Out of Nowhere, Tank Plows Through Highway in Russia (+Video)

By Alex Johnston
Alex Johnston
Alex Johnston
January 28, 2013 Updated: January 31, 2013

A Russian T-90 tank that sped across a busy highway was captured on video, which went viral this week—drawing condemnation from Russian Internet users.

The manufacturer of the heavy tank, the most modern heavy armor used by the Russian military, insists that it did nothing illegal by driving across a highway in Nizhniy Tagil, located in the Ural Mountains.

“The car drivers who did not stop at the red traffic light were wrong,” a spokeswoman with Uralvagonzavod, the manufacturer, told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency Monday. “The tank drove through at green.”

She said that the intersection has the appropriate road signs and there is a road leading to the tank factory. “The video clearly shows that there is a red light for the cars,” she said.

But Russian netizens expressed outrage over the video, which shows a line of cars going down an asphalt road. Right after one of the cars goes past a road, a tank barges through the intersection at what appears to be full speed—or at least close to it.

“If we hadn’t stopped, the tank would have run us over,” a surprised driver said in the video after the tank appears out of nowhere, according to a translation by state-run broadcaster RT.

A T-90 tank costs as much as $2 million and some 1,500 are in service worldwide. The vehicle weighs more than 47 tons, meaning that if it slammed into a car at full speed, the car would be obliterated.

Lt. Sergei Pleshko, a local traffic police spokesman, said “The crossing is equipped with traffic lights, and vehicles moving along the roadway had to stop and give right of way to the tank,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

He also said that in some cases, tanks have been equipped with plows to clear away snow.

“In extreme cases we use engineering vehicles and removers built on the base of tanks to eliminate snow,” he said.