Is there a Secret Russian Nuclear Base Beneath Mount Yamantau?

There is rumoured to be a top secret military base beneath Mount Yamantau in the Ural Mountains of Bashkortostan, Russia (Image: Tsibin Konstantin; Mount Yamantau in the Ural Mountains)

Mount Yamantau is a part of the Ural mountain range near Bashkortostan in Russia, a wild and brooding landscape where craggy peaks reach high into a cloud-filled sky, and for years, rumours have circulated about a top secret base built beneath the remote range.

Beginning in the 1990s, satellite images appeared to pick up major excavations underway in the area surrounding the 5,380 ft Mount Yamantau, which also includes the military closed town of Mezhgorye. Inquiries into the excavations have resulted in myriad responses from the Russian government, none of which have entirely satisfied western governments.

Russia has offered up a number of seemingly-conflicting explanations for the shadowy site’s purpose in response to ongoing US questioning. The Kremlin has variously claimed that the site is a large-scale mining operation, an emergency bunker for Russian leaders, a repository for the nation’s most valued treasures, and even a food storage bunker. But when probed further by foreign media outlets, the Defense Ministry declined to comment.

Mount Yamantau and the closed town of Mezhgorye deep in the Ural Mountains, rumoured location of a top secret Russian nuclear facility (Image: via Google Earth; Mount Yamantau and the closed town of Mezhgorye)

The Mount Yamantau complex – whatever it may be – appears to be vast in scope. In 1996, several years after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the New York Times reported that thousands of workers were involved in the building of what the west suspected to be a subterranean nuclear facility, and that an entire railway and highway system have been constructed to support it.

Some reports suggest that construction began on the facility beneath Mount Yamantau (the highest peak in the southern Urals) as early as the 1970s, and continued for decades before coming under the scrutiny of western surveillance satellites.

Some Clinton administration officials believed it may be a command and control centre as well as a nuclear bunker for Russian officials, making it defensive in nature. But they also speculated that it could be a wartime production facility to be deployed in the event of a nuclear strike, or a storage site for clandestine weapons of mass destruction.

The potential purpose of the mysterious construction beneath the Ural Mountains was a delicate one for the Clinton administration. Officials and analysts were concerned that millions of dollars of US aid to Russia – provided in a bid to assist the financially-starved country dismantle its Cold War nuclear weapons – could be funding new weapons production, in breach of arms limitation treaties and beyond the needs of national defence.

The closed town of Mezhgorye in the Republic of Bashkortostan, Russia (Image: Pesotsky; entrance to the closed military town of Mezhgorye)

The shadowy facility beneath Mount Yamantau, in the vast mountain range that separates Europe and Asia, has resurfaced in the press at various points over the years. In a 2015 article, ETF Daily News asked whether “Russia has constructed massive underground shelters in anticipation of nuclear war” and cited a Russian television report claiming that “5,000 new emergency nuclear bomb shelters were scheduled to have been completed in the city of Moscow alone by the end of 2012”.

With Russia not talking, the precise nature of the massive underground construction project – which is claimed to encompass an area as large as Washington, DC inside the Beltway – deep in the Urals remains shrouded in secrecy.

Related – Top Secret Tombs: The Classified Stealth Aircraft Burial Grounds of Area 51

 

About the author: Debra Kelly

 

 
 
 


 
 

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