Moscow tour guide book: museums, battlefields

Goals and objectives of our Moscow and Russia tour guidebook.
The authors of the manual for all life have been studying Russian military history, from ancient times to the recent conflicts. Association of Veterans of the Armed Forces and the well-known historians established the military-historical and military-travel club. Limitations of the site do not let to place all the accumulated and useful information on these pages, but we will do everything possible so that more useful information for fans of military history, for fans virtually or actually traveling to interesting places, had been posted on this site.
Our site is designed primarily for our colleagues – the historians, collectors and veterans of the Cold War, the children of veterans of World War II and the grandchildren participants of the First World War.
The entire 20th century, Russia has actively participated in all the wars and conflicts, from Shanghai to Berlin. Particular attention is paid to providing exactly the information that is little common, especially in the English-speaking part of the Internet.
For those who still decided to actually visit the battlefields in Russia, we provide useful information, practical advices on how, what and where to do. Where possible, we will supplement the information, so any of your wishes, any questions please contact us, we will provide the answers and information and help you to schedule your trip.
But as they say in Russia, “it is better to see once than to hear 100 times.” Write us, call, come…

Historical military tour guide of Moscow and Moscow region

Moscow (Moscow region) is the capital of Russia, and the center of military-history and military-technical tourism. This is primarily due to the history and traditions of the Soviet period, when Moscow has all the control of the USSR, Communist party and military Officials. In Moscow, located KGB, Ministry of Defence, Headquarters of the Navy of the USSR, Ainti-aircraft control center, Space Control Center, GABTU and all other major law enforcement agencies. Most federal museums military establishment designed solely for education military cadets and officers of military academies, for special forces and military engineers. Each department had its own museum is not to preserve the history and artifacts show the people and the practical purpose of training employees in his department.
That is why most of the federal museums are located in Moscow. In 90 years, thanks to our team developed the program “Open Russia” have been declassified for many federal museums. Exhibits of museums, such as the collection tanks of the Second World War, or the collection of Soviet aircraft are general world property. Unfortunately, in recent years the trend has gone back to classify and close to Russian and foreign citizens, many very interesting museums.

Moscow was also the center of all of the armed struggle, especially in World War II. The Battle of Moscow was the key to the history of the Second World War. It is from Moscow begin almost all military-historical tours devoted Battle for Moscow at different distances (“Operation Mars” Rzhev, the battle of Smolensk and others)….and the trophies from China battlefields in 1945

Museums and sights: Moscow & Moscow region, restricted
Briefly about Soviet “traditions”. All military museums in the USSR were formed and served exclusively for the military purposes. “Everything for the Army, everything for the victory of communism throughout the world!”. Correctly speaking, not museums, but the only collections on the military unit sights. These collections served to be shown for the military school cadets, the officers of the military academies, the engineers of design bureaus and, of course, for KGB officers. Tanks and self-propelled guns, cars, rockets and missiles, airplanes and the military uniforms all served for a studying and trainings for people those who “wear epaulets” or work for the defense industry. These exhibits are not only made in the USSR, but also many WW2 and Cold War trophies. For example, the famous German tank Mouse served as a model for studying at Kubinka shooting range. Kubinka’s military testers tried to break through his armor with the Soviet guns. Tank Mouse was drilled, checking the quality of the steel. The electric motors of the tank Mouse were studied by Soviet engineers. The authors of this guide book knew these museums even during the Cold War, being young cadets and officers of the Soviet army. The location of these collections was in military units, at the polygon grounds, inside of the military academies, in the “closed type” design bureaus, with a ban on access for any civilians. In 1993, part (!) of these museums began to be opened for the civilians visitors of the Russian Federation and even for the foreign citizens on the certain conditions. The condition for the foreign citizens to visit of many restricted museums was to provide the passport data in advance for the verification by the FSB military counterintelligence (formerly the 2nd and 3rd KGB departments) and the escort by the special trained agents of this structure during the visit. Many museums continue to operate in this mode, some objects gained access for foreign citizens without preliminary verification, but some museums were again closed for all foreign tourists. In this guide book we indicate the current status and the possibility of visiting it. If the object is closed to visitors, then we show a virtual tour.

