Russia secretly inspects its bomb shelters

Russian authorities are conducting a large-scale, non-public campaign to inspect and prepare for use bomb shelters in cities across the country, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the situation. According to them, the “quiet” work involved government officials whose task it was to check basements and other protected buildings that had been idle for more than three decades.

The moves are part of a broader effort by authorities to ensure civil defense infrastructure is ready in the event of a wider conflict. The campaign has not been formally announced and is not linked to specific threats or plans to use civil defense infrastructure, the people said. But after the Kremlin’s sudden call-up of 300,000 reservists, which began in September, was marred by bureaucratic errors and failures, authorities are taking no chances with other war-related preparations. The situation with the search for bomb shelters is another example of how the war, now in its ninth month, is causing a wider militarization of Russian society. Kremlin officials have portrayed the war as an existential war between Russia and the United States, a characterization that Washington rejects. Russian education officials said this week that they will restore basic Soviet-era military training in schools across the country starting next year.

The aim of the measures is to ensure that civil protection facilities are ready in the event of widespread conflict, sources told Bloomberg. The campaign, according to them, is not linked to specific threats or plans, although it is carried out without informing the public.

It looks like a federal order, – said Mykhailo Vinogradov, analyst of the Petersburg Policy Foundation. — But it could also be an attempt by all these civil protection agencies to demonstrate their usefulness and that they are really doing something“.

In several Russian regions near the war zone, officials have publicly confirmed that measures are being taken to prepare bomb shelters. In April, top Kremlin security official Mykola Patrushev ordered a full inventory of bomb shelters in southern Russia, demanding the return of anything seized from federal property. But checks and inspections of civil defense facilities, which in Soviet times were usually built in the basements of apartment buildings, schools and government offices, are taking place in cities across the country, according to people familiar with the situation.

Information about some of them occasionally leaks out on social media, prompting local authorities to deny any special campaign. One real estate agent in Moscow said some of her clients have begun to wonder if the apartments she offers have bomb shelters because they now see them as a valuable asset.

We will remind you that trenches are already being dug in Crimea: the Russians fear a counteroffensive by the Armed Forces on the peninsula.


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