Behind the wire: pride and paranoia in one of Russia’s closed towns; Thousands of Russian citizens live in “closed towns.” I visited one of them, Lesnoye, to find out how people live today.

Montage of Radioactivity Symbol and Russian Map with Russian Flag, adapted from images at .gov sites

( – Ivan Chesnokov – May 16, 2018) Ivan Chesnokov is a Russian freelance journalist specialising in social issues and conflicts. His work has appeared in Takie Dela, the Moscow Times, RBTH, and other publications, and he is engaged in several multimedia journalism projects. [] A shabbily dressed older man in a cap with ear flaps, looking like a character […]

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A sheltered existence: Life in Russia’s closed cities

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at

Dating back to the Soviet era, closed cities, where important strategic facilities were hidden and secured, continue to exist in today’s Russia. These cities cannot be entered without a special pass, but tourists occasionally manage to make it inside. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – – OLEG YEGOROV, SPECIAL TO RBTH – May 2, 2016) In the late 1940s, a […]

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Investment questions for Russia’s closed cities

Map of Russia

(Moscow News – – Nathan Gray – April 15, 2013) One of the most famous and secretive features of the Soviet Union, closed cities – known today in Russian as ZATOs – still dot the country, though in far fewer numbers than during the Cold War. The cities, which numbered upward of 100 throughout the different republics in the […]

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