‘Stalin’s yacht’ goes on sale less than half a million dollars…

An 80-year-old steam boat built as a luxury vessel for Soviet dictator Josef Stalin has officially gone on the market for less than half a million dollars.

The Moscow River Shipping Company are hoping to net 20 million rubles ($354,000) for the Maxim Gorky, which was built in 1934.

Potential buyers include the Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company and the regional government in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod, the Kommersant newspaper reported. Both parties are reportedly considering transforming the ship into a centerpiece for local museums.

The boat was once a VIP holiday spot for the Russian elite, hosting Soviet leaders Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev, as well as the head of Stalin’s secret police, Lavrenty Beria, and Stalin’s foreign minister, Vyacheslav Molotov. Despite being dubbed as “Stalin’s yacht,” there’s no evidence that the Soviet leader himself ever took a cruise onboard the vessel, which was built to strict NKVD specifications and could reach speeds of 30 kilometres an hour.

The ship fell out of favour in the 1960s and was relegated to transporting local delegations and Soviet tourists. Despite being fully refurbished in the 2000s, high running costs found the ship docked for good in 2014 and turned into a restaurant.