Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting on the development of the Far East, in Ulan-Ude


  • The trainspotter began writing about the features of Putin's train on his blog 'Railway Life'
  • Word-for-word transcriptions of his private conversations began appearing in his YouTube comments
  • The trainspotter shut down his blog in 2022, fearing that it could be used to imprison him

A Russian man who spent years tracking and photographing President Vladimir Putin's personal armored train now lives in exile after he was stalked by the FSB, according to a report.

Mikhail Korotkov, a 31-year-old trainspotter, said he began posting photos of Putin's train and writing about its features on his blog "Railway Life," which he launched in 2011. He was also the first train enthusiast to post an image of Putin's secret train in 2018.

"I was so deep in my hobby. I tried to get really rare pictures. And for me, the challenge was so huge that I was not thinking about consequences," Korotkov, who is from a town outside of Moscow, told The Washington Post.

However, he began fearing for his safety after word-for-word transcripts of his private phone conversations with a friend began appearing in the comments under his YouTube page in May 2021.

"I thought about my personal safety, and from that moment I realized that everything I had published on the internet could be used against me," he said, adding that he believed the FSB was watching him. "I told my parents that my life was in danger."

He shut down the blog a month after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, adding that he feared his trainspotting posts could be used to imprison him on terrorism charges. He fled to Sri Lanka in September after Putin announced a partial mobilization.

While the existence of Putin's armored train is not a secret, the Kremlin has refrained from posting many photos on the subject. In 2012, Putin himself was photographed boarding the train, though that image only featured an older version of the armored locomotive. In 2019, former Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was also seen conducting a meeting aboard the train. The Kremlin has not published any images showing the train's current exterior.

That being said, Dossier Center last month uploaded a video on YouTube that included photos of Putin's armored train, which has a bedroom and a workplace. The train also reportedly has a car for accompanying personnel and special communications.

Putin's armored train is estimated to cost about 1 billion Rubles or roughly US $13 million.

Russian President Vladimir Putin rides a train connecting the Crimea to mainland Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin rides a train connecting the Crimea to mainland Russia SPUTNIK / Alexey NIKOLSKY