The 150,000-square-foot military complex at the Nagurskoye base on Alexandra Land, the northernmost of the Russian islands of Franz Josef Land, is completed and ready for use. Photos of the new military base, said to be the largest building in the entire circumpolar high Arctic, were recently published by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Painted like Russia's tricolor flag, the complex will provide living quarters for up to 150 soldiers. Close by is an upgraded military airport, part of Moscow's current large-scale modernization of military infrastructure in the Arctic.
When construction at the base started in 2014, Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu said one of the prioritized areas for the military is development of military infrastructure in the Arctic.
"A constant military presence in the Arctic and a possibility to protect the state's interest by military means are regarded as an integral part of the general policy to guarantee national security," Shoygu has said in the past, as reported by the Barents Observer.
Last month, Shoygu proudly showed President Vladimir Putin around at the new military complex. Visiting the base, Putin brought with him the highest profiled delegation to ever visit Franz Josef Land. In addition to Defense Minister Shoygu, the delegation consisted of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Sergey Donskoi, former Minister of Defense and now the president's special envoy for transportation of the environment Sergei Ivanov.
The photos of Nagurskoye base only show the housing complex. No military equipment is shown.
The trefoil complex has its own power plant, fuel and lubricant depots, storage for food and clothing, sewage facilities and garages for maintenance of equipment. All are designed to operate autonomously in the extreme Arctic climate.
Located at 80 degrees north, the Nagurskoye military complex is the largest structure so far north. The building is about 21,000 square feet bigger than the University Center in Longyearbyen on Norway's Svalbard archipelago, inaugurated in 2006. Longyearbyen is located at 78 degrees north.
Near the main complex, the world's northernmost Orthodox log church is erected, one of the photos shows.