  • Military-Historical Museum of Armored Vehicles and Equipment, Kubinka, Moscow region (partially in Patriot park)
  • Central Museum of Federal Security Service (FSB ex.KGB) (2019:  denied  for foreigners)
  • FSB Central Border Guard Museum (ex. KGB frontier troops museum, ex. NKVD museum) 2019:  denied  for civilians
  • The Museum of Ministry of Internal Affairs (Soviet Militia and Russian Police)
  • Central Air Force Museum in Monino (not open regularly, in the process of moving to new location)
  • Air Defense History Museum
  • Cabinet of marshal Zhukov in Russian General Stuff  (Arbat metro station)
  • Military Uniform Museum- Laboratory (no longer… check the new one)
  • Air-Space Equipment Museum of RSC “Energia”, Korolev
  • Khrunichev State Research & Production Space Center
  • Russian space flight Mission Control Center (MCC -TsUP)
  • Astronaut training center- “Zvezdny Gorodok (Star City)”
  • all restricted museums list…

not restricted best museums and sights: you can visit by yourself
Tourists coming to Russia have a lot of the expenses. Some museums can be visited only with a guide and by a car, some it is advisable to visit with a guide, but there are museums that guests can visit on their own, especially if they are located in Moscow and near the metro station. The best combination the trip: one day with a guide and by a car, another day by yourself on a metro. One day costs more, one day less. In the tips and personal experience section below, we provide our recommendations for a organizing your trip to Russia. Below is a short list of places you can visit on yourself on a public transportation, metro or afoot.

  • Central Armed Forces Museum of  USSR/ Russian Federation
  • Central museum of the Greate Patriotic War (WW2 1941-1945)
  • Kremlin and Kremlin museums (The Armory and the Diamond Fund)
  • Space museum (VDNKh metro)
  • Borodino 1812 panorama (Victory parl metro station)
  • GIM (State Historical Museum), at Red Square
  • Mosfilm Studio museum (far from metro, takes taxi and a translator)
  • all not restricted museums…

not restricted best museums/sights but take the car/ driver
Many interesting collections are located outside Moscow, about 1-3 hours. Since the times of the USSR, the transport system has been working very poorly, difficultly and not in all areas Without knowledge of the Russian language, a public transport is very difficult and sometimes dangerous. We recommend using a car with a driver and an English-speaking guide, a military historian. In addition to a translator and an expert, you will not lose time on the road. 2-4 hours it will be additional knowledge of the general soviet/ Russian history or the branch of service, a collection to be visited. Do not trust that in Russia there is “a taxi with an English-speaking driver”. This is only an advertising to fool the customers. Only the dispatcher speaks English, and the taxi driver usually speaks poorly even in Russian  . In order to get more profit, drivers hire citizens of the southern republics of the former USSR: Uzbekistan and others. Taxi drivers from the southern republics have a poor driving knowledge, which is very dangerous on Russian roads. If you want to drink or the toilet, change your program etc. you will have the language problems. It is especially dangerous in the case of unforeseen non-standard circumstances, of which there are many in Russia. In a special section of our guidebook, we will tell you the real cases from our experience. We recommend that you discuss these issues in an advance.

  • T-34 history museum   (you can  combine with WW2 battle for Moscow tour, same  charges)
  • T-34 tank ride base/ training center
  • Vehicle museum (Krasnogorsk aka “Zadorozhny”) – tanks, cars, aircrafts…
  • Motherland military history (aka Padikovo) – WW2 and Cold war tanks, artillery…
  • Military vehicle museum (Chernogolovka) – WW2 and Cold War tanks, engineering vehicles…
  • cars, truck and AV private museums (Moscow region)
  • Lenino-Snegiri historical military museum – “living history museum at WW2 battlefields, you can touch Pz VI “Tiger” !!!

Famous sights to visit by yourself:

  • Red Square, Mausoleum
  • Lubianka square, KGB Center
  • Donskoy Monastry and the historical cemetery
  • Tverskaya street
  • Arbat street, General Staff HQ
  • Metro stations, the total bomb helter
  • Vernisage collector market
  • all sights to visit by yourself…

Eastern front Battlefields 1-3 day tours from Moscow (with guide/ driver):

  • Battle for Kursk see “Battle for Kursk-Orel-Prokhorovka- Belgorod”
  • Borodino 1812/ 1941 battlefields museum
  • Battle for Moscow, North-West direction (Tverskaya, Rzhev)
  • Battle for Moscow, West direction (Smolensk)
  • Battle for Moscow, South-West direction (Kaluga) + Cold War tour
  • Partisan – guerilla zone (Briansk)

Famous battlefield tours from Moscow (by yourself by train or avia):

  • Saint-Petersburg tour (by yourself 1 or 2 days)
  • Battle for Leningrad (with the driver/ guide)
  • Stalingrad (for 1-2 or 3 days)
  • Archangelsk, North Russia Expeditionary Forces (by youself or guided)

You can also start / continued your tour in other cities after / before Moscow:

  • Stalingrad tour (with the local guide), WW2 famous battle
  • Kenigsberg, East Prussia (with the local guide)
  • Sevastopol – Crimea (with the local guide)

see also the recommended / standard private tours:

  • Moscow region (one hour by the car from Moscow): 2 museums in one day

WW2 Eastern front battlefield tours group