Post-Soviet Aircraft Graveyard Discovered on Abandoned Far East Russian Air Base

(Image: Maks Maydachenco, reproduced with permission)

During the Cold War CIA and U.S. Air Force pilots risked life and limb to spy on the Soviet Union. Today, we too can peer behind the former Iron Curtain, all from the comfort of our personal computers. Intriguingly, such virtual exploration has revealed abandoned military bases in the far reaches of Russia that – even today – house the rusting remnants of the feared Soviet bomber force.

(Image: Maks Maydachenco, reproduced with permission)

Littered with at least 18 gutted Tupolev Tu-22M Backfires of the 444th Heavy Bomber Regiment, Vozdvizhenka air base resembles a post-apocalyptic landscape. Entering this barren place, located near Ussuriysk in the Primorsky Krai region of Far East Russia, 60 miles north of Vladivostok and 40 miles from the Chinese border, is like taking a step back in time.

(Image: Google Earth via Digital Globe)

Google Earth reveals a chilly scene where numerous aircraft sit in their parking revetments, and dozens of hardened aircraft shelters lie semi-hidden beneath the snow. The 2005 satellite image shows at least 28 Backfire bombers, although this number has decreased in recent years, suggesting the planes are slowly being scrapped.  The base was likely still active when the aerial photo was taken.

(Image: Maks Maydachenco, reproduced with permission)

On the other hand, these atmospheric images, taken less than three months ago, reveal the remaining contingent of rusting hardware as it appears today. Although the Tupolev Tu-22M Backfire, developed at the height of the Cold War, remains in service with the Russian air force, English Russia reports that Vozdvizhenka was operational until 2007, after which some aircraft left for Siberia and the rest were simply abandoned.

(Image: Maks Maydachenco, reproduced with permission)

Urban explorers faced no obstacles when infiltrating Vozdvizhenka air base, as iron-clad security and military secrecy had long since melted into history. The images reveal an overgrown, neglected facility that has been derelict for years. Considering the isolated nature of its location and apparent lack of government interest, this ghostly Russian bomber fleet may continue haunting the airfield for years to come.



  • Anonymous

    Thats pretty amazing. Very cool indeed! Good stuff.

  • Amazing! It must be fascinating (and a bit scarey) to wander around… love it!

  • William

    They were once most one of the most feared of Russia’s inventory. Fast and furious and capable of Mach 2+. That said, I doubt the ones that “disappeared” have been scrapped. Russia has been rebuilding it’s military might, especially it’s Air Force. The fact that the remaining bombers have been gutted suggests that they have contributed to keeping the others functional. Those that are no longer present were probably flown to other, operational bases and are being upgraded.

  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R

    if it was legal i would gut a few of the planes there to make a full one it would be worth 2-5 million dollars

  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R

    the planes titanium is in good condition it might be any where from 15-50 dollars per pound so that is a lot of money in just taking a few panels off it

  • Mellow Jessica

    creepy cool

  • 5topAmnesty

    ,Those planes are TOTALLY GAY.


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