The Closed Cities Of Russia

Entrance_to_ozersk

Inherited from the Soviet Union, these cities host important sites of the atomic, metallurgical, chemical and military industries.

They are called “forbidden cities” and “closed cities”, a Soviet phenomenon that still exists today. In modern Russia, most of these cities are now open, or almost …

The concept of “closed city” appeared in the USSR in the late 1940s and had a strict purpose: to serve the interests of large industrial groups, the army, or major research institutions. These are areas of production or extraction of minerals and natural gas in large quantities. It was not worth seeking these “economic boosters” on Soviet maps because they were not included. Simply designated by postal code, the closed cities were kept secret for long periods of time. Today most of them are known.

Russia has 42 of them. Together with the collapse of the Soviet State, they ceased to be secret, but it is likely there are more, unknown yet. They are called “ZATO” (closed administrative territorial entities). Surrounded by barbed wire, protected by armed guards, the entry of these secret areas is strictly forbidden to foreigners. Such prohibited cities are located in remote areas, without any official way to access them. To enter there, the Russians must have special permission. Moving out of these closed cities is also not easy, as you need a special document from the authorities.

One of them is the city of Ozersk. The “Mayak” processing center for storing nuclear waste is located near Ozersk, at about 1000 miles near Moscow. During the Soviet Era, Mayak was one of the main producers of plutonium for the nuclear arsenal. In 1957 a container with 80 tons of radioactive waste exploded there.

Sign at Ozersk reads "Contaminated zone. Entrance is prohibited" Image via svoboda.org

Sign at Ozersk reads “Contaminated zone. Entrance is prohibited” Image via svoboda.org

Thousands of residents were evacuated from the area, and many have perished since. Even now, large areas in the Ural region are uninhabited.

The Mayak center no longer produces plutonium, but today everything that happens in and around the city of Ozersk is strictly classified as a military secret. Civil and military production are still closely linked.

Zheleznogorsk, Krasnoyarsk Krai

0_2badc_44190260_XL

0_2bade_173707cb_XL

0_2badf_fc9162eb_XL

0_9b009_3a0b4d3f_XXXL

0_2790b_fc1b5bdd_XL

0_5885e_c03c84d7_XXL

0_27903_2476bd94_XL

0_27907_fc072c37_XL

0_27908_bd1c6a74_XL

0_42562_60e0ef5b_XL

0_42563_58dabaf5_XL

0_58860_1e661ed9_XXL

a4f76b2119a3

b21135800875

The city of Seversk.

_MG_5356

_MG_5378

0_4b57b_3735b5f3_XL

0_4b579_baf92381_XL

Sarov.

Sarov

f42c80cc2b03

f1d4ab746aa4

e9476f7a45fa

dddf2cca9298

c657c90711e0

90e638dba357

26fd3a816155

7cd93fc9c9d0

4a25be935edc

Sculpture of Checkpoint in the closed city of Zarechny

Sculpture of Checkpoint in the closed city of Zarechny

Images via skyscrapercity.com

Add Comment