Samara Stalin's Bunker

In 1941, when the Great Patriotic War broke out, because of the threat of Moscow occupation by Nazi troops, a secret decree on the construction of shelters in Russia’s several cities was released. Among these cities was also Samara, known as Kuibyshev at the time. A few months later, in February 1942, Samara started the construction of a special shelter for the Chief of State under the Kuibyshev Regional Committee building.

It involved 2900 workers, 800 engineers and technicians and took six months to build a unique bunker at a depth of 37 meters. During this period, about 25,000 cubic meters of earth was removed and over 5,000 cubic meters of concrete was cast. As the planning basis for bunker was taken “Airport” Moscow metro station, but the bunker in Samara had its own peculiar features. Behind an inconspicuous door of the present Academy of Culture and Arts building there used to be an upper platform with a down stair and an elevator. At the depth of 14 meters there was a level with the life-support systems and living premises for the bunker staff. From this level a 23-meter staircase led to the lower level which housed headquarters for military authorities.

In the course of bunker construction, all the people involved in the process were forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement, thus the residents of neighboring houses were unaware of what kind of facility was being built behind the high fence. The removed soil was taken away at night, and many workers seldom, if ever, left the underground construction site, eating and sleeping there. When the construction was over and the facility was put into operation, NKVD officers were pulling duty around the clock at the inconspicuous door. The “Confidential” classification marking was annulled from the bunker as late as 1990.

Located under the Academy of Culture and Arts building, the Stalin's bunker today became one of the most unusual Samara’s sights. This underground structure is associated with some legends, according to which the bunker is connected by tunnels with other important facilities in Samara, and it has Stalin’s private office with a lot of false doors.