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Future soldiers treated to a “tank biathlon” show on the Conscript Day


More than 200 11th grade pupils from the Leningrad region have had a taste of army life. For now they are still future conscripts. A tank race through a minefield was organized specially for them at the Western Military District’s training center. Certainly there were no real mines laid, but the conditions were very close to reality. Alexander Burenin found out what the “Tank Biathlon” actually is.


Alexander Burenin, correspondent: “The most anticipated part of the show – training runs of the tank brigade. The squad will make a few circles across the field and destroy two targets. They will not use real ammo, but even that will create sound effects which would impress the unprepared”.

The tank squad of the North-Western military district is probably the most successful of modern day history. In August, this group of four prevailed at the first ever international tank biathlon competition, held at the Moscow region’s Alyabino village. Commanders decided to set them as an example on the Conscript Day to potential army servicemen. Champions – who have only just started getting used to popularity – were quite modest. 

Artur Gabizov, commander of the tank squad: “This sport is very close to real military action. You have to hit targets while solving arising issues – both technical and moral”. 

Next year the competition will go global – army men from the USA and Italy will come to Russia to participate. Defending the title will be traditionally more difficult than winning it. 

Deafened by tank shots, future conscripts reached the military base. A slight rain couldn’t hamper a gathering on the training ground. Young men were introduced to firearms: from the traditional Makarov pistol to a stationed grenade launcher. They were also shown the living quarters. The guests were deeply surprised by the amount of belongings of a regular soldier. The whole inventory barely fit on four tables. 

Sergey Kuralenko, commander of military regiment of the Western Military District: “This day gives an opportunity to feel and embrace the army lifestyle. And helps one understand – what should be changed and improved so that one comes prepared for the army service”.

Rounding off the excursion is another formation. The last command is just like the first – “march on, out of step”. Students are allowed to break the formation. But in a few years many of them will march and live according to the army rules. That’s when the conscripts will be able to really compare this excursion with the reality.  

Correspondent: Alexander Burenin