Closed ghost town, abandoned by scientists
• Indoor ghost town, abandoned by scientists
Almost 45 years on the godforsaken island in the Aral Sea there was a Soviet Center for Testing and biological weapons. Residential town with a school, shops, post office, dining room, science labs, and, of course, a polygon, which hosted large-scale trials of deadly biological agents, including anthrax, plague, tularemia, brucellosis, typhoid. In the early 1990s, after the collapse of the USSR military threw in the Aral sands and the city, and a polygon. Onliner.by tells about the history and present of the top-secret Renaissance Island, which is an ecological disaster in the Aral Sea has turned into a peninsula ghost.
Back in the late 1920s, the command of the Workers and Peasants' Red Army worried about the choice of location for the research center for the development of biological weapons, and ground for his trial. The task of the proletarian revolution to spread to the whole world is still on the agenda, and shells with lethal strains inside could speed up the construction of the state of workers and peasants on a planetary scale. For this good purpose it was necessary to pick up a relatively large island with distance from the coast at least 5-10 kilometers. We are looking for a suitable candidate even on the lake, but in the end decided to stay at three sites: the Solovetsky Islands in the White Sea and the islands of single Gorodomlya at Lake Seliger and the Renaissance in the Aral Sea.
The main pre-war center for the study of this important issue has become located in the Tver region Gorodomlya island, is in a relatively close to the capital of the USSR. In the years 1936-1941 it was placed here translated from Suzdal monasteries and to obey military-chemical control of the Red Army 3rd test laboratory, the main center for the Soviet biological weapons. However, The Great Patriotic War demonstrated convincingly that such institutions should continue to create much farther from the borders of the USSR with likely opponents.
Renaissance Island suited for this task perfectly. This deserted piece of land in the Aral Sea, undrained salt lake on the border of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, was opened in 1848. Lifeless archipelago, where there was no fresh water, for some unimaginable reason, called the Royal Islands and its component parts - Nikolai islands, Constantine and heir. That Nicholas, optimistic (and perhaps ironically) renamed the island of the Renaissance, after the war became a top-secret Soviet base-polygon for testing at the service of the homeland fatal diseases.
The island area of about 200 square kilometers with a glance to satisfy all safety requirements: practically uninhabited surroundings, flat terrain, hot climate, unsuitable for the survival of pathogenic organisms.
In the summer of 1936 is the first expedition landed military biologists led by Professor Ivan Velikanov, father of the Soviet bacteriological program. The island was taken from the NKVD, deported kulaks and exiled here in the next year have tested some biological agents that are based on tularemia, plague and cholera. Complicated work of repression, which has undergone a chemical management Military of the Red Army (the Giants, for example, was shot dead in 1938), and were suspended for the duration of World War II, to be resumed again with even greater zeal after its completion.
In the northern part of the island Kantubek military camp was built, officially called Aralsk-7. Overall, it was similar to hundreds of others of their peers that have arisen in the vast Soviet Union: a dozen of houses officers and scientific staff, club, dining room, stadium, shops, barracks and parade ground, its own power. So Aralsk-7 looked at the picture of the American spy satellite late 1960s.
Near the village and built a unique airfield "Dune", the only one in the Soviet Union, which had four runways resembling its location compass rose. On the island is always a strong wind blows, sometimes changing its direction. Depending on the current weather aircraft landed on a particular band.
In total there were up to a thousand military and their families. It was, in fact, the usual garrison life, features which were perhaps that special secret facility and not too comfortable climate. Children go to school, their parents are in the service in the evenings watching a movie in the house officers, and weekend picnics on the shore of the Aral Sea, which until the mid-1980s still really was like the sea.
Kantubek in its heyday. With the closest town to the "mainland", the Aral, a message carried by sea. Barges brought here and the fresh water, which is then stored in a special huge reservoirs on the outskirts of the village.
