Author Topic: Spy town exposed in Ukraine  (Read 22054 times)

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Offline Lt. Campers

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Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« on: 21:57 01-Apr-2012 »


Spy town - theme tune

Iowa in Ukraine

Theirs been a buzz of excitement amongst the Urban explorer community in Ukraine
over an abandoned town in one of the remotest areas of Ukraine.
At first it was dismissed as being a Soviet settlement for workers engaged at a
nearby military plant, that was abandoned long ago before the collapse of the
Soviet Union.
From the outside it looks like a town but a highly unusual one, that's surrounded
by barbed wire and watchtowers. Therefore the Urban explorers decided to go in
and check it out where, to their surprise they find 'american style fire hydrants' at
regular intervals along the semi-overgrown pavements with American street signs at
many intersections and road junctions.

American fire-hydrants found in the abandoned Ukrainian ghost town






The architecture of the town being most unusual, as it resembles the buildings and
houses of the American mid-west of the late 1950's or early 1960's, rather than the
Soviet style buildings of the same era in Ukraine.
Although nature has reclaimed many of the roads, pavements and gardens that line
the streets of the deserted ghost town, the buildings still stand out. At the centre are
the shops, stores and diners ( some containing a jukebox ) that you would find in
any American town of its day,  with the greatest excitement being, the discovery
of a long abandoned MacDonald's restaurant, one of the first to open and trade
in the former Soviet Union.

As the explorers delved deeper they came across a church, a school and a college.
Upon entering the buildings, they find many of the desks and chairs still in place
with books strewn across the tables and floor, many being English or American
text books.
Although the school contains a playground, its a playground that's hardly been
used, for besides the flaking of paint and rust that you would associate with any
abandoned town, the see-saws, swings and carousel's show none of the usual
wear and tear from children at play ?

Guard Post reveals all

At the entrance to the town, they came across a guard post which although locked,
they decide to enter and find amongst the desks and filing cabinets, the true
purpose of the abandoned town.  As it turns out to be a training centre for spies
but no ordinary spies but deep cover agents, variously called illegal's or
sleepers recruited from amongst the Soviet Union's top English language students,
with a sense for adventure and an aptitude for English, where they could pass themselves off as a native speakers without any hint of a foreign accent.
Recruited by the First Directorate of the KGB, for foreign intelligence work abroad,
these aspiring deep cover agents had to be fully immersed in american ways,
habits and culture, so they not only look, speak and act like Americans but
behave like Americans as well.

Photo's of the Spy town in its heyday






Restrictions on foreign travel outside the USSR

The biggest problem the KGB faced, when recruiting deep cover agents or illegal's
was Soviet restrictions on travel outside the USSR. Therefore many of their
recruits had little or no comprehension of what daily life was really like in the west,
other than what they saw on TV or American movies. Only Soviet diplomatic staff
and their families had any exposure to life in the west which is probably why
( modern day KGB ) the SVR were able to talent spot Anna Chapman, as being
most comfortable in the west, being a former Soviet ambassador's daughter.
Therefore all the KGB's young 'deep cover' recruits, had to be initiated in Spy
School's which were training camps based in specially constructed towns,
resembling English or American towns, somewhere in the Soviet Union.
These training camps would last for years where the candidate would assume
the identity of an American or English man ( usually a real person, someone who
had died in childhood, called dead doubles ) the same as identity theft, in order
to pass themselves off as real people who had been born and bred in either
the UK or United States.
To help them in their training the KGB employed the best linguists from the
Soviet Union, as well as calling on the services of retired deep cover agents who
would blend themselves into the everyday life of 'The Village' as permanent
residents.
Therefore when the time came for them to assume their new ( deep cover ) roles
in their assigned country, they would hopefully blend in seamlessly into their
new surroundings.

New York Times feature, 1000's of Russian Spies in US, surpassing Cold War record

Cold War era training towns might still exist in Russia


Small town espionage, CIA exposes Spy Town

« Last Edit: 23:03 02-Apr-2012 by Lt. Campers »

The first in the field and the last from the Taverna.

Offline BritKyiv

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #1 on: 22:10 01-Apr-2012 »
Note to Lt Campers:
Did you ever try living in the present day and start thinking about the future?
Just an idea.
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Offline Lt. Campers

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #2 on: 22:23 01-Apr-2012 »
Spy Town's - variation's on a theme in popular Spy Programs, like The Prisoner

Best opening excerpt from The Prisoner

Note to Lt Campers:
Did you ever try living in the present day and start thinking about the future?
Just an idea.

No - just call me Nostalgic, besides an awfull lot of interesting things happened in the past.
« Last Edit: 21:09 11-May-2013 by Lt. Campers »
The first in the field and the last from the Taverna.

