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Tank and military hardware restoration in Belarus: who does it and with what purpose?

Foreign Ambassadors visited the historical and cultural complex “Stalin Line” near Minsk, where they saw military equipment dating back to the Great Patriotic War. Not only Ambassadors, children and tourists are interested in it. In its time Forbes made a list of the most expensive artifacts of the Second World War, among which are airplanes, code converter “Enigma”, collectors pay hundreds and even millions of dollars for military commanders’ awards. However, this family from Shklov restores tanks and other military equipment in the sake of history.

Mikhail Metla, development and promotion director of the Historical and Cultural Complex “Stalin Line":
The only original thing here is the cannon. Other equipment is made in accordance with drawings.

All hardware went through a long way, including the process of restoration. These are the shots of research expeditions, which are regularly conducted in places of the Great Patriotic War battles. A sunken combat vehicle will soon be dragged out of this swamp soon.

Vladimir Yakushev, head mechanic of the Historical and Cultural Complex “Stalin Line”:
When a tank is seen from above the water, I start feeling down. It is history that we bring up to the surface and we remember how our grandfathers fought. We make tanks to show who won the war and what tanks were like in those days.

Vladimir Yakushev used to work as an engineer at a collective farm before. However, he got interested in restoration so much that he moved to Minsk. He has been dedicating himself to his favorite job for 20 years now. He searches and restores of dead tanks, planes and military boats at the Stalin Line. His son and friends are together with him.

Vladimir Yakushev, head mechanic of the Historical and Cultural Complex “Stalin Line”:
We found this tank at a range in Starie Dorogi. We put it back together, restored it and gave the equipment to museums.

Alexander Mikalutsky, renovator at the Historical and Cultural Complex “Stalin Line”:
This tank participated in the Berlin parade on September 9, 1945. The front of the tank is made in a shape of a bulge; the shape of the tower has a very interesting appearance.

Only Those tanks which won’t function any more are converted into memorials. However, it is possible to move most of the tanks with the help of caterpillar belts. The second life of these tanks is nothing like their first one. They participate in historic reconstructions, in films.

Vladimir Yakushev, head mechanic of the Historical and Cultural Complex “Stalin Line”:
A mechanic is needed; no one will show you anyway. You are driving the tank, then actors get out of the tank and it seems that it were them driving it. I think that I participated in five films.

One of the most successful finds for the renovators from Shklov was the German battle tank Panzer III. It was found in a swamp in Vitebsk region.

This is the legendary BT-7 battle. It was found in a swamp as well, but now, thanks to the renovators, it looks brand new and participates in the parades dedicated in to Victory Day. Soviet military equipment has always been troubleproof and easy to repair.

This heavy KV-1 tank was found in Senno district and was restored at the Stalin Line complex. Germans used to call it “ghost. Zinoviy Kolobanov was in a tank like this when he eliminated 22 enemy tanks in half an hour near Leningrad. His KV-1 got damaged but it could continue fighting.

Vladimir Yakushev, head mechanic of the Historical and Cultural Complex “Stalin Line”:
Soviet tanks were way better due to the caterpillar belts and they could cope with the snow, unlike German tanks. When we had a battle reconstruction at the complex in winter, German tanks couldn’t drive up the hill, Soviet tanks done it easily.

Many exhibits at the complex are in a unique copy, Tis museum under open sky is the territory of patriotism and historic authenticity. You don’t need a time machine to see real machinery of the Great Patriotic War.

Mikhail Metla, development and promotion director of the Historical and Cultural Complex "Stalin Line":
Every country is trying to amass a certain collection. You can see the ZIS-5 truck, which is on the run and will be participating in the reconstruction. This is T-44; they participated in the parade at the end of the Great Patriotic War and demonstrated the strength of the Soviet Union.

Renovators are dreaming of comparing the battle characteristics of the main tanks of the Second World War: T-34 and the German “Tiger”.

Alexander Mikalutsky, renovator at the Historical and Cultural Complex “Stalin Line”:
We would restore this German tank, I think that is should participate in the reconstructions at the complex. People need to see what it looks like, what our fathers and grandfathers had to face with.

Many military hardware of that period still lie beneath the earth. Researchers are studying archives, talk to the witnesses of the battles and try to restore the picture of events.

One of the nearest expeditions will be carried out in Slavgorod district. This is where battles took places during the 1943-1944 periods. Researchers confirmed that there is something there but they won’t find out till they lift it from the swamp.

However, the main thing today is for people to remember their history.

Mikhail Metla, development and promotion director of the Historical and Cultural Complex “Stalin Line":
The Historic and Cultural Complex “Stalin Line” has a club “Soldiers of Victory”. People come and ask to participate in reconstructions. What is more, they want to participate as Soviet soldiers.

Tank and military hardware restoration in Belarus: who does it and with what purpose?