The Wandering Scot

An occasional travel journal.

Browsing Posts tagged USSR

I’ve been visiting the old Soviet nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk, aka “the Polygon”. The site isn’t actually as bad as its rather dire historic reputation – the last 25 years have seen a lot of clean up and containment. The worst areas have either been scraped off and buried, or are fenced off. To […]

Moscow: Vostok-1

To my gleeful amazement, I unexpectedly ran across Gagarin’s Vostok-1 capsule yesterday! I was out wandering in Moscow and at the VDNKh exhibition center I discovered a newly opened museum “Cosmos”. It turns out to be a big new Space Technology museum. And sitting in the lobby was the original Gagarin Vostok-1 capsule. Oh wow!  […]

Perm-36 Gulag Museum

Perm-36 is the last surviving Gulag camp, now the “Museum of the History of Political Repression“, about 90km East of Perm. It was abandoned in 1988, became extremely dilapidated, then was reclaimed as a Museum in 1994 and partially restored. So what is visible today is a mix of original buildings and reconstructions. It is […]

Moscow’s Gulag Museum

Moscow’s Gulag History Museum has moved to a new, larger, building with new exhibits and a new narrative. The building’s exterior is deliberately stark and austere, even forbidding. The interior exhibition space has been given a distinctly prison-like style. It is mostly one large multi-level hall, with many side rooms for specific topics.   The […]

You enter through the basement blast doors and then ride the tiny elevator 11 levels down into the armored control silo. You and one of your comrades man the launch control consoles. A quick consultation, then 1-2-3 you each turn your launch key and simultaneously push your launch button. And the SS-24 ICBM roars into […]

Samara: Stalin Bunker

I am in Samara, where I have successfully infiltrated the Stalin Bunker. The bunker was build in great secrecy and in great haste in 1941, when Moscow was in danger and Kuibyshev (aka Samara) was the fallback Soviet capital.  But Moscow survived and Stalin chose to stay in the city even during its most dangerous […]