All the Russian President’s modes of transport

Russian President Vladimir Putin submerges 83 meters under water on board a bathyscaphe near Sevastopol to see a sunken ancient vessel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin submerges 83 meters under water on board a bathyscaphe near Sevastopol to see a sunken ancient vessel.

Aleksey Nikolskiy/RIA Novosti
A review of the vehicles Russian President Vladimir Putin uses: on the presidential special driver training and the flying command post.

The Kremlin’s Taynitskiy garden was equipped with a helipad in October 2012, for President Vladimir Putin. He flies exclusively on a Russian Mi-8 helicopter.

The "propellers" have landed within the Kremlin earlier, with the first Russian President Boris Yeltsin on board. The helipad was then on the Ivanovo Square, and vibrations from the helicopter could damage the Kremlin’s historic buildings. That was why it was moved away. 

A garage for special purpose

On the ground, the Russian President uses a Mercedes-Benz S600 Pullman. There are 11 such vehicles listed in the register of the Federal Security Service.

Source: RIA NovostiSource: RIA Novost

Every vehicle the President uses is operated by the structural FSS unit: A special purpose Garage (GON). The unit’s history dates back to 1921, when the Council of People's Commissars were ordered to allocate several machines to serve Lenin's family.

Mandatory  attributes of all the vehicles in the Presidential Park include an armored capsule, an emergency run system (which gives the car the ability to move for at least 30 kilometres at a speed of 80 kilometres an hour, even if all four tires have been shot through), as well as an air quality control system and other amenities .

The driver for the first person

Whoever is the candidate to be the Presidential driver must undergo a rigorous psycho-physiological selection and training on driving in extreme conditions. He has to work as a driver in the FSO operational division for a long while before being assigned to the President. He then has to get experience as an escort vehicle driver. Only after that can he compete for the post of driver to the President or the Prime Minister. This entire process takes between seven and fifteen years.

Source: TASSSource: TASS

The president has more than ten drivers. They are high-class professionals, but they have to train once a week. The mandatory training system includes shooting while driving, driving on a training simulator that simulates ice, a water barrier and an explosion.

A cavalcade of riders

A journalist from NTV, Vadim Takmenev, who was once riding in the car with President Putin, asked him whether he knew about traffic jams created by the presidential motorcade.

"I apologize. I am sorry. But what can I do, I need to work. How else can I move around," said Putin. Takmenev suggested he follow the example of Francois Hollande, whose motorcade stopped at traffic lights on the way to the inauguration of the President of France.

Source: RIA NovostiSource: RIA Novosti

"He is a good man. But I do not do populism, "said Putin in response.

To be fair, it should be noted that the escort of US President Barack Obama also gives motorists a lot of obstacles. In India, traffic is stalled when either the President or Prime Minister travel.

The most secret aircraft division

As part of the Presidential Affairs Administration (created in the early 1990s to meet the needs of high-ranking officials), there is an entire fleet; the special flight group "Russia". Among those within this elite flight circle are the President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Speaker of the State Duma, and other top officials, and the Patriarch of All Russia. Journalists of the Kremlin and the Prime Minister's pool, the delegation members, employees of the press service and protocol also travel on tours out of town in the LSO "Russia" jets.

Source: Alexey Nikolsky/RIA NovostiSource: Alexey Nikolsky/RIA Novosti

The fleet is made up of Il-96-300 and Tu-214 aircraft. A pair of the Sukhoi Superjet 100 will soon join the fleet. The unit also has a flying point of control: this aircraft is equipped with special communications systems, allowing the president to negotiate and manage the nuclear forces of Russia in an encrypted mode. As the name of LSO suggests, the unit primarily consists of domestic aircraft. All the departures take place from the Vnukovo-2 government airport.

Since 1996, the main presidential plane has been a much modified version of the Il-96 passenger plane. During the flight, the head of state can contact any agency or institution. He can also conduct international calls or conference calls. Board number 1 is capable of becoming a flying point of control for the Supreme Commander, although they have not had to carry out such an extraordinary role in the history of this aircraft.

For maritime travel, assets of the Presidential Affairs Administration include three ships, seven boats and one sailing catamaran. This unusual means of transport when used by the president is provided by other organizations. The bathyscaphe, for example, in which Putin inspected the sunken Byzantine ship at the bottom of the Black Sea, belongs to the Russian Geographical Society.

This is an abridged version of the text. See the original at

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