November 22nd, 2012

  • luvdovz

Russia's secret towns

There are entire towns in Russia with an access regime resembling that of concentration camps. Their residents don't have the right to host guests at home, except on some extraordinary occasions. There are currently 42 publicly acknowledged "closed cities" (as they're called) in Russia, with a total population of 1.5 million people. Most of them are administered by the Ministry of Defense, some by the Federal Atomic Energy Agency. There are allegedly another 15 closed cities around Siberia, but their location remains a state secret.

Take Ozyorsk for example. It's in the Chelyabinsk Oblast in the Urals, some 1600 km away from Moscow. The "Mayak" (Lighthouse) plant is located next to the town, where nuclear waste is being processed. In Soviet times the Mayak used to produce plutonium for the nuclear bombs of the Russkies. In 1957 a huge accident happened there, a container with 80 tons of radioactive waste exploded. Thousands of people across the Urals were evacuated, many subsequently died. Even today large portions of the mountain separating Europe from Asia are uninhabited. But that's not a story many people in the West have heard, although it was as serious as Chernobyl.

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