Kremlin orders inspections, repair of bomb shelters across Russia – media
A bomb shelter in Russia (Photo:Flickr)
Bomb shelters across Russia are undergoing inspections and repairs following a Kremlin order to upgrade the country’s crumbling Soviet-era infrastructure, Russian online newspaper The Moscow Times reported on Feb. 6.
Referring to current and former officials, the newspaper said the checks and repairs began after the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and will continue into this year, even in Russia’s Far East regions, more than 7,000 kilometers from frontlines in Ukraine.
According to the newspaper, many of Russia’s thousands of bunkers, reinforced cellars and other safe hideouts have been mothballed for decades. But as the war in Ukraine drags on, local authorities appear to be spending hundreds of millions of rubles to again make them fit for habitation.
“A decision to inspect the network of bomb shelters was made by the government in the spring,” said one Russian official, citing knowledge of government meetings that have taken place on the subject.
“The command for a large-scale inspection and to put things right was given by the Emergency Situations Ministry, the Defense Ministry and (other) civilian ministries.”
For example, local authorities in the southern Krasnodar Krai will reportedly spend over 6 million rubles ($260,000) on bomb shelters this year, while 50 million rubles ($712,000) will be spent in Nizhny Novgorod and almost a million rubles ($14,240) in the city of Ryazan.
The journalists said that the Kremlin’s problem is that most of the country’s bomb shelters, which are supposed to be maintained by local authorities, have been left in a state of disrepair or abandoned since the Soviet Union collapsed.
“No one needed them (bomb shelters) after the collapse of the Soviet Union,” an official in one western Russian region told journalists.
“But now, due to the situation on the frontlines, the Kremlin has ordered for everything to be sorted out.”
Oleg Ignatov, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group NGO, said “after mobilization, (upgrading bomb shelters) looks like a required measure and an expression of concern on behalf of the state toward ordinary people.”
Hundreds of government tenders appear on the official portal for tenders, Zakupki.gov.ru, seeking companies to bid for bomb shelter upgrade contracts in regions all over the country.
Tenders include those for ventilation repair, waterproofing, door replacement, and air filter and lighting installation.
One former official who spoke to the newspaper linked the state’s newfound interest in bomb shelters to heightened fears of nuclear war following Putin’s order to put Russia’s nuclear forces on “high alert” at the end of February.
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