In the forests of Latvia and Lithuania…
I have just arrived home from a seminar in Riga on closed cities and sites and a short study trip to a series of former military sites in the forests of Latvia and Lithuania.
Together with a handful of good colleagues I among other things visited the now derelict military city Skrunda-1 in Latvia and the nuclear missile base Plokštinė at the shores of Plateliai Lake deep in the Lithuanian Plokštinė Forest.
While the Plokštinė missile base has been turned into an EU-funded Cold War Museum, Skrunda-1, which was once one of the most strategically important early warning radar and surveillance locations during the Soviet occupation of the Baltic countries, is slowly but steadily transforming itself into a ruinous urban forest integrated in the forests surrounding it:
Walls, hallways, cellars, rooftops, balconies as well as former supermarkets, kindergardens, apartments, boiler rooms, prisons, guard towers – with all their Soviet propaganda – have over decades of neglect been transformed into spaces of transition pointing both backwards in time to the silent horror of a cold war that had serious consequences for the occupied countries in the Soviet Union and onwards to a possible new site-specific nature of the future.