Secret of Putin's private armoured train

Secret of Putin's private armoured train
@Mikhail Korotkov on

The man who photographed this train now lives in exile

"A TEP70BS-239 diesel locomotive pulling a not-so-ordinary train. It's not the kind of train that ordinary mortals would ride. Behind the curtains of the windows of the carriages of this train, there is darkness and gloom. An ordinary person who enters these walls will be turned into mincemeat. The same goes for the man who photographs this train through the viewfinder of his camera. The train itself reeks of fear and incredible longing. In my case, I was lucky that there was only one locomotive and that the person on the train was four ranks below the most frightening person in the country."

This text appeared below a photograph published on the website Its author is 31-year-old Mikhail Korotkov, who took the photo four years ago. He photographed the mysterious train on the Dobyvalovo-Valdai route between Moscow and St Petersburg in November 2018, apparently becoming the first person outside official circles to publish the Russian dictator's private train.

Critics accuse the Russian president of being extremely vigilant, with some even describing him as paranoid, especially when it comes to security.

In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, Putin took additional measures to ensure the safety of his residence, including the installation of a "disinfection tunnel" that uses aerosol detergents and ultraviolet light to decontaminate visitors. As a result, Putin sometimes remained isolated for several weeks.

Throughout the pandemic, Korotkov and other enthusiasts noticed a significant increase in the use of the presidential train. In a blog post from 2021, Korotkov noted that the train was "speeding like crazy, causing all other scheduled trains to give way," according to the Washington Post.

Putin has also had new lines built to his residences, according to the Russian investigative channel Proekt. Separate tracks with their own stations, hidden behind high fences, lead not only to Valdai but also to Sochi and the Novo-Ogaryovo complex near Moscow. The private railway is, of course, monitored by a number of cameras.

Thanks to tips from other enthusiasts, Korotkov has captured Putin's train on the road several times, but has published only a few pictures. Nevertheless, Moscow seems to have noticed, because in May 2021 his life took a strange turn. He claims that verbatim transcripts of his private phone calls suddenly appeared on his YouTube channel. He told his parents at the time that his life was in danger.

And when mobilisation began in Russia last September, he decided to emigrate. By the time he received his conscription order, he was already abroad. He now lives in Sri Lanka and works for an IT company. The only thing he left behind in Russia is his family, and that is the only thing he misses, concludes the Washington Post on Kortkovsky's story.

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