Rust in peace: Soviet-era cars fill Russian mechanic's field

Chernousovo, Russia, Sept 27 (Reuters) - In the remote village of Chernousovo, retired mechanic Mikhail Krasinets tends to more than 300 ramshackle, Soviet-era cars, remnants of a once vibrant auto industry that crumbled with the fall of the Soviet Union.

His open-air museum, some 161 miles south of Moscow, draws a handful of car lovers and nostalgia seekers in the summer but few make the trip to the isolated location, which some say resembles an automotive graveyard.

Krasinets purchased his first car in 1981 when he worked at the AZLK factory in Moscow which produced the popular Moskvitch model, its name meaning a native of Moscow.

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Soviet-era cars fill Russian mechanic's field
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Soviet-era cars fill Russian mechanic's field
A cat sits in front of a retro car owned by retired mechanic Mikhail Krasinets at an open-air museum of Soviet-era vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Retired mechanic and retro car collector, Mikhail Krasinets speaks to visitors at an open-air museum of Soviet-era vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia September 21, 2018. Picture taken September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
A sign for an open-air museum of Soviet-era vehicles is seen on a house of retired mechanic and retro car collector, Mikhail Krasinets in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Retired mechanic and retro car collector, Mikhail Krasinets repairs a car at an open-air museum of Soviet-made vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia September 21, 2018. Picture taken September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
The Moskvich emblem is seen on a retro car owned by retired mechanic Mikhail Krasinets, which is on display at an open-air museum of Soviet-era vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
A retro car owned by retired mechanic Mikhail Krasinets is seen in the tall grass at an open-air museum of Soviet-era vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
An interior view shows a retro car owned by retired mechanic Mikhail Krasinets, which is on display at an open-air museum of Soviet-era vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Retro cars owned by retired mechanic Mikhail Krasinets are seen in the tall grass at an open-air museum of Soviet-era vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Retro cars owned by retired mechanic Mikhail Krasinets are displayed at an open-air museum of Soviet-era vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Retro cars owned by retired mechanic Mikhail Krasinets are displayed at an open-air museum of Soviet-era vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Retro cars owned by retired mechanic Mikhail Krasinets are displayed at an open-air museum of Soviet-era vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Retro cars owned by retired mechanic Mikhail Krasinets are displayed at an open-air museum of Soviet-era vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Former auto racer and retro car collector, Mikhail Krasinets looks on at an open-air museum of Soviet-made vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Retro cars owned by retired mechanic Mikhail Krasinets are displayed at an open-air museum of Soviet-made vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Retro cars owned by retired mechanic Mikhail Krasinets are displayed at an open-air museum of Soviet-made vehicles in the village of Chernousovo, Tula region, Russia August 28, 2018. Picture taken August 28, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
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Over time, his hobby began taking up more and more space and eventually Krasinets was forced to relocate his beloved vintage cars, which included Moskvitch, Volga and other models.

"In Moscow I had trouble storing my equipment," he said. "I consulted with my wife. We needed to leave and come here to our dacha."

Most of the cars in his collection are rusty and dented and parts are strewn among the maze of vehicles on the property.

But to Krasinets, they are invaluable relics of the past.

"I'd rather go hungry than sell anything," he said.

(Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; editing by Jason Neely)

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