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Kubinka NIIBT Research Collection - Soviet Vehicles, Kubinka, Moscow Oblast, Russia

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Location Category ID: 2100
Added to Database: July 2008
Last Edited: July 2008
Address: NIIBT Collection, Kubinka
Telephone: (495) 544-8611
Opening Times: 10.00-17.00, Wednesday to Sunday (By previous appointment only)
Official Website: Military-Historical Museum of Armored Vehicles and Equipment
Other Links: Wikipedia
Volunteer Website
Latitude, Longitude: 55.5657 , 36.715638
Location Accuracy: 7
Tanks Previously Here:

For many years there were rumours of a secret armoured vehicle collection somewhere in Russia. While many Soviet vehicles are openly displayed around Russia, there is a notable absence of vehicles of other nationalities. Whilst this might partly be explained by national pride, it stood to reason that they must have a large number of foreign vehicles hidden away somewhere, especially German vehicles captured during the War and NATO vehicles ‘acquired’ since.
Over the years a certain amount of information filtered out from Russia, most notably a strong rumour that there was indeed such a collection and that it included the only surviving example of the Maus, Germany’s end-of-the-war super-heavy tank. Recently, particularly since the break up of the Soviet Union, a number of Westerners have gained access to the collection, now known to be stored at a military base at Kubinka and to be part of the Kubinka Tank Institute (‘NIIBT’).
The collection is located about 1 kilometre inside the army base at Kubinka, a small town approximately 40km west-south-west from central Moscow on the M1 road to Minsk. The vehicles are officially housed in and around seven hangars (Halls 1-7) as shown in the main plan. One hangar has German Second World War vehicles, one has Allied Second World War and NATO post-war vehicles, one has vehicles from other miscellaneous countries (France, Japan, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, etc.), one has Soviet wheeled vehicles, and three contain an impressive collection of Soviet tracked vehicles. Outside the hangars there are a number of other Soviet vehicles on display, plus a large armoured train. There are, in fact, two further storage buildings that are not open to visitors. Hall 8, located with the administration building, holds recent acquisitions, often from field trials, and vehicles being prepared for display elsewhere. Hall 9, along with its open storage area, houses part of the reserve collection including duplicate vehicles and vehicles retired from other locations, many of which were previously displayed on plinths around Russia. It should be noted that most Soviet vehicles at Kubinka are marked with an identification number which is not a tactical number but a collection reference number.
The Soviets have undoubtedly managed to collect together at Kubinka one of the largest armoured vehicle collections in the world. Not only does it contain the best collection of Soviet vehicles in the world, which is only to be expected, but it also contains a representative sample of all the major designs produced by their allies and enemies throughout this century. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the collection is the number of unusual and rare vehicles that were accumulated – probably more by accident than design – and typified by the German, Hungarian and Japanese vehicles. The collection had about a third more vehicles in the 1960’s and 1970’s but these vehicles, including many Second World War German ones, were cut up for scrap.
It is to be hoped that with the increasing openness of the CIS, many more people will soon be able to visit, and appreciate, the Kubinka collection. However, this process seems to be taking place only very slowly. With an injection of cash and enthusiasm it could become a first-league collection, alongside Bovington and Fort Knox and, to a lesser extent, Saumur and Aberdeen Proving Ground. It is of course inevitable that it will increasingly lose its charm and air of mystery as probably the last major tank collection in the world kept behind closed doors.

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