Moscow’s Central Museum of the Armed Forces doesn’t specify a country in its title, but the answer becomes clear when you step inside. This is the Armed Forces of the USSR, comrade!

Allowing for the Soviet focus, it is an excellent museum of its kind, well laid out, with many shiny artifacts. Outside are arrays of planes, tanks and missiles.

The center piece is a hall celebrating the Soviet WWII Victory.  Two standard Soviet victory images are the raising of the Red Banner over the Reichstag and the throwing of Nazi banners into the dust in Red Square.  Provincial museums must make do with photographs or paintings, but this is Moscow and the Holy Relics themselves are on display!

A perspex case houses the Banner of Victory from the Reichstag. While I was watching, several groups of school age children in military uniforms were herded in to pay their somewhat puzzled respects.

A special floor-level display case houses a sample of the captured Nazi banners from the 1945 Victory Parade, arranged in artful disarray, just as if they were freshly thrown into the dust.

The Museum has many other halls. In one, I found the remains of Gary Power’s U2, as recovered after being shot down over the USSR in 1960. Of course the room tells the history from the Soviet perspective, focusing on the Soviet pilots who brought down the plane.

Soviet Museums tend to ignore the Western front in WWII (just as Western museums tend to underplay the Eastern front) so I was pleased to find a display on the D-Day Landings. There is also a propaganda painting showing happy celebrations as US and Soviet troops link up in Germany. Even more unusually there is a small display commemorating the US material aid to the Soviets, with a photo celebrating the 5000th US plane (!) being delivered from Alaska to Siberia.

Lenin and the Red Army

Practicalities: Open Wed-Sun 10 to 5. GPS 55.784956,37.616669. Take the metro to Dostoevskaya then go about 100m North on Ul Sovetskaya Armee and look for the ICBM.