How the Kremlin disappeared for 4 years

More than 70 years ago, in September 1941, the battle for Moscow began. The main targets for the German aviation were the symbols of the Soviet capital - the Kremlin, the Mausoleum and Red Square.

Everyone understood that neither the air defense nor the Soviet aviation would be able to repel air attacks 100 percent, and enemy aircraft would nevertheless reach Moscow.

To protect the population, bomb shelters were organized, the soldiers provided blackout of buildings and vehicles.

But how can important strategic sites be preserved? The architect Boris Mikhailovich Iofan found a way out: he simply proposed to disguise the Kremlin and the adjacent territories, as well as other especially valuable objects.

Iofan developed two versions of the Kremlin's “disappearance”: flat and false disguise. The first plan provided for the repainting of buildings and the hiding of their most noticeable elements. The second variant of camouflage was to change the layout of Moscow streets beyond recognition with the help of false objects.

A secret note has been preserved in the archives, in which Major General Nikolai Spiridonov recommends that Lavrenty Beria immediately begin to implement Boris Iofan's plan.

All the old buildings were painted by Muscovites to look like ordinary houses, green roofs and gilded domes were covered with dark paint. Crosses were removed from churches and temples, stars were sheathed on the towers. Windows and doors were painted on the Kremlin walls, the battlements were covered with plywood to make them look like the roofs of houses.

In Moscow, and especially near the Kremlin, ghost buildings appeared, with which they "built up" all squares and parks. The silhouettes of many structures have been changed with camouflage nets. Throughout Moscow, "new" roads were stretched, and the real ones were decorated so that the "roofs of houses" could be seen from the planes. This is how Red Square looked from the air. And a false bridge was built across the Moskva River.

The capital stood in this form for 4 years. This camouflage helped a lot: about a third of the deadly cargo hit the false "painted" targets. If not for Iofan's plan, the destruction would have been many times greater.