A few kilometers from the village was built laboratory complex (PLMS-52 - 52nd Field Research Laboratory), where, among other things, contained and experimental animals, becoming the main victims of the tests carried out here. Scale Research shows the following fact. In the 1980s, especially for them in Africa through the Foreign Trade of the USSR, they have bought a batch of 500 monkeys. All of them eventually became victims of tularemia microbe strain, after which their bodies burned, and the resulting ashes were buried on the island.
The southern part of the island occupied the actual test site. This is where the shells were blown or sprayed from an aircraft pathogenic strains based on anthrax, plague, tularemia, Q fever, brucellosis, glanders, other dangerous infections, as well as a large number of artificially created biological agent.
Location landfill in the south was conditioned by the nature of the prevailing winds on the island. Formed as a result of the test aerosol cloud is actually a weapon of mass destruction, applied by the wind to the opposite side of town from the military, and then compulsorily carried out anti-epidemic measures and decontamination of the territory. Hot climate with regular forty-degree heat was an additional factor in ensuring the security of military biologists most bacteria and viruses killed by prolonged exposure to high temperatures. All the experts who participated in the trials were held and mandatory quarantine.
At the same time activation of the post-war military and scientific works on the island of Renaissance Soviet leadership was necessary at first imperceptible beginning of an ecological catastrophe, which led ultimately to the enormous degradation of the Aral Sea. The main source of lake-sea power were Amudarya and Syrdarya. In total, the two largest rivers in Central Asia delivered to the Aral Sea about 60 cubic kilometers of water per year. In 1960, the waters of these rivers have started to understand reclamation channels - it was decided to transform the surrounding desert into a garden and grow there is a right to the national economy cotton. The result was not long in coming: the cotton crop, of course, has grown, but the Aral Sea has rapidly shallow.
In the early 1970s, the number of river water reached the sea, reduced by one third, after another decade of the Aral Sea began to receive only 15 cubic kilometers per year, and in the mid-1980s, this figure does fall to 1 cubic kilometers . By 2001 godu sea level dropped by 20 meters, the amount of water decreased by 3 times, the water surface area - 2 times. The Aral Sea was divided into two unconnected large and many small lakes. Subsequently shallowing process continued.
Renaissance area of the island with the sea as shoaling beginning to grow rapidly - and in 1990 increased almost 10 times. Royal island first merged into one island, and in the 2000s he joined with the "mainland" and became, in fact, a peninsula.
finally "buried" test site on Vozrozhdeniye Island disintegration of the USSR. Weapons of mass destruction has become a maloaktualnuyu in post-Soviet realities of the essence, and in November 1991 the military-biological laboratory Aralsk-7 was closed. The population of the village has been evacuated for a few weeks, the entire infrastructure (housing and laboratory) equipment were thrown Kantubek turned into a ghost town.
Place the military quickly took looters, in their own way have estimated left the army and scientists wealth of the former top-secret research center. All that represent though any value and thus amenable to dismantling and transportation, have been removed from the island. Kantubek-Aralsk-7 has become an elusive dream of fans of ghost towns.
The streets of the town Soviet military biologists, where two decades ago with a small garrison life flowed steadily.
The children will never go to this school.
reservoir of fresh water, is delivered with the "mainland".
Former shop Voentorg.
In contrast to the Chernobyl exclusion zone, there can be no risk to health. Biological threat is far less hardy than the radiation, although environmentalists still beat the alarm because of the continuing existence of the former landfill burial sites with the remains of dead animals during the test.
However, sometimes landscapes still resemble the neighborhood so far Ukrainian Pripyat.
Renaissance Island with its mysterious history and a top-secret apocalyptic present could not help but be interested developers of computer games, landed in one of the episodes of Call of Duty: Black Ops.
beneaped Aral Sea opens a wide scope for exploration activities. Already in 1990 there was opened the field of oil, gas, rare non-ferrous metals. Their active development on the one hand, and the transformation of the Renaissance of the island into a peninsula on the other hand make it more and more likely to touch more and more people from the military biological laboratories.
And although the military and civilian authorities claim that all the necessary security measures with respect to the former range have been taken in a timely manner, we can only guess what else might hide in the bowels of the Renaissance island and how unpleasant for mankind may be the surprises.