Russia has been all over the headlines of American news media lately (did you catch the Presidential debate last night?), and it’s now come to light that the country is preparing for war – or so it says. The country’s Ministry of Emergency Situations wants to turn a giant half-constructed stadium just outside St Petersburg into a nuclear fallout shelter. The Ministry sent a demand letter to the managers of the Zenit Arena, which is currently being build for World Cup 2018, calling for the establishment of an emergency shelter. Reportedly, this move is just one of several ways Russia’s leaders are gearing up for nuclear war.

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The letter describes the stadium as being in the potential “zone of war destruction and radiation fallout” should a nuclear attack occur. Recent Russian state-run television broadcasts have warned the public that nuclear war with the US is “imminent,” accompanied with reminders to learn the location of the nearest bomb shelter. Video tours of fallout shelters also aired, giving the public a glimpse at how life after nuclear war might look. Russian authorities also report that 40 million people recently participated in a drill, complete with crowds of children evacuating schools and donning gas masks. Russian leaders have warned that the threat of nuclear attack will increase, should Hillary Clinton win the presidential election next month.

Related: President Obama visits Hiroshima, speaks out against nuclear weapons

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It’s been 20 or so years since Russian leaders were last heard talking this seriously about preparing for a nuclear attack. Yet, despite the increase in discussions about nuclear attacks inside Russia’s borders, most analysts elsewhere in the world don’t believe there is any particular threat. In fact, many say it’s more likely that Russia is using the age-old tactic of fear mongering in order to control its people. Among the television broadcasts was an interview with a retired colonel “showing several possible scenarios of the catastrophe” on a map. That map, apparently, was lifted from an American video game, and not a real representation of any planned military action.

Via The Daily Beast and ABC

Images via Kate Brady/Flickr and NTV via screenshot