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On April 16, 1996, the New York Times reported on a mysterious military base being constructed in Russia: "In a secret project reminiscent of the chilliest days of the Cold War, Russia is building a mammoth underground military complex in the Ural Mountains, Western officials and Russian witnesses say.
Hidden inside Yamantau mountain in the Beloretsk area of the southern Urals, the project involved the creation of a huge complex, served by a railroad,a highway, and thousands of workers."
The New York Times article quotes Russian officials describing the underground compound variously as a mining site, a repository for Russian treasures, a food storage area, and a bunker for Russia's leaders in case of nuclear war.
It would seem that the Russian Parliament knows as little about Russian underground bases as the Congress knows about Mount Weather in the United States. "The (Russian) Defense Ministry declined to say whether Parliament has been informed about the details of the project, like its purpose and cost, saying only that it receives necessary military information," according to the New York Times.
"We can't say with confidence what the purpose is, and the Russians are not very interested in having us go in there," a senior American official said in Washington. "It is being built on a huge scale and involves a major investment of resources. The investments are being made at a time when the Russians are complaining they do not have the resources to do things pertaining to arms control."