Russian calls for Cold War civil defence training

2015-10-31 00:11


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Novo Ogaryovo - Russia's authorities should revive the old Cold War practice of training civilians on how to respond in the event of a large-scale nuclear attack, a senior government official said on Friday.

Speaking after a meeting of Russia's security council chaired by President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister in charge the defence industry, said the United States was upsetting the nuclear balance by developing new weapons systems.

Russia had no choice but to react to the aggressive capabilities of the United States, he said.

"Measures for countering the aggressor could include those that concern Russia's strategic nuclear capability, that is reciprocal measures so that, God forbid, no one gets a crazy idea in their head," Rogozin said.

There could be other measures "so that the population, if they were subject to that kind of aggression, could avoid colossal losses. ... Civil defence should be recreated," he said.

Nuclear arms

During the Cold War, Soviet authorities built a system of bomb shelters in case of a nuclear attack and school children were trained how to put on protective masks. Posters telling people how to respond hung in schools and workplaces.

Many Soviet citizens were sceptical that any of the precautions could save them if there was an attack, but the training, known as civil defence, was compulsory.

The practice was abandoned under the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who with US leaders negotiated a programme of nuclear arms cuts that eased tensions.

But under Putin, relations between Washington and Moscow have soured, with the two sides at loggerheads over the conflict in Ukraine, ways to end the crisis in Syria and human rights issues.

Read more on:    russia

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