Often referred to as Russia’s “military Disneyland,” Patriot Park is a large theme park and showground that displays military hardware in a supposedly family-friendly environment, which also happens to attract international arms dealers.
When Vladimir Putin opened Patriot Park in 2015, he proudly announced that it would be “an important element in our system of military-patriotic work with young people.” During the same speech, he also announced the addition of 40 new intercontinental missiles to Russia’s nuclear arsenal. And that kind of sums up Patriot Park.
As well as being a showground for international arms dealers and defense contractors, the huge military theme park in Kubinka is aimed at instilling a sense of patriotism and militarism into Russia’s “youth army.” It can also help introduce them to important military skills before they serve their mandatory conscription at the age of 18.
The park covers more than 4,000 hectares, much of it taken up by military vehicles. There are more than 268 Soviet-era aircraft on display, including helicopters, and an armored vehicle section with around 350 tanks from various countries. Some of these can be taken for a virtual spin in the park’s military training simulators. Also, keep an eye out for a few intercontinental ballistic missiles.
For kids and adults of a warmongering nature, there’s also the Military Tactical Games Center. Here, the whole family can do some fun military-grade exercises before engaging in a simulation of urban warfare with airsoft guns and replicas of famous buildings (the park is supposedly building a replica of the Reichstag for kids to invade).
At the shooting range, meanwhile, visitors can unleash their inner Rambo with a variety of weapons. Children can even take a quick class in sabotage.
When hunger strikes, visitors can head to the park’s canteen, where military rations are on offer. And for that perfect souvenir, head to one of the many gift shops where you can buy Joseph Stalin fridge magnets, Vladimir Putin iPhone cases, army-branded water, and military T-shirts that say “Victory!” on the front.