CAN you imagine?
Red flags draped from the front of Manchester Town Hall. Tanks patrolling up Deansgate. HMP Strangeways under the control of Spetznaz special forces.
It could have happened.
A startling map showing Soviet plans to invade Manchester have been revealed for the first time this week.
The detailed drawing, created just 35 years ago in 1974, shows how Russian tanks would have targeted the city.
It identifies that T-72 tanks could have come up the Mancunian Way and colour coded targets around the city including the nuclear site and prison.
Chris Perkins, University of Manchester geography lecturer and curator of a new exhibition which unveiled the map, said there was not much the Soviet generals missed out.
‘It shows the roads – familiar to many Mancunians – which the Soviets felt were wide enough to carry tanks including Washway Road, the Mancunian Way, and Princess Road.
‘They even transliterated place names – such as Urmston, Salford and Stretford into Russian.
OK – so while it is conceivable that we may now have been going to shop at the Traffordski Centre rather than using the piste at Chill factor E, or parking our cars at the Stretski Arndale, going to see a consultant at Trafford General Hospital in Urmski or viewing that iconic photo of The Smiths posing outside Salfski Lads Club – it all would have come to a grinding halt in Moss Side(ski) wouldn’t it?
While the Soviet Generals didn’t seem to miss out any detail of how they were going to transform the Capital of the North into a new St Petersburg they did actually neglect one crucial detail – the Republic of Mancunia hasn’t rolled over for any invaders since Caesar sent his legions this way a couple of thousand years ago.
Imagine the might of the Soviet Army coming face-to-face with Moss Side’s Pepperhill Gang or, in 1974, those esteemed ‘businessmen’ who went by the title of the Quality Street gang.
Even Spetznaz Special Forces aren’t equipped to deal with those kind of shock troops!
Worse still, they’d have come a serious cropper in the face of the army of shell-suited chavs whose regiments patrol the corridors of the Arndale Centre.
Russian invasion of Manchester – don’t make me laugh – they wouldn’t have made it past the ‘street traders’ on Marketski Street before turning around and speeding back towards Moscow at full tilt!
By Adam Moss, News Editor