Index

U.S. Firm To Demolish Skrunda Radar Station 4 May

Moscow NTV 23 Apr 95
[Report by "Segodnya" correspondents Dmitriy Novikov and Juris Benders]

This former Soviet secret installation was built in the 1980's, 150 km from Riga, in the small town of Skrunda. The 60-meter structure was to have been one of the most important Soviet stations for listening to objects in space. At the beginning of the 1990's, construction of the station was put on ice. After the withdrawal of Russian troops from Latvia, the authorities of this Baltic state announced the destruction of the unfinished radar station. Preparatory work is now being completed here. An American demolition firm will blow up the radar station. Its representative Tom (Dold) is sure that it will be one of the most beautiful explosions in the world. He says that in 12 seconds 1.5 tonnes of dynamite will turn the former Soviet symbol of military superiority into a heap of rubble.

Local residents called this military building a monster. In the 1980's after construction of the radar station came to an end, several agreed to return home. They thought that living near a working radar station was very dangerous for them, because in the event of any international military conflict opponents usually destroy such installations first. The radar station was built over a decade. Most of the work was done by military constructors. The Americans preparing to demolish the building say that the construction of some of the interior rooms of the station will probably remain a secret to them.

According to information from several well-informed sources, NATO military consultants proposed the demolition of this former Soviet radar station to official Riga. These sources think that in return, the North Atlantic Alliance will be prepared to consider offering Latvia certain security guarantees. Explosives were delivered here last night. The radar station will be surrounded by police on the day of the explosion, 4 May. It is not ruled out that Latvian President Ulmanis will come especially to detonate the explosion.