Thursday, January 11, 2018

Do you know what this small concrete-made structure in front of building for?

Janyary 1, 2018 If some day you will have some spare time to roam the streets of old Poltava, you definitely will run into such concrete construction almost in every back yard of apartment houses that were built in Poltava in the time when USSR was under the rule of Nikita Khrushchev and later when Leonid Brezhnev came to power. So what this strange back yard concrete decoration for?  Before I will give an answer, I would like to return to the time when the cold war between USSR and USA was in its top. 

Do you know what this small concrete-made structure in front of building for?

It is well known, that the Cold War was a state of geopolitical tension after World War II between powers in the Eastern Bloc (the Soviet Union and its satellite states) and powers in the Western Bloc (the United States, its NATO allies and others). Historians do not fully agree on the dates, but a common timeframe is the period between 1947, the year the Truman Doctrine, a U.S. foreign policy pledging to aid nations threatened by Soviet expansionism, was announced, and either 1989, when communism fell in Eastern Europe, or 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional wars known as proxy wars.

Former shelter with visible traces of an air and water supply systems

Civil defense is an effort to protect the citizens of a state (generally non-combatants) from military attacks of the potential enemy. It became widespread after the threat of nuclear weapons was realized. That time all building projects created in the USSR had to presuppose the existence of a bomb shelter equipped with air filter system, water supply system, emergency food supply, etc. All such shelters were also equipped with emergency exit located no close to the building than a half of its height.

 On this picture you can see the remains of air filter system

The doctrine of the civil defense supposed that even if some building is destroyed, those who were in the shelter will leave it through the emergency exit. Thus this small concrete construction you can see at the picture is nothing more than emergency exit.   Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991 all shelters mentioned above have fallen into neglect and were turned by dwellers into the ordinary closets. As about emergence exits, spared by the time, they still remind us of the Cold War times.