Offline babajaga

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #3 on: 22:26 01-Apr-2012 »
Any idea, where this "Spy Town" is located ?
I like to explore the old secrets of the USSR, so this would be an interesting new destination.

Offline sjg-uk

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #4 on: 04:22 02-Apr-2012 »
Very interesting story. Do you have more details , location etc ?
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Offline Andrew

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #5 on: 08:20 02-Apr-2012 »
Some story - if any details will be available , I would love see this place - right after my Chernobyl trip.
And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.

Online Fraucha

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #6 on: 09:57 02-Apr-2012 »
I have seen this before, a long time ago. The photos clearly triggered a memory ....
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Online David Rochlin

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #7 on: 10:02 02-Apr-2012 »
This is a story, published internationally in 1959, about such a town in Ukraine, but this is probably Vinnitsya and that places it close to an Urban area.  Still, a village location near Vinnitsya would be isolated, enough.  And the description matches perfectly, down to the jukebox...

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19590413&id=5-9QAAAAIBAJ&sjid=uiUEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7153,2203838

Online Fraucha

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #8 on: 10:20 02-Apr-2012 »
Well, I do remember this film for sure when at D.L.I.

from below

They told us where it was, we had some photos and a person who was there but I have to look deeper.
« Last Edit: 10:26 02-Apr-2012 by Fraucha »
Peace is the failure of the military to convince the government that it can and should kick its enemies ass.

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #9 on: 06:25 03-Apr-2012 »
Judging from the photos shown, it is no way American architecture, it looks like the typical Soviet style crap you can see anywhere. The fire hydrants are not enough. Had the article shown photos of the places described it would be more convincing. These is no metadata embedded in the supplied photos.

One of my favorites might be 49?24'31.02" N  28?29'47.52" E on Google Earth, complete with some deliberate "White outs"

It would be fun to find one of these towns, if only to see if they could have actually made concrete sidewalks that haven't crumbled apart like the stuff they made only 10 years ago around here.
« Last Edit: 06:44 03-Apr-2012 by Fraucha »
Peace is the failure of the military to convince the government that it can and should kick its enemies ass.

Offline clanholmes

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #10 on: 08:07 03-Apr-2012 »
Note to Lt Campers:
Did you ever try living in the present day and start thinking about the future?
Just an idea.

Bet your wife says the same thing about your clothes.
I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.
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Offline Lt. Campers

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #11 on: 13:13 03-Apr-2012 »
Note to Lt Campers:
Did you ever try living in the present day and start thinking about the future?
Just an idea.

Bet your wife says the same thing about your clothes.

Nevertheless, my attire's just right when reporting from re-enactment's.  ;)
« Last Edit: 15:36 03-Apr-2012 by Lt. Campers »
The first in the field and the last from the Taverna.

Offline Lt. Campers

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #12 on: 14:26 03-Apr-2012 »
German's arrest Russian deep cover agents in Marburg

Here's an interesting news story from Der Spiegel last year concerning the
arrest of a South American couple, Andreas and Heidrun. Who acquired Austrian
citizenship back in the 1980's and moved to West Germany in 1988. Where
they have been living as a typical suburban couple for over 23 years. Both were
given false id's and legends by the KGB before going deep undercover in Germany,
where they moved to Marburg, becoming quite friendly and active in the local
community as perfect neighbours.
Apparently the espionage charges against the couple are difficult to prosecute,
as the couple were engaged in 'soft spying' that is diseminating reports from
various sources on US foreign policy in Europe.
Nevertheless the case is an interesting one, as it shows how modern day
russian agents, still use of the old spycraft methods & techiniques perfected
during the Cold War of dead drops, brush passes, secret shortwave radio
messages ( yes the old Numbers Stations again ), invisible ink and coded
messages.

Germans arrest middle aged couple, accused of spying

Quote from the link below:

A former British intelligence officer, is quoted as saying there were several
"villages"in the former Soviet Union built to replicate U.S. and British towns.
Prospective spies not only studied English there, but they also underwent
a "deep immersion" in the subtleties of American life.
Everything from the cars to the post offices was westernized.
The lessons included "knowing that you stand in line, you don't rush
to front of the queue, all of these kind of things.


More on Soviet, American villages
« Last Edit: 12:25 30-Aug-2014 by Lt. Campers »
The first in the field and the last from the Taverna.

Offline Andriy84

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #13 on: 14:34 03-Apr-2012 »
Seems like an April Fool Day's joke  :)
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Offline Glyn Thomas.

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Re: Spy town exposed in Ukraine
« Reply #14 on: 14:56 03-Apr-2012 »
Any idea, where this "Spy Town" is located ?

Looks the spitting image of Kharkov now... except the roads look better.
I am the shadow of the waxwing slain.. by the false azure of the windowpane...