By Dominique Robertson, Paris Bezanis
The Russian Defence Ministry has allocated some 20 billion rubles (€325 million) to the construction of a new military themed amusement park and convention center, dubbed ‘Patriot Park’, set to open sometime February 2017. The park is part of a new initiative by the Kremlin to bring Russian military prowess to the daily lives of its citizens. In an interview with Russian media, Timur Ivanov, of the Ministry of Defense, stated the aim of this project is “to popularise service in the armed forces, patriotic education among young people and to demonstrate the capabilities of our modern military kit.” The park is located west of Moscow, near the town of Kubinka.
When the park is finished, the grounds will boast a hotel, restaurants, offices, museums, shops, and even a residence for the incumbent Defense Minister Sergei Shogyu. Entertainment options range from “the largest shooting range in the world”, where visitors can shoot Kalashnikovs and SVD sniper rifles, to military vehicle simulators. Driving a T-90 tank over various terrain or flying a Ka-52 attack helicopter are examples of the various simulations which will be offered. The park will be divided thematically amongst the branches of the Russian military; Ground Forces, Air Force, Navy, Airborne Force Troupes, Aerospace Defense, and Strategic Missile Troops, with exhibits and activities dedicated to each.
More than a third of the park’s total budget has been allocated to the construction of the major “exhibition and congress hall”, a six story megalith that will serve as the center piece for the Patriot Park’s 6,000 hectare footprint.
The Russian Defense Ministry has also elected to use the Park as an auction house for old or surplus military goods. The Ministry hopes to use the auctions to help off-load excess in Russian military warehouses, as well as build a bigger audience for the Patriot Park itself. Among items offered, cargo trains, heavy duty trucks, jetties, generators, and military technical equipment will be available to buyers at the combined starting price of 143 million rubles (€ 2.3 million).
Beyond serving as an amusement park, the site will also host the Army-2015 military trade show from June 16-19. This is the largest military expo ever attempted by Russia, and will showcase over 5,000 pieces of military equipment ranging from tanks to aerospace technology. Outside of technical equipment, the expo will also showcase drones, robotics, biotechnology, radio and laser technology, and alternative fuel sources. The expo will not only feature goods for sale, but will also include full demonstrations of Russian-made military weaponry.