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Old 05-13-2011, 02:40 PM  
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Rich Russians Buy Bunkers on Apocalypse Angst

Terrorism can be good for bunker builders. An apocalypse can be even better for business.

Danila Andreyev started building ?panic rooms? three years ago, when fears of terrorist attacks and commercial disputes turning violent created demand in Russia. Now he?s selling ?survival bunkers? for as much as $400,000 each to capitalize on angst over theories the world will end next year.

?I myself am not a believer in doomsday scenarios,? Andreyev, 31, whose Spetsgeoproekt company is completing 15 bunkers at hidden locations across Russia, said at his office in central Moscow. ?But when you start hearing clients talking about the end of the world, it gets you thinking.?

While Russia has been a target for terrorists, with 37 people dying in a blast at Moscow?s busiest airport in January, more people are looking to protect themselves from what Andreyev calls a ?global cataclysm? in 2012 based on predictions such as interpretations of the ancient Mayan calendar.

Northwest Shelter Systems, a company based in Sandpoint, Idaho, that specializes in nuclear bomb shelters, has seen the number of inquiries from potential customers rise as much as 60 percent since the March tsunami and earthquake in Japan, Allen Thompson, vice president, said by e-mail.

The Vivos Group, a California-based bunker builder with a website that features a meteor striking Earth, said requests for a shelter in one of its facilities jumped by 10 times since the disaster, which left about 25,000 people dead or missing.

Be Prepared

?Hundreds of applications? come from Russia and other former Soviet states, Vivos founder Robert Vicino said by e- mail. The nearest Vivos shelter is at an unidentified location in central Europe, he said. It costs about $25,000 per person.

?Every person has a different belief or sense of what may be ahead for all of us,? Vicino said. ?Vivos is not about 2012, but having a life assurance solution for our families for whenever disaster strikes.?

Vivos is building facilities in the U.S. and elsewhere. It said in January it was considering buying a two-story bunker constructed for the U.K. government in 1990 in rural Scotland.

Spetsgeoproekt, which stands for Special Geological Projects, plans to open a showroom in the affluent Moscow neighborhood of Rublevka this year and is expanding into Russia?s regions, Andreyev said.

The company?s bunkers range from 35 to 90 square meters (377 to 969 square feet). Maintaining the unit, including the air system, runs about $2,500 a year, he said.
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