It speaks to Russia’s indomitable character that reports of an armored personnel carrier operating in its second largest city as a taxi doesn’t come as much of a shock.
In St. Petersburg, a BRDM-2 combat reconnaissance vehicle is now a licensed taxi, shuttling anyone with 5,000 rubles handy to just about anywhere they want. The seven-ton decommissioned military vehicle is powered by a 140-horsepower V8, meaning that passengers aren’t getting to their destination in a hurry, but they’re sure as heck going to make an entrance when they get there.
According to RT News, part of the restrictions of allowing the BRDM to operate as a cab was that it had to shed any camo and be painted with a more civilian-friendly color. Its owner chose a fire truck red, so you could see it coming. Go figure. Apart from deactivating the 14.5-millimeter machine gun in the turret, the rest of the APC hasn’t received many other upgrades for its civilian life (apart from a meter, presumably).
Due to its weight, the APC is restricted from traveling on certain streets in St. Petersburg for fear of the ground collapsing underneath. It’s probably not a great idea to pitch up to the Winter Palace in light armor, either. It does, however, make up for these shortcomings with its amphibious capabilities.
It turns out that in the historic city, there are several hours during the evening where the bridges that cross the Neva River are raised, allowing ships that travel down it from the Onega Lake access to the Baltic sea. This river bisects the city, so if someone was on one side of town, and needed to get to the other, the need only hail the amphibious armored recon vehicle, whereupon it will ford the Neva with ease. How’s that for service?
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