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Wealthy Russians Looking for Shelter Bunkers
May 19, 2020 12:43


Forbes spoke with companies that are professionally engaged in building shelters, and found that the demand for their services has grown markedly. There are many clients from Russia among those who are ready to pay one and a half hundred thousand dollars for fortified structures to hide from the coronavirus pandemic.

In the summer of 2010, there was an abnormal heat in Moscow area, and because of the burning of peat bogs in the Moscow Region, Moscow and its environs plunged into smog for several weeks. Then businessman Dmitry (he did not want to give a surname) came to one of the Russian companies involved in the construction of protective structures. For a   room of 200 square meters, equipped in the basement of his house in New Riga, the businessman paid $ 150,000. Construction lasted about a month. For a while, while peat bogs were burning, Dmitry and his family lived in a shelter, and now he keeps paintings and valuables there.

This market is quite compact. Danila Andreev, head of the Spetsgeoproekt company working in this area, estimates it at about 200 million rubles —   30 security rooms and 10 bunkers a year are being built. However, these figures refer to the "peaceful", pre-viral time. The COVID-19 pandemic and the fear of what will happen after its completion, when the world faces a contraction in the economy and a decline in living standards, increased the demand of wealthy people for bunkers and shelters both throughout the world and in Russia.

“Russians have approached us many times”

The most developed production of bunkers and protective structures is in the United States. Major American industry representatives, in response to a Forbes request, indicated that they were recording a great demand, including from Russian customers. “The Russians came to us many times, and this year we sold two shelters to the Russians,”  Gary Lynch, general manager of Rising S Company, a large American bunker manufacturer, said. According to him, each of the facilities had an area of ​​about 46 square meters, they were fully equipped and could filter nuclear particles. The cost of such an object is $ 150,000. “We delivered them to the ports  in the USA, so I don’t know about the final destinations,”  Lynch said. In general, according to Lynch, in the first three months of 2020, the demand for shelters increased by 2000% compared to the same period a year earlier.

The California company Vivos, in response to a Forbes request, also confirmed the requests from customers from Russia, refusing to give specific names. In general, requests and applications for the manufacture of bunkers increased by more than 1000%, sales grew by more than 400% and are growing exponentially. The construction of a new Vivos bunker complex can take from 3 to 12 months, depending on the scale, location and availability of materials and labor. All shelters have air systems to remove all pathogenic microorganisms and radioactive particles before entering the underground space. The company also provides the possibility of renting bunkers. “It often happens that foreign customers buy shelter in the United States with the intention of moving here when the time comes,” the company explained.

What do they buy?

The demand for protective structures has grown significantly. If in normal times the company creates one such facility per month, now it’s three, and in April Spetsgeoproekt received five orders. The main demand for the construction of full-fledged underground bunkers comes from Moscow (New Riga, Rublevka, Yaroslavka, Dmitrovka), St. Petersburg and the surrounding areas. However,   the most demanded in Russia are not bunkers, but the so-called security rooms - a protected perimeter, installed in the house and equipped with hermetic windows and doors, autonomous power supply and communication. Such rooms can protect not only from air and gas contamination, including combat or poisonous ones, but also ensure the safety of owners in case of unrest.

The protective rooms are equipped with generators capable of producing electricity in the event of an external outage, an independent battery system, ventilation, water and food supplies. The room is also equipped with sensors that determine the level of toxic substances, pollution and radiation in the air, video surveillance systems and air regeneration, which allows staying in the shelter for several days even in case of fire. In other conditions, you can live in such a room for up to a month without experiencing any particular difficulties. The cost of building such a room starts from 3 million rubles, a full-fledged bunker underground - from 10 million rubles. The company built the largest facility in the history of the Spetsgeoproekt in the Tver Region - a 400-square-meter bunker  worth $ 2 million.

Rates of another Moscow constructor of bunkers, Bunkerstroy, start from 890,000 rubles (without installation and delivery) for the basic version of the shelter (15-meter room with seats, a wash basin and dust filtering system) to 7.6 million - in this case, the client will get a 60-meter room with protection from radioactive dust, toxic substances, a bathroom and sewer, communication and heating systems. At the same time, in the “peacetime” the company suggests using the bunker as a gym, a hookah, a wine cellar or a cinema at home.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Russian oligarchs coronavirus Moscow   

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