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Travels in Russia

KLM Rocks Across Europe!
Santa Claus in Moscow
Television Is a Time Suck
The Reality of Irrelevance
Salute Mayor Luzhkov
Impeachment Happens
I Am Not The Only One...
I'm Back! Did Ya Miss Me?
Chechnya Burning
Weddings in Winter
The Jews Are Here!
Gailyn Goes to Town
Is There a Central Bank?
Santa Barbara is Real
Nick's Thanksgiving in Russia
Den' Rozhdeniya = Birthdays
Those Crazy Expats
It's Just a Few Drops of Vodka...
Elections Are Always Rigged
The Blind Leading the Blind
Good Russian Grooms
You Say 'Boris Berezovskiy' Fast
Too Cold to Care!
Russian Oil Towns
Sneaky Siberian Tigers
Which Way is St Peterburg?
Where am I again? Oh, yeah...
I Love Me Some Vodka
It's a Gosorg Halloween
Hunger Comes to Us All
Why Don't They Just Learn English?!
Post-Crisis, Life Goes On
Is Yeltsin 'The Man'?
Murmansk - Brrrr!
These are Communists
It's a Power Vaccum
The Commies are Back
Propaganda is Good for You
You Better Buy Russian!
Sex Ed Soviet Style
Party over, oops outta time!
Russian Healthcare in Moscow
What Russian Financial Crisis?
YE Prices in Russia
The Hungry Duck
Russian Caviar Mafia
Magical Mushrooms
Shhhh! We're Bear Hunting
Soviet Street Scams
Bez Dollarov
A Koshka Konspiracy
On The Dacha
The Banking Implosion
Surviving Army Life
Shashleek is Steak on Steroids
Dacha Thinking
Beach Weekend
Dos Vedanya
Hello from Vladivostok
Equality Means Only She Works
Jogging is an Extreme Sport
Russians Have Reunions Too
My Folks in Massive Moscow
Better than Fireworks
Miners Are Real Men
The Russian Mafia is the Roof
No One Smiles in the CIS
One Year Anniversary
Russian Brides Rock
Laura is My St Pete Connection
Change is in the Wind
Chuck Norris' Beverly Hills Casino
The Expat Woman's Predicament
Street Food is Yummy!
Spring Flowers Make June Leavers
The Provinces Are Provincial
Ever Take an Elektrichka?
The English Invasion
Nuttin Like New Money
Rules Are Made to Break
All Black is Russian Fashion
Easter Memories = Easter Dinner
Politics, Russian Style
Theresa Tries to Russify
I Go to Gay Clubs Worldwide
I Hide on Women's Day
New & Shiny: Nizhny Novgorod
Psst! Wanna job in Moscow?
Fili Park Has All the Bootlegs
Web Page Reactions
Take a Break at Dom Odaha
Expat Living in Moscow is Swank
Why Are You Remonting?
They Look Like Telephones...
In Need of a Decent Hairstylist
Smashing Bottles in Red Square


Russia, October 6, 1998

Taganka Hides Her Secrects

And you though you'd seen all of the metro!

This is a good thing to know about since I live right next to Taganka Square...

Moskovskiy Komsomolets 6 October 1998

"Taganka May Collapse Under the Ground: The End of the World in One Square"

Yuliya Kalinina reports:

We live in continual fear.

Once, we feared the American atom bomb. Now we fear that the American dollar will be banned. Fear forces one to prepare for the worst. How we could live without dollars is for now unknown. This is a completely new idea, and we have not worked out a strategy and tactics of how to act. But we knew how to prepare for the atom bomb, and we prepared on a big scale -- widely and deeply.

In connection with the disappearance of old threats and the appearance of new ones, this entire underground economy is now of no use to anyone. It has been forgotten and left to the mercy of fate. Fate has not been kind. The empty spaces underground, which have not even been inspected much less maintained, have begun to fall into disrepair and to threaten citizens from below. This summer, because of such a case, Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street collapsed. We are on the verge of anotherdisaster.

At the end of the 1950's an emergency command post (ECP) was built under Taganka Square. According to our data, it was under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defense (It was built by the Defense Ministry special construction organization). In the event of a nuclear strike, the military command was supposed to gather at the ECP and direct defensive, offensive and counterattack operations. The emergency command post under Taganka is enormous. It has an area of ten thousand square meters. It is at the same level as the Metro. Of course, the fact of its existence is a military secret, and therefore Metro employees know little about it.

In the last thirty years, the walls, floor and ceiling have begun to deteriorate and to let groundwater seep in. The ECP is being quietly overwhelmed. Now 200 tonnes of water per hour are entering it. That is enough water to fill up a ten-story building in an hour. There is one pump working in the ECP under Taganka. It is a big one, and it pumps out about as much water as seeps in. But it is the only one. If, God forbid, the pump broke down or if the electricity was suddenly shut off, that would be the end. The ECP would be flooded in a matter of hours.

The water would either break through the partitions separating it from the Metro and flood our beloved subway system, or it would rise upward to the surface. In that case, the entire Taganka Square would be facing what happened to Bolshaya Dmitrovka Street. Buildings would collapse, cars would fall into the pit, and citizens would run around screaming in terror.

