City 40

Synopsis: Deep in Russia, there is an invisible city that houses thousands of men, women and children who live and work behind double barbed-wire fences monitored by armed guards. They are told that they are the creators of the nuclear shield and saviors of the world. They are told that everyone is an enemy. In this hidden world, a mother risks her life to take us inside Russia's largest nuclear city.
73 min


Wake up.


We'll get dressed.

Did you stain it?

Will we glue?


My name is Nadezhda Kutepova

and I'm a native of Ozersk.

I was born here.

My mother used to warn me, "Darling,

never say where you are from...

or a Black Maria will take us away

and you'll never see your parents again."

We were told we lived in a secret place.

There were spies all over,

sneaking around, gathering information.

My mother told me,

"Let state secrets stay secret."

As I was growing up as a kid

in the city of Chelyabinsk,

I was aware of the existence

of another world,

a strange place, a closed place,

a top-secret place.

The city was called Ozersk at that time

but I never

heard that name as a kid,

because everybody referred to it

as Chelyabinsk-40...

or City 40.

City no. 40 was the name everybody used.

It was not until 1994...

that I understood

that this was actually the place

where they made the plutonium bomb.

A town in South Ural, Russia.

It has a population of almost 100,000.

The town has streets, avenues,

parks and squares...

stadiums, gyms,

theaters and museums.

It reminds you of some peaceful

resort town, doesn't it?

My parents had good friends

who lived in Ozersk, or in City no. 40.

They came to visit us

and they told us that they lived

in a very beautiful city.

But we never visited them back,

and my parents explained to me

that this was not possible

because this was a very special place

that couldn't be reached

by train or by bus from Chelyabinsk.

They said it was, like,

a one-way thing,

so these people could visit us,

but we could never see the place

where they lived.

What are these closed cities?

Each is a state within a state.

Even inside such fenced-off cities

there are separate facilities,

which are also fenced off.

People in these cities

can exit the city,

but it takes a special pass.

This City 40 is

where almost all reserve

of Russia's nuclear materials

is stockpiled.

The system cuts off attempts

at unauthorized access

at an early stage.

Unauthorized access there

cannot even be imagined.

I read about a tell-tale sign

how you know someone is a terrorist.

They are usually dressed warmer

than necessary.

To get in there,

you would need...

a full-scale army operation,

with major assault force,

tanks and everything.

It's a cozy town.

It's a cozy and beautiful town.

But a closed one.

For instance, it was problematic

for you to enter.

Our town is a town of intellectuals.

You can't buy them for anything.

They are...

getting a good education.

The schools have good funding.

They also get good health care,

even if it is getting worse now.

Our citizens are used to the very best.

A closed city implies not only

the comforts of life...

but also implies safety.

Here, in this city,

we can let our children go out

at 11:
00 p.m. without worries...

something that people in other towns

cannot do.

Their children have to be accompanied.

The people who were born here stay here.

Do you want it?

Some more.

Share with your brother.

Be careful.

You will be dirty.

I want sour cream.

What sour cream? Only yogurt.

We're out of sour cream.

We'll have it this evening.

I want sour cream.

It's with raspberries, look.

See how tasty it is with raspberries?

We have a woman here, Nadezhda Kutepova.

She is a human rights activist...

who fights for the opening of the city.

She once asked me, "Aren't you concerned

with the barbed wire?

It violates your rights."

I told her...

"My rights are not violated.

Read my lips,"

as President Reagan would say

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    "City 40" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 1 Dec. 2020. <>.

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