Russian President Vladimir Putin began to actively use the armored train for trips within the country, the Dossier center reports , citing a person from the president’s inner circle, as well as a source close to his administration.
The armored train was built back in 2014-2015, but it did not arouse much Putin’s interest until the Kremlin began to prepare for an invasion of Ukraine. The head of state began to make regular trips on an armored train in the second half of 2021, when the Russian army was pulled up to the Ukrainian borders.
Putin’s desire to use an armored train is dictated by the interests of secrecy, Dossier writes: the movement of an aircraft can be tracked using numerous open Internet services, but there is no similar mechanism for trains.
The difference between the presidential train and an ordinary passenger train is that it is armored, its schedule is adjusted specifically for Putin, and the train runs at maximum speed and without stops.
“The departure of the train can be spontaneous, unannounced. After the outbreak of the war, in February-March, he [Putin] began to use the train very actively, especially to get to his residence in Valdai, ”the Dossier interlocutor describes.
The train has a car with a bedroom and a study, a car for attendants and a car for special communications. According to an acquaintance of Putin, the train was equipped near the Sokol metro station. There is a depot “Podmoskovnaya” of the Moscow Directorate of High-Speed Communication, which serves the trains “Lastochka”, notes “Dossier”.
The existence of the special train was known before – in 2019, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held a meeting on it. However, Putin rarely used this train. The last time was in 2012. Three years later, a new composition was prepared for the president.
Putin’s train also differs from the passenger train in appearance: it has more antennas, and the cars are driven by three locomotives at once. The cars themselves are six-axle, which indicates their reservation. In addition, the train bears the emblem of the Grand Service Express company, which belongs to the nephew of Putin’s close friend Yuri Kovalchuk.
Kovalchuk himself was described by the Proekt publication as Putin’s consigliere, who is responsible for the presidential palace in Gelendzhik and his other unofficial residences, his finances and leisure, and also manages his yachts.
In a conversation with Dossier, Putin’s acquaintance could not confirm that the train belonging to Grand Service Express discovered by the publication is Putin’s armored train. However, he drew attention to the special communications antennas and an unusual windowless car in the center of the train. A source close to Putin’s entourage said the train looks like a train used by the president.
Source : Moscow Times