Jeffrey LewisRussian Nuclear Security Follies

Hands up! Participants celebrate.

Reuters reports on Expedition Trophy 2005—a 15,000 km Murmansk to Vladivostok road rally through the Siberian wilderness:

Another team, called Severny Dozor (the North Watch) and made up of Russians and Americans in two Chevrolet trucks, got lost in thick forests near Saratov, ending up at a secret nuclear missile base.

“Just imagine, a team driving American-made cars with Delaware licence plates, full of sophisticated navigation devices and satellite phones, goes inside a secret compound of the Russian army,” said one of the race organisers.

“They could have been taken prisoner or even worse killed on the spot. Thank God, we managed to negotiate their release.”

Before chuckling too much, I should point out that the Tatishchevo missile field north of Saratov, according to NRDC, is Russia’s largest, containing 120 silos spread over 6,000 square km. So, its not like the whole thing is surrounded by fences or anything.