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Russia. Dossier Center about Putin’s armored train. Turkish bath and beauty salon

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The armored train used by President Vladimir Putin to travel around Russia cost the budget almost seven billion rubles, wrote the journalists of the Dossier Center, associated with a well-known critic of the Kremlin and former head of the Yukos concern Mikhail Khodorkovsky. In one of the carriages there is a gym, a beauty parlour, and a Turkish bath.

Putin’s special train is handled by the management of the Russian state railways and several dozen officers of the Federal Security Service. New cars for the train began to be built during Putin’s first presidential term, and the latest additions are special cars with a gym, hammam, bar and cinema, costing a budget of at least 6.8 billion rubles (more than $67 million), Dossier Center journalists wrote. .

The publication was created in cooperation with the American news television CNN, as well as German media, including the daily “Süddeutsche Zeitung” and the public television station Westdeutscher Rundfunk.

The Dossier Center reported that journalists studied the documents of the Federal Security Service, the Russian Railways, as well as structures related to this state-owned company. One of them has produced a wagon in which you can practice sports and “keep fit”.

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Gym and Turkish bath

This car includes a gym, beauty salon and Turkish bath. In addition to devices for beauty treatments (including equipment for skin rejuvenation using high-frequency radio waves), the beauty salon also has equipment for artificial lung ventilation, an aspirator for clearing the upper respiratory tract, a defibrillator and a monitor with which doctors monitor the pulse pressure, and other parameters during anesthesia or other procedures,” the Dossier Center published.

The wagon was secured against potential eavesdropping.

Vladimir Putin on a train surrounded by officials. Photo from November 21, 2019 kremlin.ru

Access to propaganda messages

Putin can watch Russian TV while playing sports or having beauty treatments. The Dossier Center said access to it would be uninterrupted. Interruptions occurred when the train passed under a bridge or near tall buildings. The solution was found by specialists from the Moscow Research Institute of Radio Communications, who developed their own buffering system: the signal is first loaded onto special equipment, and from there it is transmitted to the screen.

The presence of television in an armored train is not just a formality. – Russian TV is a mandatory requirement when preparing the residence for President Putin’s visit. A residence is an abstract concept, it can be, for example, a hotel room or some kind of hospitality complex. As part of the preparations, Russian channels, for example, Rossiya, are required to broadcast there, an officer of the Federal Soil Protection Service Karakulov told Dossier Center journalists, who after the military invasion of Ukraine left Russia.

Former Russian diplomat Boris Bondarev also confirmed that “one of the issues in preparing Putin’s visits has always been whether the hotel receives Russian channels.”

Putin on a train that crosses the Crimean Bridge. Photo from December 23, 2019 kremlin.ru

22 wagons

There are 22 cars in Putin’s armored train, but not all of them are used at the same time, according to the Dossier Center publication. Usually, the train in which the leader travels has about 10 cars. Eight were produced in Soviet times or shortly after the collapse of the USSR – these are mainly technical cars that house garages, communication centers and restaurants.

In exceptional situations, wagons from Putin’s special train can be made available to other high-ranking politicians and officials. “For example, a garage car with the number 017-79925 was noticed in 2010 during the visit of Patriarch Kirill to Ukraine. There were two Cadillac cars inside” – recalled the Dossier Center.

Putin crosses the Crimean Bridge by train. Archival recording Reuters

Unclear ownership structure

The owners of the train are unknown. Several carriages bear the logo of Grand Service Express, a company associated with Putin’s close associate, billionaire Yuri Kovalchuk, the Dossier Center reported.

Two wagons – as reported in the publication – are owned by the Russian state railway. Two carriages are also operated by a company that performs contracts for the Federal Security Service and operates planes of the Rossiya special branch, which are flown by representatives of the authorities, including Putin.

The armored train that the president travels on Russiawas modernized in 2014-2015, when in Ukrainian Donbass armed conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army broke out.

In February this year, the Dossier Center Mikhail Khodorkovsky reported that Putin began using the armored train regularly in the second half of 2021, when the Russian army began to concentrate near the Ukrainian border and prepared for a military invasion. The main destination was the presidential residence on Lake Valdai, where Putin liked to stay.

“Reasons: secrecy and security. Aircraft movements can be tracked using flight data, e.g. ADS-B Exchange, but in the case of passenger trains, this is not possible” – indicated the Dossier Center at the time.

Main photo source: kremlin.ru

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