Last week, Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister in charge of the defense industry, called for reviving the old Cold War practice of training civilians on how to respond in the event of a large-scale nuclear attack. Recreating civil defense would mean that the population “could avoid colossal losses” if “subject to that kind of aggression.”
During the Cold War, Russia built—and still has—an extensive system of bomb shelters. Compulsory civil defense training for the population, including schoolchildren, was discontinued under Gorbachev.
The U.S. never built such a system of shelters, states Jane M. Orient, M.D., president of Physicians for Civil Defense, and the remnants of our rudimentary program were dismantled under Bill Clinton.
The Russians, in fact, never ceased preparations for nuclear war, according to a report in March 2015. A massive underground complex in the Ural Mountains, estimated to be approximately 400 square miles in size, is roughly as big as the area inside the Washington D.C. Beltway, writes Tyler Durden.
Russia cites tensions in Ukraine and Syria, and U.S. tests of a potential anti-missile defense shield, as reasons for intensified concern. The Russians have had an anti-missile defense around Moscow for decades, and have been developing a new system based on the new S-500 missile, which reportedly can also target low orbital satellites, according to Durden.
Despite devastating economic problems (compounded by U.S. sanctions), Russia has been re-arming at a furious pace, writes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. The military budget for 2014 rose 8.1% in real terms, and is to rise by another 15% this year, led by a 60% surge in arms procurement.
The U.S. is continuing its policy of leaving civilians totally vulnerable and ignorant, though millions could be saved by basic knowledge alone, Orient states.
Physicians for Civil Defense distributes information to help to save lives in the event of war or other disaster.