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Naked Snake infiltrates Tselinoyarsk in 1964.

Tselinoyarsk (Russian: Целиноярск), also known as the Virgin Cliffs, was a region in the south of the former Soviet Union. The area was diverse in nature, its topography including swamps, forests, canyons, mountains, and was home to an incredible array of wildlife.

Tselinoyarsk was the site of the OKB-812 Design Bureau headed by Aleksandr Leonovitch Granin, as well as the military fortress of Groznyj Grad, led by GRU colonel Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin. Nuclear testing was also conducted in the area. In addition, the OKB-754 bureau, headed by Nikolai Stepanovich Sokolov, was located three miles east of the region.[1] The border also extends at least sixty miles south of Dremuchij.[2]

In August 1964, Naked Snake infiltrated Tselinoyarsk twice as part of the CIA's Virtuous Mission and Operation Snake Eater.


The name Tselinoyarsk derives from the Russian words Tselina meaning "virgin soil" or "uncultivated land," and Yar meaning "precipice."[3] The English name is translated as the "Virgin Cliffs."

Virtuous Mission[]

Main article

"Your mission is to infiltrate Tselinoyarsk in the Soviet mountains, ensure the safety of Sokolov, and bring him back to the West."
Major Zero to Naked Snake

Snake's first mission in Tselinoyarsk, the Virtuous Mission, required him to infiltrate the area, rescue a defecting Dr. Sokolov, and bring him back to the United States. However, the mission ended in failure when legendary U.S. soldier The Boss defected to the Soviet Union and prevented Snake from completing his objectives. The OKB-754 Design Bureau was also destroyed by Volgin using a miniature nuclear shell. This resulted in an international controversy, which also resulted in the preparation of Operation Snake Eater. As a direct result of this incident, security also became tighter around FOX's original route, forcing them to take a route from the North Pole.

Operation Snake Eater[]

Main article

"Rescue Sokolov. Find out what's happened to the Shagohod - then destroy it. And finally, eliminate The Boss."
Major Zero to Naked Snake

A week after the Virtuous Mission, Snake was sent back into Tselinoyarsk to carry out Operation Snake Eater. His mission this time around was to eliminate both Colonel Volgin and The Boss, and ensure the destruction of the Shagohod, a nuclear weapon that Sokolov had been forced to develop. Shortly after the events of the mission, Groznyj Grad and Graniny Gorki were obliterated by The Boss using the last Davy Crockett, and the Philosophers' Legacy was also stolen.


Area Notes
Dremuchij A bushy forest located on the edge of a gigantic cliff. A swamp inhabited by gavials lay to the north.
Dolinovodno An area with a rope bridge over a very large ravine, connecting Dremuchij to Rassvet.
Rassvet The location of a run-down, abandoned factory.
Chyornyj Prud A large swamp inhabited by many fish, gavials and frogs.
Bolshaya Past A forest that housed a materials shipping facility, and a deep crevice, which leads to Chyornaya Peschera.
Chyornaya Peschera A dark subterranean cave system.
Ponizovje A large swamp consisting of a river that split off to a warehouse and to Graniny Gorki.
Graniny Gorki Granin's research facility, with a forested area to the south laid with booby traps.
Svyatogornyj A large forest with a resource shed to the east, leading north to Sokrovenno.
Sokrovenno A heavily forested area, comprising a waterfall, a clearing, and a plateau. A mine shaft to the north led up to the Krasnogorje mountains.
Krasnogorje A mountainous area, comprising large stretches of rocky terrain, and a heavily guarded mountaintop, defended by anti-aircraft guns and Hind A gunships, during GRU occupation. A secret underground tunnel led into Groznyj Grad.
Groznyj Grad A large military fortress, equipped with weapons research facilities and a large runway.
Tikhogornyj A small forest with a waterfall to the north that hid a cave leading up to Groznyj Grad.
Lazorevo A long stretch of forest surrounding a small road.
Zaozyorje A deep forest leading north to Rokovoj Bereg.
Rokovoj Bereg A field filled with white flowers beside a large lake.

Military resources (as of 1964)[]


  • KGB (pre-Operation Snake Eater)

Security devices[]


Weapons under R&D[]

Groznyj Grad contained a vault used to store weapons of Western origin for research purposes. The majority of the weapons were stolen from the United States or from test sites belonging to the West.


