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Soviet military legacy Latvia ordered ineptly

Twenty-five years ago, Russia began its withdrawal from Latvia - republic left the first 49 soldiers. After the departure of the former Soviet army left its legacy of numerous garrison towns, heavy duty air defense radars, mines intercontinental missiles. What was with all this property now?

Once the former Latvian SSR was more than 1000 military units, which housed about 600 military facilities. Now many of them have little left.

"The Soviet garrisons, structures and objects were officially handed over to the Latvian authorities in 1993. Everything, right up to the bolt on the windows, was in place. Something was guarded for a short time, these are the objects that the local armed forces hoped to use. Then came the period of universal robbery. It dragged everything - right up to the bolts and concrete slabs from the airfields and roads. Nobody guarded anything. Especially dragged metal, so that the mines had no chance. I know many examples when the owner of the land who found himself was the first to plunder. Then it calmed down a bit when everything was gone, and the main interest of the owners was the land, "Yuri Melkonov, the editor-in-chief of the Baltic military-historical magazine Baltfort, told the correspondent of the newspaper VIEW.

Last February, Latvia began demolishing the former Soviet nuclear missile base Dvina R12 near the village of Tirza in the Gulbene region. Once in these places was deployed 30-th rocket regiment with headquarters in the city of Aluksne, until 1982 the 23-th Guards Order of Lenin Red Banner Orlov-Berlin missile division, and later reassigned 40-X Division 50-th Army. In 1984, the regiment was disbanded due to the fact that the Dvina R-12U and Chusovaya R-14U mine-launchers that were available to it were considered obsolete. Now this once-formidable military structure is completely dismantled and processed into concrete rubble - the works will last six months, their cost is estimated at 189,9 thousand euros. Мартиньш Малниекс - the owner of demolishing company "Dismantling" - has declared mass-media, that all in territory of Latvia there were no time twelve Soviet rocket bases, including five underground. Almost all of them have already been destroyed, the object in the Gulbene region is the last.

It has been suggested that the former base should be maintained as a museum, but the Latvian authorities to seek to get rid of all Soviet military facilities, so that they are not reminded of them hated the era.

By the way, in the disgusting state for many years there are military relics not only of the Soviet period, but also of imperial times. So, after the withdrawal of the Soviet troops for nearly twenty years, the majestic fortress in Daugavpils was built, empty, gradually collapsing, built by the order of Emperor Nicholas I. In the USSR there was the Daugavpils Higher Military Aviation Engineering School named after Jan Fabricius, and in 90 the stone buildings of steel the habitat of homeless people and drug addicts. Uninhabited streets with rows of abandoned houses, black holes in loopholes on the crumbling facades of ancient bastions and mysterious dungeons - foreign experts visiting the fortress, repeatedly expressed surprise at the fact that such a significant architectural and historical monument is in disregard.

Only recently, the city government has begun to attempt to reconstruct the object, trying to attract tourists.

Latgalsky local historian Янис Кивриньш has complained to the newspaper VIEW: "Динабургская the fortress really is a unique object. This is an impressive structure with cyclopean walls, bastions, ravelins, made in the characteristic Russian Empire of the XIX century, the style of the Russian Empire. It is difficult for me even to immediately call something like this. Well, except that the fortress of Port Arthur - with the defense of which, by the way, my grandfather died ... Descendants will not forgive us if we, by their stupidity and disorderlyness, lose this monument. But out of thirty-two historic fortresses, twenty-two went through cracks. Stones start to fall out of the walls: if you look at the fortifications along the Rigas highway, you will see that the holes from the fallen stones there are gaping. "

Not in the best condition remains and the old Russian fortress Karosta in Liepaja, once built on the orders of Emperor Alexander III. Previously, there was based navy, but left the Soviet ships Karosta in August 1994 years.

"Today the former port of Emperor Alexander III is a visited tourist site. There is a gallery of modern art, a small cinema, a surf club. Excursions are conducted along the underground labyrinths of forts, coastal fortifications and inspection of the prison (which was built as a guardhouse). In these casemates served the sailors of the garrison, who participated in the events of 1905 year. The last prisoners left records on the walls of the prison cells in 1997 year. The complex of the military port has a unique architectural and cultural significance, however, most of the buildings are abandoned and gradually destroyed, "the historian Oleg Pukhlyak told the newspaper VZGLYAD.

Guide Martins Kesteris, bringing here foreign tourists, also expressed fears about the dilapidated military development of the tsarist times. "Reality, of course, is sad. As Karosta is declared a special economic zone, it means that here, according to the city's leadership, more and more should be aimed at the development of the port industry. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the unique historical territory is being destroyed. As a result, neither tourism nor the industry spoken of in self-government develops here. And by and large everything continues to crumble, "- complains Kesteris.

