According to one report, since the beginning of the war of aggression against Ukraine, Putin has preferred rail travel. In order not to be tracked, he has a special train at his disposal - including armor and a sleeping car. He often travels to his holiday home on Lake Valdai with it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is said to be increasingly traveling with an armored special train for fear of attacks. According to the opposition Russian news portal "Dossier Center", the Kremlin boss has been traveling by rail since 2021 - apparently as part of the Russian preparations for the invasion of Ukraine. The president's special train can hardly be distinguished externally from conventional trains of the Russian railway company, but it travels at maximum speed and without intermediate stops. In addition, the equipment is tailored to Putin's needs.
Accordingly, there is a personal compartment with a bedroom, a conference compartment and a carriage for fellow passengers. According to the Dossier Center report, the existence of the special train was confirmed by a source close to Putin. According to the report, circles in the presidential administration also say that the train was converted in Moscow in 2014/15 and has been in service with the Kremlin ever since. Use is reserved exclusively for the President and Prime Minister of Russia - since the outbreak of the war, Putin has used the train to travel from Moscow to his residence on Lake Valdai.
There is said to be a luxury property with a spa area in which the Kremlin boss regularly relaxes - but without informing the public about his time off. In the fall of 2022, the independent journalist Farida Rusamova first reported on Telegram about Putin’s secret sabbatical. The anti-corruption foundation of the imprisoned opposition figure Alexej Navalny had also confirmed the existence of the holiday home. Putin is said to have kept secret previous stays in the residence.
In order to travel around the country unnoticed, the special train is an advantage, reports "Dossier Center". There are now various services for tracking flights – unlike trains. In addition, the special train is kept in the same design as conventional trains of the Russian railway company - with a characteristic red stripe on a gray background. Only the housing for radio antennas on the roof, which could belong to the compartment for special communications, would give away the special train.
"Dossier Center" attributes the fact that the train has to be heavily armored to the fact that the wagons have six axles instead of the usual four. This suggests a high weight due to the armor. The train is powered by two diesel locomotives. According to the news portal, which claims to belong to former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, there are no pictures of Putin on this train. Only in 2012 did the Russian President allow himself to be photographed inside the previous model.