Humongous Russian hovercraft startles beachgoers

Beachgoers in Russia found themselves in the midst of a tactical maneuver by the world's largest class of hovercraft. A Russian defense ministry spokesperson said that the beach was on the territory of a Russian military base, and that he didn't know why there were civilians on the beach. 

In Russia, you don't go to military base; military base goes to you.

At least that's what hundreds of beachgoers near Kaliningrad learned when a nearly 200-foot-long hovercraft, spraying a plume of water 80-feet high, made an unexpected landing.

The hovercraft was very probably one of Russia's three Zubr-class landing vessels. The world's largest hovercraft, the Zubr, or Russian for "bison," can carry up to 130 tons of cargo, including up to 500 troops. Constructed in St. Petersburg, the Zubr is also used by the navies of Ukraine, China, and Greece.

According to Sky News, which relied on reporting from the popular Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda, onlookers were "surrounded by paratroopers and asked to move on."

Sky quotes a Russian military spokesman, who said that the vessel was performing tactical maneuvers in the Baltic Sea. He called the landing a "normal event."

"What people were doing at the beach on the territory of a military (base) is unclear," said the spokesman. Sky speculates that he might have been referring to a base that is several miles away from the beach. 

What's also unclear is why the hovercraft, which can fly only a few feet above the water's surface, was carrying paratroopers. 

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.