The 14,000 square metres military complex at the Nagurskoye base on Franz Josef Land in the Russian Arctic. Photo: mil.ru

Russia erects huge military trefoil on Franz Josef Land

With 14,000 square metres, the complex is the largest building in the high Arctic, even larger than Norway’s University Centre in Svalbard.
October 20, 2015

The Northern fleet, in Command of Russia’s Arctic military build-up, has published a series of photos of its new administrative and housing complex on the Alexandra Land in the northwestern part of the archipelago.

The huge building, painted like the tricolor flag, will provide living and working conditions for 150 servicemen.

Missile units on combat duty
This week, Russia’s Defence Ministry published the first photos from the new complex. Simultaneously, the Ministry posted photos of Northern fleet Commander Admiral Vladimir Korolev visiting the Alexandra Land checking the anti-aircraft missile units that already are on combat duty.

“Units are on combat duty at the Russian Federation’s northernmost location, they are combat ready and able to meet the challenges of its mission.”

Admiral Vladimir Korolev

Located at 80 degrees north, the Nagurskoye military complex is the largest human made structure so far north. The building is 2,000 square metres bigger than the University Centre in Longyearbyen on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, inaugurated in 2006. Longyearbyen is located at 78 degrees north.

In 2010, Nagurskoye base on Franz Josef Land was visted by Vladimir Putin, those days Prime Minister of Russia.

Guarantee for national security
Last winter, Defence Minister Sergei Shoygu said one of the prioritized areas for the military is development of military infrastructure in the Arctic.

“A constant military presence in the Arctic and a possibility to protect the state’s interest by military means are regarded as an intergral part of the general policy to guarantee national security,” Shoygu said according to Russia’s military TV-channel Zvezda.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to information posted on the Defence Ministry’s portal, the complex on Alexandra Land is today 97 percent completed and will be completed in 2016.

Designed for autonomy
The four to five store tall trefoil complex has fuel and lubricant depots, storages for food and clothing, sewage facilities and garages for maintenance of equipment. all designed to operate in extreme cold Arctic climate.

Russia has over the last few years increased its military presence in the Arctic. Another complex is built on the Kotelny Island of the New Siberian Islands, a location where the Northern fleet conducted a military landing exercise earlier this autumn. 

From before, the entire archipelago of Novaya Zemlya is closed off military areas, including the nuclear weapon test site at the Matohkin Strait and an attached airfield. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement

ADVERTISEMENT