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Skrunda-1 is located in Latvia
Coordinates56°43′00″N 21°59′00″E / 56.716667°N 21.983333°E / 56.716667; 21.983333
TypeRadar station
Site information
Site history
Built1963 (1963)
Built bySoviet Union
Garrison information
Garrison129th independent Radio-Technical Unit [1]

Skrunda-1,[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.[2]

Military installation[edit]

Skrunda in 2016

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,[3] 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.[4] 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.[5][6]

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.[7]

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.[citation needed]

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.[8] 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.[9] The starting bid was 150,000 lats (290,000 USD; 211,000 EUR).[10] The winning bid was by Russian firm Alekseevskoye-Serviss for 1.55 million lats (3.1[11] 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.[12]

The winning bidder pulled out of the auction, as did the runner up.[13] The town was reauctioned in June 2010 for only 170,000 Lats.[14]

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.[15][16] Demolition of selected derelict buildings has since commenced.[17]

From February 2016 in response to increased interest at the site, the municipality began charging an entrance fee of 4 euros for individuals.[18]

Skrunda 1 is now (21.10.2018) closed for visitors.


  1. ^ "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
  2. ^ Podvig, Pavel (2002). "History and the Current Status of the Russian Early-Warning System" (PDF). Science and Global Security. 10: 21–60. doi:10.1080/08929880290008395. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-03-15.
  3. ^ "Latvia takes over the territory of the Skrunda Radar Station". Embassy of the Republic of Latvia in Copenhagen. 21 October 1999. Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  4. ^ Chandra, Ramesh (2004). Minority: Social and Political Conflict. Delhi, India: Isha Books. p. 129. ISBN 978-81-8205-140-9.
  5. ^ Rosenstiel, Francis; Edith Lejard-Boutsavath; Jean-Jacques Martz (2001). Council of Europe, ed. European Yearbook 1999. The Hague, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 335. ISBN 978-90-411-1677-2.
  6. ^ Bloed, Arie (1997). The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe: basic documents, 1993-1995. The Hague, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. pp. 390–398. ISBN 978-90-411-0372-7.
  7. ^ "LATVIA: SKRUNDA: DEMOLITION OF 19 STOREY TOWER". Associated Press, AP Archive 04/05/1995 04:00 AM. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  8. ^ "For sale: bargain missile warning station, no mod cons". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 February 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  9. ^ "Soviet ghost town for sale". Irish Independent. 6 February 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  10. ^ "Latvia auctions off Soviet military ghost town". AFP. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  11. ^ Koksarovs, Romans; Peach, Gary (5 February 2010). "Latvian ghost town auctioned off for $3.1 million". AP. Archived from the original on February 8, 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  12. ^ Dahl, James (6 February 2010). "Latvia sells entire town for €2.2 million". Baltic Reports. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  13. ^ "Latvijoje buvęs karinis Skrundos miestelis parduotas už 170 tūkstančių latų (nuotraukos)". 5 June 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Former Skrunda army base auctioned off for LVL 170,000". The Baltic Course. 6 June 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Local government to purchase military ghost town". Public broadcasting of Latvia. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  16. ^ "Ghost town finds use as military training ground". Public broadcasting of Latvia. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  17. ^ "Skrundas lokatora pilsētiņā uzsākta militāro būvju demontāža". Public broadcasting of Latvia. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2015.
  18. ^ "Bijušajā Skrundas lokatora pilsētiņā ievieš ieejas maksu". DELFI. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2016.

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