Book Review
Russian Army on Parade
The Return of Russia's Red Square Military Parades 2008-09
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by: Jurjen Zuijdendorp [ JURJEN ]

The significance of a national military parade is obvious: to strengthen national pride by showing the latest military hardware in a public display. One could say that Russia has a strong tradition concerning military parades held in Moscow's Red Square, traditionally on May 1st. These annual parades were closely followed by foreign military observers during the Cold War. After an absence of 18 years, Russia re-introduced a Red Square parade in 2008. As in the past, the parade provided a rare opportunity to observe the latest military hardware found in the Russian Federation army. Tankograd's new publication illustrates the vehicles shown in the 2008 and 2009 parades, thus granting a look at the most recent Russian military vehicle technology.

The Book
The book was written by Jim Kinnear, with text and captions translated into German by Jochen Vollert, and includes 3 black & white and 114 colour photographs spread over 64 pages. The book is remarkable, since the author notes how on the day of the parades, the huge crowds prevent close-up, detailed photographs of the vehicles. Most of the photographs were taken during rehearsals, which allowed detailed shots from various angles and directions.


The book's introduction is well-written because it also outlines the context in which the 2008/2009 parades should be seen. For example; “tanks, armoured vehicles and rocket launchers returned to Red Square for Russia’s first military parade of the 21st Century, ostensibly celebrating the 63rd anniversary of Victory in Europe in 1945.” Besides the usual historical background and an introduction to the various vehicles, the author also covers the political context. The Russian Federation wants to be counted as a world power again, and some space is given to covering this attitude. On a technical note, it is well known the Russian Army uses complicated designations for its vehicles, especially those for air defence (see below). The frequent use these designations in the introduction makes it sometimes difficult to follow, especially if the reader does not have much knowledge on the subject. However, this should be no problem once you read the book.

After the introduction, the various vehicles are covered in separate chapters. Each chapter starts with its own introduction providing information on the historical background, technical data and the current service. Captions are used to provide extra information about the photographs.

GAZ-2330 Armoured Car (3 pages)
The GAZ-2330 Armoured Car is Russia’s answer to the US HMMWV. A technical overview is provided and information is given about its current service with a full-page colour photo.

BTR-80 Wheeled Armoured Personnel Carrier (3 p.)
The BTR-80 has seen active service with the Russian Army and MVD forces in many local conflicts. It has been in service since 1986, and is still part of these military parades. Six photos show the BTR-80 from different directions.

BMD-4 Airborne Mechanised Infantry Combat Vehicle (4 p.)
The BMD-4 made its first appearance in the 2008 parade, and again in 2009. The book shows the latest version of the BMD Airborne MICV, which interestingly if required can be air-dropped with the crew inside. Total six photos, including one full page photo.

BMP-3 Mechanised Infantry Combat Vehicle (5 p.)
Put in service in 1987, the BMP-3 is the successor to the BMP-1 and BMP-2. Five pages with photos from different angles, one full-page photo.

2S25 Sprut Airborne Self-Propelled Gun (5 p.)
The 2S25 Sprut made its first appearance at the 2008 parade, and is the spiritual successor to the ASU-85. Ir can be parachute-dropped. Ten photos with one full-page photo.

2S19 MSTA-S Tracked Self-Propelled Howitzer (4 p.)
This vehicle recalls the KV-2 in World War 2 due to its size and its 152mm howitzer. Seven photos with one full-page photo.

T-90 Main Battle Tank (5 p.)
Interestingly this was the only main battle tank on display during both parades. Nine photos with one full-page photo.

2S6M Tunguska Self-Propelled Air-Defence Gun-Missile System (2 p.)
NATO code: SA-19 Grison. The Tunguska did not made an appearance at the 2009 show. Only 2 photos and one full-page photo.

9K331 Tor-M1 Self-Propelled Air-Defence Missile System (2 p.)
NATO code: SA-15 Gauntlet. This vehicle only made an appearance at the 2008 show. Three photos.

9K37M2 Buk-M2 Self-Propelled Air-Defence Missile System (4 p.)
NATO code: SA-11 Gadfly/SA-17 Grizzly). The original 9K37 Buk system began replacing the SA-6 Gainful (NATO code) system in service in 1979. Seven photos from different angles.

S-300 Favorit Self-Propelled Air-Defence Missile System (2 p.)
NATO code: SA-10 Grumble. Only a short introduction is given with four photos.

S-400 Triumph Self-Propelled Air-Defence Missile System (3 p.)
NATO code: SA-21 Growler. The S-400 is a further development of the S-300. The system is entirely new and saw its first public debut at the 2009 parade. Six photos spread over three pages.

9K720 Iskander-M Tactical Missile System (4 p.)
NATO code: SS-26 Stone. This vehicle is the successor to the 9K72 “Elbrus” (better know as the SS-1c SCUD-B). It entered service in 2006. An historical background is provided with additional technical information. Nine photos.

9K58 Smerch Multiple Rocket System (2 p.)
This vehicle is armed with a twelve barrel 300mm rocket system. Six photos.

RS-12M Topol Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System (5 p.)
The “Topol” was introduced in 1985, but was not first paraded on Red Square until 1990, then was not seen in again in public until the 2008 parade. Despite the sheer size of this vehicle - and moving - the author succeeded in making sharp photos (a total of nine).

BREM-1, KET-T, KT-LM, KamAZ-65225 Recovery Vehicle (5 p.)
The last section covers recovery vehicles. The 2009 parade saw the first appearance of the KamAZ-65225 tank transporter, which may ultimately replace the well-known MAZ-537 transporter. Twelve photos are provided to cover these vehicles.

Night Impressions
This section covers three photos which were taken at night.


This publication covers a variety of the latest military hardware of the ground forces of the Russian Federation. The photos are very sharp, even when you consider that the vehicles were moving during the rehearsals and the parades. The captions provide additional information and are very useful. The purpose of this publication is to give the reader an overall view of the latest ground forces and it definitely succeeded in achieving this. To what extent is it useful to the modeller? The book is not intended for people who are only interested in detail shots or comprehensive walkarounds. But it sure has it use for providing extra information and, most of all, it inspired me to continue building modern Russian armour. Highly recommended.
Highs: A well-written introduction to the Red Square parades and the context in which these parades should be seen. Many sharp photos of the various vehicles and interesting captions.
Lows: Some introductions about the vehicles could have been more extensive.
Verdict: A must have for anyone who's interested in the latest Russian military equipment. Not intended for the modeller who's only interested in comprehensive walkarounds and detail shots.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: Other
  Mfg. ID: 2008
  Suggested Retail: Euro: 14.95
  Related Link: Tankograd Publishing
  PUBLISHED: Jul 28, 2009

Our Thanks to Tankograd Publishing!
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About Jurjen Zuijdendorp (Jurjen)

Hi! My name is Jurjen Zuijdendorp from Groningen, Netherlands. I started building models when I was a kid and my main interest today is Soviet/Russian modern armour. I studied Human Geography and spatial planning and currently working as an assistent project manager at the spatial planning departmen...

Copyright ©2021 text by Jurjen Zuijdendorp [ JURJEN ]. All rights reserved.


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