After the fall of the communism in 1990 Poland was freed of the yoke of the USSR, that from 1945 had been the owner of the country. The last Russian troops left Poland on September 18, 1993.
Many years later, the Poles still live with vestiges of the Soviet presence. Last year I talked to you about Szprotawa-Wiechlice, a former Soviet air base that had a bunker used as a nuclear weapons store. In the Polish capital there is another witness of the Soviet dominion over the country: Sobieskiego 100, a building whose name is due to the number that occupies in the very long street -mide 8 kilometers- of Jana III Sobieskiego, in the district of Mokotów.
The former accommodation of the Soviet diplomatic staff, today … abandoned?
The building is formed by two blocks, joined by a terrace in the high part and with a maximum height of 11 floors. Built between 1977 and 1978, it was designed by the architects Piotr Sembrat and Janusz Nowak (their plans can be seen here) and its construction was coordinated by the engineer Andrzej Krawczyk. It served as accommodation to the staff if the Soviet Embassy in Warsaw and their families, but among the Varsovians is also known as the building of the spies. It was significantly close to the headquarters of the high command of the Polish Armed Forces. The building was abandoned in 1989, but first the USSR and then Russia retained the property, which is surrounded by barbed wire fences, monitored with video cameras and patrolled by security personnel, which has generated many rumors about its current uses, among them urban legends that still housed Russian spies and that under the building existed a bunker still operative. Around 2005, and according to Piotr Wróblewski, a club called “Sotką”, now disappeared, was installed in a part of the building, and that only you could accede with a Russian passport.
The building is a source of conflict between Poland and Russia
The ownership of the building and its plot has been a cause of disputes between Poland and Russia for years. Russia has refused to return the building, which is subject to a lease that continues to pay that country, but the Russians stopped paying the rent of the plot years ago, accumulating debts of 100 million złotys (23.54 million of euros). Last year the Warsaw District Court ruled that Russia does not have a legal title to the building, following a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of Poland claiming 16 million złotys to Russia for the building. The Russian Federation did not even bother to send any representative to trial. This controversy comes at a time of tense relations between the two countries because of the Russian escalation in Ukraine.
Polish urban explorers get into the building
Sobieskiego 100 has been an attractive location for Polish urban explorers for years. The Youtube channel of Urbex Polska has published several videos of its interior. In July 2014 a series of six videos about this building began, you can see here the first, in which Urbex Polska goes into the basement of the building (the video is in Polish with English subtitles):
Curiously, in what looks like a maintenance room they found two Russian calendars in 1994, when the building had been abandoned for years. In other parts of the building they have found evidence of their use after 2000 (in video number 2, for example, a Polish military calendar of 2004 is posted). You can see the rest of the videos clicking here. In November of last year they published a recording of the building from above, made with a drone:
The most recent of these videos was published last Friday, and it shows a hidden ventilation system that could be the proof of the existence of an underground bunker, according to indicate from Urbex Polska:
Under these lines you can see the location of the building in Google Maps. From Street View you can see some shots from the street, although the building is half hidden by the trees. There is a better view from Sielecki Park, where Google Maps took a good spherical photograph of the building (the one I put at the top of this entry).
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