National Emergency Drill Sirens Blare Across Russia

Though sirens sounded all around Russia on Wednesday as part of a national emergency exercise, speakers in St. Petersburg—the hometown of Russian President Vladimir Putin—played a polonaise from Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s opera “Eugene Onegin.”

As of September 2023, Russia tests its emergency public warning systems countrywide twice yearly as part of a new plan.

On Wednesday, from 10:40 to 10:46 a.m. Moscow time, drills were held throughout the nation. Alarms were transmitted via television and radio channels, warning systems were triggered for companies, and sirens were sounded from loudspeakers.

Russian emergency public warning systems were most recently tested in October. During the simulation, officials asked the public to remain calm.

The ministry stressed the need for practicing exercises to ensure that all systems communicating with the public during crises are working correctly.

Officials in three districts of Russia—Belgorod, Voronezh, and Kursk—reported a drone attack the night before, prompting Wednesday’s testing. The southern Siberian settlement of Shagonar was the site of a significant explosion at a combined heat and power plant on Wednesday morning.

Numerous drone strikes have occurred in Russia since Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, with some of them even reaching Moscow, the capital. Kremlin officials have claimed that Kyiv attempted to use drones for terrorist activities, but Ukraine seldom acknowledges being responsible for strikes on Russian territory.

Russian news outlets have reported that the premise of the drill includes the increasing possibility of a nuclear arms race. It plays out a scenario where a widespread mobilization is announced, 70% of houses and critical infrastructure are destroyed, and large regions are poisoned with radioactive fallout.

Curiously, the United States federal government tested its Emergency Alert System on Wednesday. In a national emergency, the president can address the American people via various media within ten minutes. Additionally, U.S. mobile phone users will get Federal Emergency Management Agency test messages.

A nuclear war is becoming an increasingly common topic of conversation among Russian officials, including Dmitry Medvedev, who serves as the deputy chairman of the security council led by President Vladimir Putin.