Moscow's Museum of the Armed Forces represents the history and victories of the Russian Army and Navy through 24 halls of fascinating exhibits and military hardware. It was founded in 1919 and every year about 1 million visitors come in to see the Museum regular display and exhibitions.
The museum's 1st floor is entirely devoted to the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 and features a staggering array of banners, weapons, propaganda leaflets, uniforms, paintings and photographs depicting the various battles.
Among the Museum’s rarities are:
- valueless relic – the Victory Banner raised over the Reichstag building in Berlin in May 1945 as a symbol of victory over the Nazis;
- personal belongings and decorations of famous government and military leaders as J.Stalin, M.Frunze, G.Zhukov, K.Rokossovsky, A.Vasilevsky, N.Kuznetsov and others;
- trophies of World War II – Nazi flags, decorations, documents, weapons and even items which belonged to A.Hitler, A.Rosenberg, E.Rommel, H.Goering, F.Paulus;
- the wreckage of the American U2 spy plane piloted by F.G.Powers and shot down by Soviet Anti-Aircraft Defence Troops in May 1960.
The museum's post-war section proudly displays the wreckage of an American U-2 spy-plane that was shot down over the Urals in 1960.
The two rooms on Afghanistan feature the enormous booster-stage of an SS-16 missile, which the Soviets eventually agreed to scrap and which draws visitor attention away from the photo albums filled with evidence of atrocities committed during the drawn-our armed struggle.
Outside the museum is an impressive array of military hardware, including an armoured train, a helicopter gunship and a MiG-25, similar to those used in the war with Afghanistan.
In 1992-2000 the Museum got a very special donation from “Rodina” American-Russian Welfare Society, Inc. There were about 40.000 items of military history. Among them are: the St. George awards for units of the Russian Army; personal belongings, documents and photographs of the family of Emperor Nicholas II, famous generals M.Skobelev, A.Denikin and also soldiers and officers of the Russian Imperial Army and Navy.