Also indicative is the fate of the military town in Skrunda, in the Kurzeme region. In Soviet times, there was a separate radio technical unit of the missile attack warning system. The object was created in the 1960-ies for the exploitation of the Nistru-M suprahorizon radar, which consisted of two horn antennas of length 250 and a height of 15 meters each with a two-story building of the command and control center between them. The construction of the "untimely eye" began in 1965 and was completed in January of the 1969. Coupled with a similar station near Olenegorsk, Murmansk region, the local radar monitored the western direction, tracking ballistic missile launches from NATO submarines in the Norwegian and North Seas. Information from the stations on special communication lines was transferred to the command center located in the Moscow region.

At the end of the 1970-ies, the Latvian station was modernized. First, without interrupting the operation of the existing radar station, a new type of "Dnepr" was erected a mile and a half away from it: now the detection range has reached 4000 km. Then the hardware of the first installation was also updated. In the middle of 1980-ies, the construction of a radar of the type "Daryal-UM" began on the site. According to the project, it represented two multi-storey buildings - a receiver and a transmitter, because of the high sensitivity they were separated by several hundred meters. By the beginning of the 1990-ies the construction of the plant was almost completed, equipment was being imported.

As a result of the collapse of the Soviet Republic of Latvia became the object property, its rental Russia paid 5 million dollars a year. Despite requests from Moscow, Riga refused her further operation base. In early May, the building 1995 receiving installation "Daryal" was blown up by US company Control Demolition Incorporated. In turn, the "Dnepr" station stopped working in August 31 1998 years and were removed by the end of the year 1999. During the demolition and clearing the territory of Russia paid 7 million.

In 2000, the government of Latvia allocated 1,7 million dollars for the conservation of the military town in Skrunda, and in December 2009 it was put up for auction at the starting price of 150 thousand lats (220 thousand euros, the cost of a four-room apartment in Riga). Those who wanted to buy this goods were not there, but the former military town was popular with tourists, in addition, filming was conducted there. Those who visited Skrundu said that the town gave the opportunity to "sweep" into the past, as if by a time machine: "The training center of the former military complex is now desolated, but here there are still silent testimonies of the past. Magazines of students with grades, as well as some things military. Since Soviet posters and bright slogans have already become the subject of modern art, they have largely disappeared from the campus. However, some rarities still come across: an intuitive diagram of the gas mask device, a well-preserved weapons room. In the guard room - "wallpaper", invented by the ingenious Soviet military: on the walls are pasted newspapers, and on top they are painted with oil paint. "Wallpapers" are very informative. On them you can find out what the country was living in those years. "

Recently, the "ghost town" was chosen by the Latvian army for training, and last July the head of the Ministry of Defense Raymond Bergmanis announced that a NATO polygon would be created there. Say, this territory in 45 hectares, which includes about seventy real estate objects, most of which are in poor condition (barracks, ten block houses, a school, a kindergarten, a hotel and a hospital), allows to conduct tactical exercises in an urbanized environment. In January, 2017-th alliance even posted a video on its profile in YouTube, which shows how combat trainings are held in Skrund.

At the same time in Latvia, they began to understand that it would be better to use former Soviet bunkers and landfills as "zamanuhi" for tourists than to allow them to slowly collapse. So, the country's Association of Rural Tourism has created a map of such facilities, which marked seventy places. The head of the association, Asnate Ziemele, believes that the legacy left of the Soviet army must be put in order. "Maybe now something will change. We are gradually advertising how little such facilities are equipped and protected. After all, this is undoubtedly our story - and there have always been people interested in the military legacy of the USSR, "says Ziemele.

In turn, the businessman Raivis Federovich prudently ordered the fate of the Soviet bunker in Riga Andrejosta area, built there a small museum. "I was interested in such things from childhood, when 90-e I was watching TV. Silos and army bases while showing a negative side, which, they say, is a place of heightened danger, contaminated objects. But this caused me a lot of interest. It took two decades and had the opportunity to go round these places live. As a child, could not even imagine that so many of them ", - says Raivis.

Among the exhibits of the museum it is, for example, an old mobile phone KGB cipher machine, a variety of gas masks and military uniforms. Businessman is actively engaged in the completion of its museum collection. "We are only now brought a new radio set - got it for two large three-liter cans of beer. And the man was happy that so dearly paid. This is the price he has appointed for the radio ", - says Federovich.

To him be accused of "glorifying communism" sickle-molotkastye items with symbols banned in the country, he does not put on display.

A source: LOOK

Author: Vladimir Veretennikov

Tags: Latvia, Baltic States, the USSR, Research, Army