Agggh! The Stalin building would topple and kill us all!

To prevent this from happening, it is necessary to promptly seal off the ECP. New concrete must be poured on the walls and floors, or it must be enclosed in a steel container. Such projects would cost on the order of 8-9 million rubles. Who has such money now? The ECP's owner, who ideally should take care of repairing it, of course does not have the money. Tearful letters, pleading for action to prevent the disaster, are as usual going from the ministry to the Moscow city government, from the city government to the federal authorities, and from there back to the cabinet.

A voice crying in the wilderness. The circle is closed. No one has any money, and everyone has his own concerns. That is why one should be afraid. At least, people who live in Taganka or who travel through it should be afraid. A flood, a cave-in, destruction and casualties. It will be worse that the banning of thedollar.

Is there long to wait? That is unknown. For now, the pump is hanging on. Muscovites can only pray for its good health, and the people who live in Taganka should prepare to be evacuated.

Literaturnaya Gazeta 9 December 1998

"The Secret Metro: Metro Chief Gayev Would Be Quite Surprised If It Did Not Exist"

By Irina Vorobyeva

[Vorobyeva] Dmitriy Vladimirovich, what are your plans? How far will we be able to travel in the next five years?

[Gayev] See for yourself. The Dubrovka Metro Station will open up at the end of 1999. Trains will leave the Prazhskaya Station headed for Rossoshanskaya. From there, in three years, they will head for Severnoye Butovo to the Kachalovo Station. Then we will build the segment from Kiyevskaya to Park Pobedy. A year later, the Lyublinskaya Line will extend to Trubnaya, in 2004--to Marinaya Roshcha, and perhaps prior to the year 2005 will extend from Park Pobedy to Stroginskiy Bulvar. It is a highly ambitious program: to complete the Stroginskaya Line; to go from Marino to Krasnogvardeyskaya, and then to Brateyevo; to go from Krylatskiy to Mitino.

[Vorobyeva] What is needed in order to accomplish this?

[Gayev] A certain amount of funding--R1.5 billion [rubles] a year. At present, however, no financing at all is envisaged for Russian metro construction next year! In this regard, you must take into account the fact that the lines that have already been begun cannot be discarded. They must either be completed or preserved in temporary shut-down. Water must be pumped and the lower recesses ventilated. Money is required in any case. In St. Petersburg alone, 70 kilometers of underground excavation work has been "frozen." Sixty kilometers here. It will be cheaper to complete construction on the stations I enumerated. First Deputy Premier Gustov has directed the Ministry of Construction and other ministries and departments to determine the minimal level of outlays the federal budget will be able to finance. We will see...

[Vorobyeva] Will the Moscow Government assist you?

[Gayev] Our metro system--which is, as you know, the largest in Russia, is supposed to be financed 80 percent by the federal budget, only 20 percent by the Moscow budget. In 1998 the plan called for the allocation of R1.4 billion, but only R120 million was in fact allocated. Moscow provided an amount four times greater. But there remain debts to contractor organizations which, in turn, must be paid to suppliers and workers. But when the debt exceeds the amount of annual upkeep, there is no funding for construction.

In this regard, the state itself has placed the metro on the verge of bankruptcy. Prior to the 1990s, there were no free passes. Suddenly 53 percent of the populace began to travel at no charge. In 1998 alone the metro system came up R2.8 billion short by virtue of reduced-fare tokens. Then there are taxes, outlays for equipment, materials, and energy resources. You can see for yourself.[Passages omitted]

[Vorobyeva] Dmitriy Vladimirovich, in a conversation with the chief of the metro system, I cannot help but ask about secret Moscow subways. I am referring to the legends concerning a military metro, government metro, and military facilities underground that "diggers" say no one keeps track of. Soon the entire capital city will fall into the earth.

[Gayev] First of all, who are the "diggers"? They are more than hooligans--they are downright criminals. People die because of them. Do we catch young lads carrying lanterns down in the tunnels? Yes, we do. Some of them we apprehend, others crawl underneath a train and escape. As I have said, the metro is a dangerous place.

Secondly, as far as government and military underground systems are concerned, I would be amazed if they did not exist.

[Vorobyeva] It is said that during construction of the Park Pobedy Station, a siding was used that led to Stalin's nearby dacha...

[Gayev] I do not know. I was not there. I will not lie to you. In building the Stroginskaya Line, we intend to use a segment of the existing tunnel from Kuntsevskaya Station to Molodezhnaya Station. I have not heard about other tunnels.

[Vorobyeva] Who would be able to corroborate information concerning the secret metro?[Gayev] Probably the entity that owns it.

[Vorobyeva] The government?

[Gayev] In all likelihood.

[Vorobyeva] Let me formulate the question somewhat differently. How would you comment on published newspaper materials on this topic?

[Gayev] Do you remember "A Song About Rumors" by Vysotskiy? That is how I relate to this. I have nothing to do with any secret metro and can only surmise about it. Let me say again that I would be quite surprised if it did not exist--and not only here, but in Paris, New York, and Washington, as well.

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