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Does the revival of bunkermania in Russia and America herald a new Cold War?15 February 2017
During the 1950s Americans grew obsessed with the radioactive catastrophe they feared would ensue in the event of a nuclear war with the Soviets. Many built backyard bunkers stocked with enough food, water, and survival gear to keep them alive for years.
Now, as news trickles out about the network of underground facilities built to shelter Russia’s elites from nuclear war, bunkers are in vogue in Russia too.
The latest outbreak of bunkermania started last fall, when Russian media began asking people if they were ready for nuclear war.
Shortly before the warning from a man known as the “Kremlin’s chief propagandist,” Russian authorities held nationwide civil defense drills to prepare the public for catastrophes, including nuclear fallout, ABC reported.
Then came reports of Soviet-era underground cities and guarded confirmation of Russia’s current nuclear safety net.
Although “secret bunkers and special cities” are under the command of the FSB intelligence bureau and the Main Directorate of Special Programs within the presidential administration, information sometimes seeps out, mainly from declassified KGB documents, reported Russia Beyond the Headlines (RBTH), one of Russian state media’s more reliable outlets.
The news site Gazeta.ru claimed that underground residences for the president and military leaders are located in the closed city of Mezhgorie, near Mount Yamantau in the southern Ural mountains, according to RBTH.
Built during the Cold War, the complex is often mentioned in the media as “Putin’s bunker,” Gazeta.ru noted.
Washington has apparently taken note. In its defense authorization act for 2017, the U.S. Congress commissioned a report on Russian and Chinese plans to ensure the survival of their political and military leaders in an emergency.
Ordered before Donald Trump took office, the study was supported by lawmakers from both parties who are concerned by the more aggressive military policies being pursued by both countries, Bloomberg reported.
Specifically, Congress tasked the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence to report on “the location and description of above-ground and underground facilities important to the political and military leadership survivability, command and control, and continuity of government programs and activities of each respective country.”
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