|Built by||Soviet Union|
|Garrison||129th independent Radio-Technical Unit |
Skrunda-1, also known as Skrunda-2, is a ghost town and former Soviet radar station located 5 km (3 mi) to the north of Skrunda, in Raņķi Parish, Latvia. It was the site of two Dnepr radar (NATO "Hen House") radar installations constructed in the 1960s. A Daryal radar was being built there before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Skrunda was strategically important to the Soviet Union as its radars covered Western Europe. The two barn-like radars were one of the most important Soviet early warning radar stations for listening to objects in space and for tracking possible incoming ICBMs.
Pursuant to an agreement On the Legal Status of the Skrunda Radar Station During its temporary Operation and Dismantling, signed by Latvia and the Russian Federation on 30 April 1994, the Russian Federation had been allowed to run the radar station for four years, after which it was obliged to dismantle the station within eighteen months. The deadline for dismantling was 29 February 2000. Russia asked Latvia to extend the lease on the Dnepr station at Skrunda for at least two years, until the new Volga station under construction near Baranovichi in Belarus became operational. Riga rejected these requests, and the radar was verified closed on 4 September 1998 by an inspection team from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
On May 5th 1995 American demolition experts blew up a 19-storey tower in Skrunda-1. It housed a former Soviet Daryal radar system, one of the most advanced bistatic early-warning radars in the world. It served as one of the USSR's most important radar stations as it was responsible for scanning skies to the west for incoming bombers or nuclear missiles before the USSR disintegrated. The event spilled tens of thousands of Latvian people onto country roads and fields to watch the early morning spectacle, which was also televised nationwide. Latvian leaders, diplomats and other officials toasted the blast with champagne. The demolition was sponsored by the United States, the Soviet Union's main nuclear rival, as they paid 7 million US dollars for the destruction, while the US-based firm Controlled Demolition, Inc. was hired for the destruction job.
In a joint New Year 1998 statement, the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania urged Russian President Boris Yeltsin to complete the pullout of all Russian troops from the region, as Russia had promised four years prior in 1994.
All materials of value were removed from the site and carried back to Russia when the last Russian troops left in 1998; the 60 buildings that comprised the former complex and town, including apartment blocks, a school, barracks and an officers club, remained. The dilapidated buildings were still standing in 2010.
The Latvian government decided to sell the Skrunda-1 site in 2008, and on 5 February 2010, the entire 40-hectare (99-acre) former town was sold as a single lot at auction in Riga. The starting bid was 150,000 lats (290,000 USD; 211,000 EUR). The winning bid was by Russian firm Alekseevskoye-Serviss for 1.55 million lats (3.1 million USD; 2.2 million EUR). The auction, which lasted two hours, was also contested by another Russian firm, as well as a bidder from Azerbaijan.
In 2015 the site was bought by Skrunda Municipality for €12,000. Around half the area has been handed over to the Latvian National Armed Forces as a training ground. The remainder is to be leased by the local government with the stipulation that potential investors develop the area economically. Demolition of selected derelict buildings has since commenced.
From February 2016 in response to increased interest at the site, the municipality began charging an entrance fee of 4 euros for individuals.
Skrunda 1 is now (21.10.2018) closed for visitors.
- "Raņķu pagasta teritorijas plānojums" (PDF) (in Latvian). Raņķu pagasta padome, Kuldīgas attīstības aģentūra. 2007. p. 20. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
kā arī bijušais ciems Skrunda–1 (Līdumnieki, Lokators), kura teritorija patlaban ir neapdzīvota
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