Moscow River Shipping Company (MRP), one of Russia’s largest shipping firms, has put the country’s oldest and rarest yacht up for sale. Known as the ‘Yacht of Stalin’, it was built in 1934 and was reportedly owned by Joseph Stalin. High operating costs mean it has been used solely as a restaurant since 2014.

The yacht will likely sell through auction with a starting price of around US$2-3m. Much interest has already been expressed by well-known collectors and philanthropists from the UK, US and some Arabian states.

The auction will be held in Moscow at the end of February.

Built in 1934 by Krasnoe Sormovo, a shipyard based in Nizhny Novgorod, the yacht was built for Stalin according to the military technical department of the Council of People's Commissars of the USSR. Its length is around 69m and its width is 13m. The ship is designed for speeds over 30km/h.

The 'Yacht of Stalin' was also used by Maxim Gorky, a well-known Soviet writer who was one Stalin’s minions. In the 2000s, the ship underwent an interior restoration that involved the replacement of its engine and navigation systems.