Czech museum of Soviet nuclear ammunition reopens to public | info.cz

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Czech museum of Soviet nuclear ammunition reopens to public

Czech museum of Soviet nuclear ammunition reopens to public
 

The Atom Museum, a once secret military compound in an underground bunker, has reopened to the public after 11 weeks when it was without electricity, Vaclav Vitovec, who established the Nadace Zelezna opona (Iron Courtain Foundation) that operates the museum, has told CTK.

"The lights are finally on, after a fierce struggle," Vitovec said, adding that they had to deal with more than 1000 phone calls and dozens of letters. He said the Foundation has always paid all electricity bills on time. Electricity supplies were renewed earlier this month.

The Defence Ministry cut electricity supplies to the former store of Soviet nuclear ammunition on May 17 after it transferred the surrounding land to the Military Forests and Farms state-run company and the bunker to the Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs (UZSVM).

Former Czech chief-of-staff and former NATO Military Committee chairman Petr Pavel, who visited the museum in June, told CTK that it is unique since it is the only former store of Soviet nuclear ammunition in the world.

Pavel said the state, namely the Defence Ministry, should promote and mainly support the museum. He said nuclear armament should be taught at school as a part of history.

The museum, which is the only world former nuclear ammunition store open to the public, opened six years ago, on August 17, 2013.

Milan Skocovsky, from the Iron Curtain Foundation, said 15,000 people, half of whom were school children, have visited the museum since then. He said the museum has had no promotion so far.

Vitovec said the UZSVM was a better partner for the Foundation than the ministry.

The Foundation has been asking the Defence Ministry to give it the stores that have no use. It would like to build a European education centre focusing on peace and military applications of nuclear power. The finances needed for the centre would come from sponsors.

The Atom Museum has a nuclear bomb model or a test nuclear mine on display. In total, it presents more than 1000 small exhibits, many of them from Misov.

Journalist Milan Syrucek said the Misov bunker had been the most secret facility in Czechoslovakia at a time. "Some 170 Soviet soldiers served here and only eight officers knew what is the purpose of the facility," he said. Syrucek said soldiers on Russian websites which veterans use still ask about this.

 
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