Military scuba diving school restored in Tatarstan?
One of the ramps in Blue Lakes is closed. According to divers, the lake will become a training base for divers of the Russian Army, Air Force and Navy Volunteer Society
After entrepreneurs organising holidays were expelled from Blue Lakes, Relanoe Vremya was told about a new restriction. One of the ramps to the lake in Small Blue Lake turned out to be closed: the steel door has a lock, there is a CCTV camera above the entrance and a closed wooden building next to their stairs reading Military Diving Training School. “There was made a decision to organise a training base in one of the Blue Lakes for divers,” President of the Tatarstan Subaquatic Sports Federation, Chairman of the regional office of the Russian Geographic Society Dmitry Shiller confirmed the information for the newspaper. “Due to the recent events, it seems divers are going to be trained for the Armed Forces.” The regional office of the Russian Army, Air Force and Navy Volunteer Society doesn’t yet comment on the situation.
“It turns out to be interesting, divers are fined in Big Blue Lake, but here scuba divers can go down the water, right?”
The story about the ban on riding sup-boards and dive with scuba gear in Kazan’s Blue Lakes had a new twist. Inspectors of the republic’s State Committee for Biological Resources started to “hunt” for active holiday organisers and their clients handing over fines. The committee imposed the veto on sup-boarding and diving in this natural reserve as early as last summer — lawbreakers were promised to be punished financially — from 3.000 to 500.000 rubles. According to the inspection service, the goal is to prevent the negative impact of such a holiday on the state of lakes.
Not only entrepreneurs but also ordinary Kazan citizens who love visiting these places don’t understand the introduction of punishment. Other new restrictions surprised many too. Aydar Nuriyev and his family love having a rest near the lakes. The man told us that the territory of Small Blue Lake improved last year, two stairs were built to go down the mountain. Everything was free and open — the pool and the gazebo to change clothes. But this year one of the stairs turned out to be blocked.
“The stairs on the left taking to the lakes is open. While the direct pass on the other stairs closed,” Aydar Nuriyev complained.
An iron door with a lock on obstructs the pass now. There is CCTV surveillance and a sign next to it that caused much more questions:
“A lock appeared on the door, a box appeared nearby, seemingly for the security, a camera and a sign were installed — the Military Scuba Diving Training Centre. Moreover, there is no contact information on it, besides the name. It turns out to be interesting, divers are fined in Big Blue Lake, but here scuba divers can go down the water, right? And is it fine? Isn’t there any violation and an unpleasant impact on the lake? I have been many times there, I have never seen any scuba divers, anybody dive there. I have never seen the security. It turns out only one stairs left for those who come to these lakes?” Aydar complained.
There wasn’t any gazebo near the stairs earlier. According to the man, this building appeared recently, as well as the fence that completely closes the access to the private swimming place, the concerned Kazan citizen noted:
“The closed stairs leading to the lakes is shut closed.”
The depth is Small Blue Lake is not deep enough
“The thing is that somebody decided to appropriate the stairs and the gazebo at once on the sly,” Aydar assumed. He also fails to understand the reason why the access to the stairs and the swimming place closed this year:
“The small lakes were improved with public money!”
Other Kazan citizens also talk about the restricted access to the lakes: “I am addressing regarding the problem with access to Blue Lake. Part of Small Blue Lake is fenced. One could go down to the water until recently. The gates have been closed with a lock lately by violating legislation on free access to water. The fence and the gates belong to the private leisure area. And the sign on the gates that it is the Military Scuba Diving Training Centre is about a non-existing organisation.”
Realnoe Vremya turned to the head of Bentos subaquatic swimming club from Kazan whose members have been diving in Big Blue Lake for decades. Chairman Andrey Torbov confirmed that the club was once a member of the Russian Army, Air Force and Navy Volunteer Society:
“We used to be members of the society for a long time. My certificate of instructor of the society was issued then, in the early 90s. And this organisation had a lot of clubs. You know, I myself wonder what organisation it is that locked the stairs. I googled the name on the sign but didn’t receive any results. I am telling you with all responsibility this is not an initiative of our Bentos club. In general, from a perspective of divers, the 4-metre depth Small Blue Lake is anyway not deep, though it is good enough.”
The base of the society for scuba diving training
In the search for the author of the initiative, Realnoe Vremya reached out to President of the Tatarstan Subaquatic Sports Federation, Chairman of the regional office of the Russian Geographic Society Dmitry Shiller:
Dmitry Shiller reminded us that the military scuba diving school existed in Kroonstad before the Great Patriotic War. During the war, it moved to Kazan where it operated on Podluzhnaya Street for many years:
“A big number of engineering exploration scuba divers were trained here, serious preparation was done and there was a serious school. Then the school moved to Sevastopol. Now this area is reviving, due to the latest events scuba divers seem to be trained for the Armed Forces, as I understand. I have heard that the Military Scuba Diving Training Centre was planned to be located in the lakes. There was even an order to installed a sign so that people wouldn’t be concerned that it was a lawless action,” the interlocutor of the newspaper explained.
Realnoe Vremya contacted the republican office of the society asking it to tell us more about the Scuba Diving Training Centre. But the office hasn’t yet replied to the newspaper’s request.