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Why classified topographic maps of the CIS countries can be freely found on the Internet?

This question arose the interest of the journalists present at the conference of George Kuznetsov, Chairman of the State Property Committee in Belarus. Mr. Kuznetsov replied by explaining that his agency has already declassified topographic maps at a scale of 1:100 000. They can be found in shops and are available on the Internet. Other topographic maps at a scale of 1:50 000, 1:25 000 and 1:10 000 still remain classified.

The head of the State Property Committee has also told the journalists how such accurate topographic maps of Belarus and other CIS countries could get on American web sites (it appears to him that just from there maps became available on the Internet). Under the former Soviet Union topographic maps of Belarus, Baltic States, as well as of military districts of other territories, were stored in the Baltic States. After the collapse of the Soviet Union military classified maps were not brought back and in this way they got to the United States. And that’s why today we can evidence such an interesting situation: on the one hand, the KGB and Ministry of the Interior do not declassify military topographic maps and on the other hand, these maps have long been available in free access on the World Wide Web.

Mapstor news 08-05-2010