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Ground Troops Aviation Training Center

Torzhok (translates as "market place"), a small town in Russia on the Vertsa River, is home to the Ground Troops Aviation Training Center. The Center provides high-class training of Russian helicopter pilots. It also serves as a base for testing new and refurbished helicopters. Due to the economic crisis in Russia, the Center has also opened its training to pilots of foreign countries.

In June 2003 five new Russian helicopter models were displayed at the Tver Region air show. The most modern Russian helicopters can be seen today in Torzhok, Tver Region. The participants in the show deplored the fact that most of the aircraft on display have been produced in just one model. The Russian army is not buying modern aircraft due to financial shortages. This exhibition was organized by the locally-based training center for army aviation. Five types of combat and transport helicopters are on display at the airfield. Their serial production hasn't started yet, but some of them have already been tested in Chechnya.

The Ka-50 officially entered service in 1995 but so far, no more than four Ka-50s are known to have been delivered to Army Aviation's 344th Combat Training and Aircrew Conversion Center at Torzhok, the first pair having been taken on strength as early as November 1993. The one training squadron of Ka-50 helicopters based in Torzhok is the only Russia's Army Aviation unit equipped as of 1999. The initial order for 15 Ka-50s was also reported cancelled in September of 1998, postponed at that time until 2003.

The handover of five Mi-24PN ("pushka-noch" ["night cannon"]) helicopters to the Russian Air Force took place on the Rostvertol Plant's runway in early 2004. The Mi-24PN's will eventually join combat units stationed in the North Caucasus. But to begin with, the machines were sent to Tver Oblast, to the helicopter training center at Torzhok, for a more exact study of their combat potential. In addition, the technical specifications of the Mi-24PN still have to be confirmed. And not only in the course of proving-ground tests (at Torzhok) but also under combat conditions.

Torzhok is a town in the Tver Oblast in Russia, most famous its folk craft of goldwork embroidery. Located on the Tvertsa River, 60 km west of Tver, the population was 48,967 in 2002. Torzhok is remarkable for the number and quality of its churches.

Torzhok was burnt out some fifty times in its history. Torzhok was first mentioned in a chronicle in 1139. The Mongols burnt it in 1238, but didn't proceed northward to Novgorod. At that time the town commanded the only route whereby grain was delivered to Novgorod. Once Torzhok blocked the route, a great shortage of grain and famine in Novgorod would follow. Consequently, Torzhok was known as a key to Novgorod Republic and frequently changed hands during feudal internecine wars.

The town was incorporated into Muscovy with the rest of Novgorod Republic in 1478. The Polish army frequently ravaged it during the Time of Troubles. During the imperial period of Russian history, Torzhok was known as an important post station on the highway from Moscow to St Petersburg. Alexander Pushkin, for instance, used to pass through the town on a number of occasions, so there was a museum to him in the town.

Architectural monuments of Torzhok include a number of parish churches, dating back to the late 17th or early 18th centuries. Under Catherine the Great, the old monastery of Sts Boris and Gleb was redesigned in Neoclassical style by a local landowner, Prince Lvov. The main city church is the Saviour-Transfiguration Cathedral, founded in 1374. The current edifice was consecrated in 1822. There is also Catherine II's diminutive travel palace.

The arms were granted on October 10, 1780 and again on September 24, 1991.

In July 2002 the building of once-famous hotel of the Pozharskys burned down. In his time Russian classic Alexandr Pushkin stayed, as well as other famous people of 19th century: poet and translator Vasily Zhukovsky, writers Nikolai Gogol, Sergei Axakov, publicist Vissarion Belinsky. The museum in Torzhok embodied the fate of all Russian museums and architectural memorials: they stay desolate for years, being ruined by rains, snow, sun, and later they suddenly disappear completely.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 13:23:26 ZULU