This spring, the leader of the Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) patriotic organization, Pavel Baranenko, organized tank rides in one of the parks on the bank of the Neva River in St. Petersburg, Russia. Thrill-seekers were asked to pay 300 rubles (just over $4) for a chance to sit atop a World War II era T-60 Soviet light tank as it traversed an obstacle course.
One such ride nearly ended in tragedy when a man and two boys, aged 10 and 15, fell from the six-ton vehicle and found themselves under its metal tracks. The victims very were lucky to escape with only minor injuries, but the incident, which was filmed from several angles, got wide public attention after the videos were uploaded online.
Despite confiscating Baranenko’s tank, the St. Petersburg court announced that the criminal case on “providing services not meeting security requirements” has been closed due to the reconciliation of the parties. The victims addressed the judges, asking them to stop the prosecution of the Krasnaya Zvezda boss, since he had compensated for the damage done to them.
The historic T-60 seized from Baranenko is a true rarity. A total of 5,920 such tanks were produced to fight the Nazis in 1941-1943, but only six of them currently remain in military museums in Russia and Finland.
The Krasnaya Zvezda leader had already found himself in hot water earlier this year when 20 improvised explosive devices, an artillery shell, a mortar shell, over a hundred rounds of ammunition and 20 AK-47 replicas were found during a search at his home.
A full-grown Nile crocodile was also discovered in the man’s basement as Baranenko just seems to be fond of large green things.