Staunton, Feb. 15 – Since the end of 2021, when the Russian military was being prepared for its invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin has used an armed train prepared for his use in 2012-2015 rather than airplanes to move about the Russian Federation, according to Ilya Rozhdestvensky of the Dossier portal.
According to the journalist’s investigation, Putin prefers using the trains because they allow him to move about in secret. Any plane travel by the Russian president is harder to conceal, and so security as well as secrecy is likely part of the explanation for his decision to shift to trains with the war in Ukraine going on (dossier.center/train/).
Rozhdestvensky says that Putin’s “special train” is “visually almost indistinguishable from other trains of Russian railways. Like them, it is gray with a red stripe.” But “there are several significant differences:” the cars are armored, it has priority over all other trains, and his train a room for him alone, a study for meetings, a car for aides and special communications.
The existence of this train is “no secret,” the Dossier reporter says. In November 2019, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had a meeting in it that was written up by Komsomolskaya Pravda, and in 2012, Putin met with railway officials on the train (kp.ru/daily/27059.5/4127053/ and kremlin.ru/events/president/news/16689).
But Putin’s use of the train during the war in Ukraine has not been publicized. Indeed, Dossier suggests, it is the first news service to cover Putin’s decision to shift from planes to trains, yet another indication of how seriously the Russian president takes his own personal security seriously.