Although the Cold War has been over since 1991, Russia still
continues maintaining many Soviet era customs. One of the more troublesome is
the "military town." These are towns, some large enough to be called cities,
that are used exclusively by the military, and are off limits to civilians.
There are still 952 of these currently in operation, and in most other
countries this level of security is not bothered with. It costs extra time (of
the troops pulling guard duty) and money (for guard posts, fencing and the
like) to maintain a "military town." As a practical matter, anyone who wants to
get into one of these, can do so. You can usually sneak in, or just bribe the
guards. The defense ministry wants permission to open up 47 of these towns
right away, to show that there would be no adverse effects. Over the last
decade, many other "closed towns" (usually containing military research
organizations) have been opened up, with no problems. Eventually, most of them
would be opened up, freeing up a lot of money for more important things.