If you were one of the unlucky moviegoers who spent $15 on a ticket for the latest Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks extravaganza “Bridge of Spies” (a Cohen brothers-assisted screenplay corrupted by a smorgasbord of Hollywood cliches), you know that the tradition of using American cinema to whip the public into a Russophobic frenzy is alive and well.
In Spielberg’s East Germany it’s always dark, it’s always snowing, the KGB agents at the Russian embassy in Berlin are laughably cartoonish stereotypes, and the backdrop is gray and monocrhromatic except for bright red Soviet flags.
But it’s a well placed piece of propaganda designed to convince Americans that Vladimir Putin’s Russia threatens to plunge the world back into Cold War diplomacy on the way to resurrecting the type of nuclear brinksmanship that could make a $17,500,000 nuclear fallout shelter look like a prudent investment.
Of course you can count on Kremlin grandstanding to perpetuate the stereotype and in the wake of Moscow’s confirmation that it was indeed a bomb that brought down a Russian passenger jet over the Sinai Peninsula earlier this month, we got a look at Putin’s new multi-billion, National Control Defense Center which is so ... how shall we put this... so “Soviet”, that you’d imagine Sean Connery might be creeping around the compound in a suit carrying a silenced pistol.
Here’s The Washington Post:
"Gentlemen. You can't fight in here. This is the war room!"
It could have been a scene straight out of "Dr. Strangelove" when President Vladimir V. Putin stepped into the Russian Ministry of Defense's brand new, three-tiered, multibillion-dollar control center this week, for a war briefing that had its fair share of movie-like pageantry.
The fortified National Control Defense Center was Putin's first stop after officials confirmed that the Russian charter jet crash that claimed 224 lives last month was the result of an act of terror.
On movie-theater-size screens, live broadcasts showed long-range strategic bombers taking off from Russian air bases to fly sorties over Syria. Putin instructed commanders in Syria to "make contact with the French and work with them as allies" as Russia seeks a central role in a proposed anti-terrorist coalition.
But the real star of the show may have been the building itself, which is designed to be a new nerve center for the Russian military that will coordinate military action around the world, including ballistic missile launches and strategic nuclear deployments.
The facility became operation last December, and as Sputnik said at the time, it's "been designed to satisfy Russia's defense needs for at least 20 years, synchronizing the decision making process of the military command and the Russian government [and has a] data-processing center calculating capacity that exceeds that of a similar Pentagon facility threefold." The facility has a helicopter pad for Russia's Mi-8 transport choppers and, as WaPo goes on to note, "it would be be the country's premier communications center in case of war, [with] one Russian commander comparing it to the military headquarters of the Soviet Union during World War II."
Here are the visuals courtesy of Sputnik, RT, FoxTrotAlpha and WaPo:
Whether you really need all of this in order to conduct a war is probably questionable (it kind of looks like a Soviet edition of The Death Star), but we would say this: it's no wonder Moscow decided to intervene in Syria - no one could resist taking this place for a test drive.