There is a possibility that the name Seversk is unfamiliar to you unless you are interested in cities that have more secrets than a spy thriller. Seversk, originally known as Tomsk-7, is not your ordinary hometown. It is tucked away in the freezing steeps of Siberia and was born out of the cloak-and-dagger days of the Cold War. Continue reading if you think this to be fascinating, and if you are interested in learning more about this city, this article provides all of the crucial information you can discover about this closed Russian city, but it is restricted in scope.
1. What are the Russian cities that are closed?
It is only in Russia that you will discover closed cities that are essentially the country’s very own top-secret hideaways. Each of these towns has a more secretive narrative than a spy thriller. Imagine if the Soviet Union had these unique cities that did not even appear on maps during the most tense times of the Cold War. These kinds of sites were like, “Now you see them, now you don’t” all the time.
It was during the time of the Soviet Union that these closed cities, also known as “ZATO” (Closed Administrative-Territorial Formations), were first established. Security was the primary motivation for their establishment, and they were often located near military sites, secret research centers, and other sensitive regions. In particular, about the arms race and nuclear development, you may think of them as the Soviet Union’s method of holding its cards close to its breast.
Residents often need special credentials to get access to the restricted area. The practice of concealment was not only a policy in these towns but also a way of life.
When we fast forward to the present day, we find that many of these cities have emerged from the shadows, at least to some degree. Some are still locked because of continuing research or military operations. In contrast, others have eased their restrictions and even opened their doors to visitors.
2. Introducing Seversk: A Brief Overview
Consider the following: a city in Russia shrouded in secrecy and where the sign that reads “Closed City” is not just for show. This is not your typical tourist destination; it is Seversk, which was once known as Tomsk-7. The name of this location seems like it was taken directly from a spy thriller.
The question is, why the secrecy? Let’s go back to 1949. In addition to being a chilly political standoff, the Cold War was also the period during which the nuclear armaments race was taking place.
Thinking about nuclear reactors and isotopes is more important than busy markets. The name of the Siberian Chemical Combine (SCC), located in Seversk, is more than enough to inform you that it is not involved in perfume production. The conduct of nuclear research and production is the primary focus of this institution. When we say that, we are referring to activities such as the manufacture of plutonium for use in nuclear weapons and the processing of nuclear fuel. Not exactly the average employment at a factory, is that correct?
In that case, what is Seversk famous for? Nevertheless, apart from the fact that it is labeled as “Top Secret,” it demonstrates the extent nations go to to ensure their national security and progress scientific knowledge. In addition to being still active, still covert, and still interesting, it is a live, breathing remnant of the Cold War that has been updated with a contemporary twist.
3. Can you get to Seversk?
So, it’s not easy at all. On the other hand, Seversk is comparable to an elite club with a bouncer who never smiles. The only way to enter is with a special authorization, which is not easy by any stretch of the imagination.
Why is there so much secrecy? It’s truly about safety and protection. Because this city is a component of Russia’s strategic facilities, the Russian government does not want visitors to walk about its top-secret nuclear activities. In this case, “Nothing to see here, folks” is more appropriate than “Welcome to Seversk.”
Regarding the economy, Seversk is comparable to a one-trick pony, but that trick is specifically nuclear research. The SCC is the center of the city’s central business district.
Because the city is in Siberia, the winters here are long, very cold, and snow-covered. At the same time, the summers are brief and of a reasonable temperature. In this environment, you will get so familiar with your snow shovel that you will call it by its first name.
It is not the most linked location to other cities, and Seversk is not one of them. Because it is a closed city, Seversk is similar to a private club. You shouldn’t simply get on a bus and travel there. Access is limited, and you must get special authorization to visit.