Military Tourism in Russia Offers a Unique Experience 

Firing AK-47s, flying in jets, riding in tanks are the unique experiences that Russia offers for its tourists.

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World
2 min read
 Russian T-14 Armata tanks makes its way to Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade. (Photo: AP)

Firing Kalashnikovs, flying gunships, stomping about in tanks and sweating it out in army fatigues are the unique experiences that Russia offers for its tourists.

Amid the annexation of Crimea and the conflict with Ukraine, “military tourism” appears all set to boom in Russia.

Tour operators are offering tourists a quasi-combat experience including firing AK-47s in firing ranges, roaring on in T-90 tanks or an edge-of-the-space flight.

Tourists like   Japan’s Toshihiro Yokoi and his friend shelled out over of 15,000 euros for a spin in the MiG-29 and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

“The emotions (we felt) during the suborbital flight were both exciting and interesting.
Toshihiro Yokoi, Tourist 

A zero gravity flight experience in an IL-76 at Nizhniy Novgorod was also part of their agenda.

For those who are more comfortable on land than in the air,there’s Uralvagonzavod, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of tanks which has been offering tourists a ride in the mighty T-90 from April 2016, or a visit to the armour museum in the national capital, where tanks , armoury and other military equipment are on display.

For those with a vintage taste and World War buffs, Russian leader Joseph Stalin’s bunker in Moscow is now a tourist attraction too. If one wishes to have a live and feel about what’s it to be like in the army, a new tourism circuit allows you to spend a day in a military training camp and train with soldiers in fatigues.

Tank rides in Russia. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://www.bestrussiantour.com/">Best Russian Tour</a>)
Tank rides in Russia. (Photo Courtesy: Best Russian Tour)
Defence tourism is also taking off in Russia with options like MiG 29 flights to the edge of space where passengers are also allowed to control the aircraft, World War II bunker visits, firing Kalashnikov rifles, visits to battle tank ranges with the ability to control the systems. In the region of Crimea tourists can also visit nuclear submarines that are in active service.
Paresh Navani, Russian Information Centre
Military training exercises. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="http://www.bestrussiantour.com/">]</a>)
Military training exercises. (Photo Courtesy: ])

Chinese Top List of Tourists in Russia

Chinese tourists, who top the list of tourists visiting Russia with a million of them visiting Russia in 2015,are driving the demands, says Pavel Kretov of Academservice, an inbound tour operator based in Moscow.

In Moscow there are numerous shooting galleries where one can spray a few live bullets from a pistol to an AK-56. However, while the guns and tanks await, revved up for tourists, there’s one issue which continues dampen the prospects : pricing.

Valery Korovkin, head of the International Development division of the Federal Agency for Tourism, believes that while it is expensive now, in a year it can go down if there is enough demand.

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