Main article

Flora and fungi[]

  • Amur Kudzu
  • Baikal Scaly Tooth
  • Chinese Plantain
  • Fly Agaric*
  • Golova*
  • Ezo Comfrey*
  • Russian False Mango*
  • Russian Glowcap
  • Russian Oyster Mushrooms
  • Siberian Ink Cap
  • Slav Horehound
  • Spatsa
  • Ural Luminescent
  • Vine Melon
  • Yabloko Moloko

* native to Tselinoyarsk


  • Alexandrine Parakeet
  • Arowana
  • Bigeye Trevally
  • Cobalt Blue Tarantula
  • Coral Snake
  • Emperor Scorpion
  • European Rabbit
  • Giant Anaconda
  • Green Tree Python
  • Indian Gavial*+
  • Japanese Flying Squirrel
  • Kenyan Mangrove Crab
  • King Cobra
  • Leech
  • Les Enfant Terribles
  • Magpie
  • Markhor
  • Maroon Shark
  • Milk Snake
  • Otton Frog
  • Poison Dart Frog
  • Rat
  • Reticulated Python
  • Red Avadavat
  • Sunda Whistling-Thrush
  • Taiwanese Cobra
  • Thai Cobra*
  • Tree Frog+
  • Tsuchinoko
  • Vampire Bat
  • White-Rumped Vulture

* escaped from human captivity
+ affected by nuclear fallout

Unconfirmed history[]

The following information has been detailed in official Konami-licensed media, written by various external authors. Its status in the Metal Gear canon is unconfirmed.[?]

Tselinoyarsk would later become known as Zanzibar Land, the nation that was granted independence from the Soviet Union by Big Boss, who previously infiltrated the area decades ago. The reason why Russia and the CIS were unwilling to let Tselinoyarsk gain its independence was because it was the only strategic border and religious cushion remaining separating Russia and the former Soviet countries in Central Asia from Muslim countries.[5]

Behind the scenes[]

In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, it is implied that Tselinoyarsk is located in Tajikistan, in the southwest of the former Soviet Union, which lies north of the Kashmir region of Pakistan and India, separated from it by Afghanistan's narrow Wakhan Corridor which leads east to the border with China. However, the Metal Gear Solid 4 Database states that it was in the southeast of the Soviet Union.[6] Given the Soviet Union's enormous territorial size, however, the term "southeast" may imply from the perspective of Moscow and European Russia, where the bulk of the Soviet population resided, and where Tajikistan would indeed lie to the southeast. Aside from the Combat Talon approaching Tselinoyarsk from the airspace of Pakistan in the south,[7] during the Virtuous Mission, Hideo Kojima also suggested that it could have entered from China (Xinjiang region) in the east.[8] Another candidate could be Kyrgyzstan, another central Asian country in the former USSR territory, which shares similar geography with Tselinoyarsk, such as prairies, forests, valleys, rivers and lakes, with areas of it having humid continental climate. In the plot, however, Tajikistan would arguably be the likely spot given The Boss's in-game line to Snake of "The border is 60 miles south of here", assuming the border refers to Pakistan from where the Combat Talon flew from (yet another inconsistency here, due to the existence of the Afghan territory Wakhan Corridor).

The territory's name is possibly based on "Tselinograd", which was a former name of Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, when it was in the Soviet Union.

Although Tselinoyarsk does not reappear as a location in any other canonical games beyond some flashbacks in Peace Walker, Metal Gear Solid 4, and Portable Ops, it did receive several mentions in other games. In addition, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has an Event FOB uniform called Tselinoyarsk, which is colored light green and is considered suitable camouflage on metal and concrete surfaces. It was later released on the March 8-14, 2016 version of Mosquito's Legacy. One of the three stages used for the Arena and Link Battle modes in Metal Gear Acid 2 was based on Tselinoyarsk, being an encampment within that area.



Notes and references[]

  1. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Naked Snake: Is Sokolov still in the facility? // Major Zero: No, according to our intelligence, he's in Tselinoyarsk, a place in the mountains about 3 miles to the west that's known as the Virgin Cliffs.
  2. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    The Boss: The border is 60 miles south of here. You ought to be able to run that far.
    At the time she said this, The Boss and Naked Snake were at Dremuchij North.
  3. ^ Metal Gear Solid 4 Database, Kojima Productions (2008).
  4. ^ Sometimes during an alert, the radio soldiers will request fire support. Cannons will then fire off-screen and target the player. The player can also use this to their advantage by getting the frequency by interrogating the soldiers.
  5. ^ Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (novelization), Itō Keikaku, (2008).
    When secession movements erupted in the Soviet republics of Central Asia, one territory remained crucial to the motherland as a religious cushion between the neighbring Muslim states, and the reformed Russian government wasn't about to let it go. As the Soviet military had invaded Afghanistan, the Russian armed forces were detached to the territory of Tselinoyarsk. Yet the child state, certainly no major military power, somehow prevailed in the conflict. According to rumor, one man had organized a mercenary army, supplied a torrent of arms, and provided training on the ground. The newly independent people named their country Zanzibar Land.
  6. ^ Metal Gear Solid 4 Database, Kojima Productions (2010). [1]
  7. ^ Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Konami Computer Entertainment Japan (2004).
    Pilot: "Flying over Pakistan, altitude 30,000 feet. Approaching Soviet airspace."
    HALO Instructor : "Twenty minutes to dropoff..."
  8. ^ Muni, Shinobu (2014-10-03). MGS3 CINEMA KOJIMA COMMENTARY (Virtuous Mission). Retrieved on 2024-02-28.