Zapadnaya Litsa
Zapadnaya Litsa is the largest and most important Russian naval base built for the Northern Fleet
Northern Fleet
The Red Banner Northern Fleet is a unit of the Russian Navy that has access to the Barents and Norwegian Seas, the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans, and is responsible for the defense of northwestern Russia. It was established in 1937 as part of the Soviet Navy...

. The base is located far in the north of Russia, on the Litsa Fjord at the westernmost point of the Kola Peninsula
Kola Peninsula
The Kola Peninsula is a peninsula in the far northwest of Russia. Constituting the bulk of the territory of Murmansk Oblast, it lies almost completely to the north of the Arctic Circle and is washed by the Barents Sea in the north and the White Sea in the east and southeast...

. It is about 45 kilometers from the Norwegian
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...


Geographical coordinates:69°25′N 32°26′E

The Zapadnaya Litsa Naval Base includes four naval facilities: Malaya Lopatka was the first built and the home port of the later famous Soviet submarine K-3
Soviet submarine K-3 Leninsky Komsomol
К-3 was a project 627 "Кит" submarine of the Soviet Navy's Northern Fleet, the first nuclear submarine of the Soviet Union. The vessel was prototyped in wood, with each of five segments scattered between five different locations about Leningrad, including the Astoria Hotel...

. Others are Andreyeva Bay, Bolshaya Lopatka, and Nerpichya.

In 1958 a settlement was formed close to the first naval base, which was called Zaozerny village. Zaozersk was kept secret and had several different names. It is situated 120 kilometers from Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

. Severe climate
Climate encompasses the statistics of temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, rainfall, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological elemental measurements in a given region over long periods...

 with changeable temperatures and strong winds, long Polar Night in winter (about 43 days) make it an uninhabitable place. A lot of rivers, streams and lakes, rocky ground and swamps characterize the very remoteness of this area.

Today the whole Zapanaya Litsa region is of serious concern due to its widespread radioactive waste
Radioactive waste
Radioactive wastes are wastes that contain radioactive material. Radioactive wastes are usually by-products of nuclear power generation and other applications of nuclear fission or nuclear technology, such as research and medicine...


World War II

In the beginning of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 Zapadnaya Litsa was used as a naval base for German ships under name Basis Nord
Basis Nord
Basis Nord was a proposed secret German naval base in Zapadnaya Litsa Bay, west of Murmansk provided by the Soviet Union. The base was part of a partnership that developed between Germany and the Soviet Union following German-Soviet Non-Aggression treaty of 1939, along with a broad economic...

 as a result of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

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