Ahead of Russia’s Victory Day (9th May), which marks the surrender of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union in 1945, let’s take a step back in time. A great example of Stalin’s power and influence can be found at his secret underground bunker, an equivalent to a twelve-story building underground!
The bunker is located south east of Moscow in Samara, which was intended to be the capital of the USSR, if Moscow fell during the Second World War. In 1941 under the threat to Moscow to be taken over by the Nazis the Soviet government made a decision to make Samara (Kuibyshev back then) the USSR’s second capital. That’s why Stalin’s bunker was built here to become a special shelter for the Chief of State.
Constructed 37 meters deep, it is thought to have taken 2,900 people nine months to build with a team of over 800 engineers. It’s amazing to think that the local people didn’t notice anything unusual in 1942, as it remained a mystery to the public until 1991 when it was finally discovered, declassified, and opened as a museum.
It should be mentioned that the depth of Hitler’s bunker in Berlin is 16 meters, Churchill’s shelter (as well as Roosevelt’s bunker) has only two floors. Moreover, Stalin’s bunker is considered to be the deepest structure created during the Second World War.
It’s amazing to think that the local people didn’t notice anything unusual in 1942, as it remained a mystery to the public until 1991 when it was finally discovered, declassified, and opened as a museum.
All the people involved in the process of building the bunker were forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement, thus even the residents of neighboring houses were unaware of what kind of facility was being built behind the high fence. The removed soil was taken away at night and the workers seldom (if ever) left the underground construction site, eating and sleeping there.
The stand-alone air regeneration system of the bunker even nowadays can provide its autonomy for five days. There is a meeting room on the lowest floor of the shelter that was designed for 115 people (stenographers, Stalin’s bodyguards and his personal secretary). Next to the meeting room you can see the recreation room of Stalin. It has parquet flooring, oak paneling on the walls, a massive table with green cloth, four false doors and two portraits of Suvorov and Kutuzov on the walls (Stalin’s most revered commanders). On the upper floors of the bunker there are the rooms for security guards and different life-support machines and warehouses. That’s incredible, but the bunker itself could withstand a direct hit by the largest aviation bombs of that time.
Located under the Academy of Culture and Skill in the centre of the city, it is open to public willing to explore the secrets of the site, equivalent to a twelve-story building underground.
Samara, a host city of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, is a vibrant city with a unique history, beautiful nature on the bank of the river Volga and magnificent wooden and art-nouveau historical centre. If this destination sounds interesting, why not get in touch with our travel team for more details?