着血迹。
An investigation found that the couple had been bludgeoned to death by a drunk laborer, after he and a fellow farmhand had tried to rape Ms. Lozynsky, the mayor said.
Six months on, their home is almost as they left it, with clothes strewn on the floor and a box of powdered milk in the front window.
Their garden is already wild. Up on the hillside, their graves are being slowly submerged by the weeds. Within a few years, a visitor may struggle to find the gravestones, let alone remember who was buried there; Gena's mound is wrongly marked "Gheorghe."


Now, Mr. Muntean is the last survivor of a village that was first settled in the 19th century, when the area was part of the Russian Empire. According to local folklore, its first residents were Ukrainians who had ultimately hoped to reach the United States (but missed their boat), and Moldovans who had fallen out with a landowner in another area.

The village prospered in the decades after World War II, when Moldova was folded into the Soviet Union. Dobrusa gained a shop, an elementary school, a summer camp for children and a village hall that showed films on Sundays. The collective farm provided work for all in the nearby wheat fields, vineyards and orchards.
But the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the decline of the collective system and the privatization of the agriculture sector. To find jobs, many Moldovans left their villages — and to find higher salaries, thousands left the country altogether. When Mr. Muntean, who had lived in a neighboring village, arrived in Dobrusa in 2000 to set up a small sheep farm, the village's population had fallen to around 70, Mr. Muntean reckoned.
Between 1990 and 2015, Eastern Europe's population fell by 18 million people, to 292 million. About one in four Moldovans lives abroad, according to estimates by the United Nations Development Program, while the resident population fell by 500,000 to 2.8 million between the censuses of 2004 and 2014.
1990年至2015年间,东欧人口减少了1800万人,降至2.92亿人。据联合国开发计划署(United Nations Development Program)估计,大约四分之一的摩尔多瓦人生活在国外,而2004年至2014年间的人口普查显示,居民人口变为280万人,减少了50万人。
In Dobrusa, most of those who remained were pensioners. The school closed in the late 1990s, along with the shop, the camp and the village hall.
"It started to feel like a ghost town," said Valentina Artin, who was born here in 1939. "It was like a desert."
“这里开始感觉像个鬼城,”1939年出生于此的瓦伦丁娜·阿尔廷(Valentina Artin)说。“它就像一片沙漠。”
Ms. Artin left for the nearby village of Vadul-Leca in 2012 with her grandchildren, leaving no more than 20 residents behind. Then the Ialii family left, and the Petermans. Old Colea Masalkoski passed away, aged somewhere near 100, and so too did Mr. Lozynsky's mother, Klava.
阿尔廷2012年和孙辈们去了附近的瓦都尔-莱卡村,这里剩下不足20名居民。此后艾利(Ialii)一家和彼得曼一家(Peterman)相继离开。老科莱亚·马萨尔科斯基(Colea Masalkoski)快100岁时去世了,洛兹恩斯基的母亲克拉娃(Klava)也过世了。
Mr. Muntean's wife left him; and their four children, who had never actually moved to the village in the first place, emigrated to Spain.
By 2016, Dobrusa had three villagers.
Even Mr. Muntean's sheep had gone; with so few villagers to help him, he gave up the sheep farm in 2013. Now even Mr. Muntean is considering leaving for a nearby town himself.
Yet, for all his loneliness, Mr. Muntean says there is a kind of joy to the peace and solitude. He grows his own vegetables and makes his own honey. He lives among nature, disturbed only by the sound of his geese, in a valley he describes as a kind of heaven.
Besides, Mr. Muntean doesn't always feel so alone when he sits in his cluttered farmyard — next to his chicken coops, his greenhouses and his broken-down Lada — and gazes up at the village graveyard.
"Gena always said he'd be watching over me," Mr. Muntean said.
"And now he is."

重点单词   查看全部解释    
spoke [spəuk]


v. 说,说话,演说

parallel ['pærəlel]


adj. 平行的,相同的,类似的,并联的

tend [tend]


v. 趋向,易于,照料,护理

elementary [.elə'mentəri]


adj. 基本的,初级的,元素的

laborer ['leibərə]


n. 劳动者,劳工 =labourer(英)

prune [pru:n]


vt. 修剪,砍掉,削减 vi. 删除 n. 梅干,洋李

trousers ['trauzəz]


n. 裤子

corrugated ['kɔrugeitid]


adj. 缩成皱纹的,使起波状的

visible ['vizəbl]


adj. 可见的,看得见的
n. 可见物

wheat [wi:t]


n. 小麦,小麦色


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