It looked like a scene out of a James Bond movie or Dr. Strangelove when Vladimir Putin stepped foot inside his new multi-billion pound “war room”. But, no, this is real life. Well, for Russia, anyway.
We got our first look at the fortified, three-tiered National Control Defence Centre this weekend, as Putin ran through strategy with ministers for their missions against ISIS in Syria.
Reports suggest that after the Russian charter jet crashed last month, killing all 224 passengers on board in a suspected terrorist attack, the Russian Ministry of Defence’s brand new control centre was Putin’s first point of call.
And, although Russia’s bombing campaign against Islamic State was supposed to be the focus, it was the room itself which proved to be the star of the show.
It’s rumoured to be built on top of a series of underground tunnels, for starters, while it also has a helicopter pad on the roof, accommodates hundreds of people, and includes cinema sized screens so big Vladimir can get a HD look at jets taking off from Russian air bases.
According to the Washington Post, the building was completed in 2014 as part of a decade-long modernisation of the Russian army which cost hundreds of billions of dollars.
Putin getting a briefing on latest strikes in Syria in new defence ministry command centre that is VERY James Bond. pic.twitter.com/u8kjkxLxnn
— Rory Challands (@rorychallandsAJ) November 17, 2015
The centre is designed to coordinate action by the Russian military around the world, including launches of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, which is a worrying reminder that Putin has his finger on the button.
Basically, it’s the counterpart to the Pentagon in the U.S. but, of course, Russian state media boasts that it’s bigger and better than its American counterpart.
To be honest, there’s always been an air of the Bond villain about Putin, so it was probably only a matter of time until he had the lair to match.