Friday, February 15, 2008

Russian Radio Surveillance Center

One of our Moscow-touring friends who also happen to have an admirable college education and a sharp eye for all things hi-tech, secret and Russian, has stumbled on (surely one of many) Russian Federal radio surveillance center, for decades having been tucked next to Butovo, a quaint village next to Moscow. The giant city by now has swallowed up this village and given it a subway station, but the pictures disclose an intriguing side of the Russian heartland.

As one would expect from similar outpost anywhere in the world, the most exciting, government secrecy, hi-tech installations usually occupy a non-descript, humble, pastoral house just like this

Just when our friendly photographer had finished taking the pictures, he was approached by a serious looking but polite plain-clothes officer-type, and asked for ID. Speaking perfect Russian, but having a foreign passport, our photog seemed to have placed the officer into an uncomfortable predicament, which was resolved by our photog offering to erase the pictures from the Flash card. Herein lies a comment on the IQ of Russian well-dressed gentlemanly perimeter guards. He accepted the offer smilingly and bid our photog farewell, the images safe in the camera's memory.

And just to show that this is not your average ham radio club, feast your eyes on what must be a Western-import, most probably Thomson, interferometric tracking array, adapted to one of those numerous, Russkie-ingenuous radio spectrum snooping ideas. Birch trees look Pasternak-esque, don't they?

Could anyone name this if it was an abstract sculpture at the Burning Man festival?

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