An old Soviet submarine typical of those used during the Cold War has been turned into a private museum in St Petersburg. The vessel is the last of more than two hundred of the S-189 series built in the 1950s and 60s.
Originally built at St Petersburg, the sub was in use for more than 35 years until it sank through neglect in the early 1990s.
The museum is run by a team of retired crew members who look after the submarine and offer guided tours.
“It was designed to destroy ships used for enemy transportation, to engage in underwater battles with enemy submarines, for spy missions and other specific missions,” said submarine captain and museum director Nikolai Chernyishev.
Inside the seven compartments, from the torpedo room to the living quarters, the aim is to get visitors to experience the same atmosphere as the Soviet crew. Amid the crowded Baltic shipping lanes, hiding from NATO’s view was a tough challenge.
“CO2 levels should be no higher than two percent, after that the submarine needed air,” explained the museum’s curator Sergei Naumov, a third ranking captain on the submarine. “Ventilation was usually done by surfacing at night so as not to be seen by NATO anti-submarine planes. They posed the biggest danger.”
Until five years ago the sunken submarine was considered irretrievable. It was raised from the seabed and restored thanks to the efforts of a former crew member turned entrepreneur. But the project is not complete and more funds are needed.