Molniya (explosive trap)

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For other uses, see Molniya (disambiguation).

Certain buried or otherwise concealed containers used by the KGB to cache items such as shortwave radio receivers and cryptographic materials were booby-trapped with an explosive device known as Molniya ("lightning"). A sequence of specific actions had to be taken in the correct order to render the device safe prior to moving or opening the container, or the device would automatically detonate. This detonation was designed to be highly lethal to anyone in immediate proximity, as well as being sufficient to destroy all materials in the cache.

Large arms caches were allegedly hidden[when?] in many countries for planned terrorism acts. They were booby-trapped with "Molniya". One such cache, which was identified by KGB defector Vasili Mitrokhin, exploded when Swiss authorities fired upon it using a water cannon, resulting in no casualties. The device was found in the woods near Bern.[1][2]