Accommodation at Arctic Brigade: Flats Without Doors and Windows

Rubric: Russia

Contracted servicemen of the 80th independent infantry brigade based in Arctic (Alakurtti, Murmansk region) told Mil.Today that they were offered flats in "vestiges", sometimes having neither windows nor doors. According to the interviewee, "mere mortals" cannot afford apartments in the new buildings.

"Just like many of colleagues, I have to rent a flat because the options offered by commanders are absolutely unsuitable for living", Sergeant Alexander told Mil.Today (names of all interviewees are changed).

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The servicemen added that fair amount of flats offered for accommodation did not have even windows and locks. "Even doors were not everywhere", said one of the soldiers.

"Huge half-meter holes in the walls", said another serviceman served in the brigade in 2015. "I visited the flat of my friend, and there was just a hole instead of a toilet bowl, they used a hose to flush", he added.

The servicemen are displeased by the fact that it is almost impossible for "mere mortals" to obtain a flat in new buildings constructed under Finnish technologies. Although all flats there belong to the local administration, it is the brigade staff that makes a decision to distribute them. According to the interviewees, only officers and confidant non-commissioned ranks happen to receive apartments there.
"They show these houses on TV saying all servicemen live in such wonderful conditions. Those luckiest guys who managed to receive good flats sweeten things up saying in front of the camera that everything is on wheels. But they keep quiet about their colleagues who have to repair such "mansions" on their own", said Valery, a contracted serviceman.
Other personnel of the brigade gave similar information to Mil.Today. "Officers are provided with apartments in the Finnish houses. Those that can be seen in the news reports about our base", says Sergei. He added that some single officers live in three-room flats, while non-commissioned personnel with three or four kids have to rent such teardowns.

Finnish houses where the brigade’s officers live

According to the interviewees, it was possible to find a flat earlier, but now there is no such variants because of personnel proliferation in the brigade. "Look, they want to increase manpower even more. Okay, we have got used to it somehow, but where will the new people live? In barracks, with their wives and kids?" wonders Viktor, another serviceman.

Presently, those who failed to rent dwelling in the town have to accommodate in the aforementioned flats and repair them. Costs are not recovered, but commanders tell soldiers to keep all receipts and, perhaps, some day they would see the spent money back.


The 80th independent infantry brigade is the Russia’s first Arctic brigade founded in March 2015. It reports to the Joint Strategic Command "North" and is based in the polar town Alakurtti.