Posts Tagged ‘Moscow’

(METPO-2)

Page 69, Fodor’s Moscow & St Petersburg

Moscow’s metro is one of the deepest in the world, but below it, if you believe the Soviet Legend, is a second even deeper metro system, Metro 2. This metro was purportedly built for Stalin as a private line for top party officials. One of the lines supposedly led from the Kremlin to the Lubyanka, the home of the feared KGB.

1933, summer, and two men found a centuries old tunnel within sight of the Kremlin, excited that they might find Ivan the Terrible’s gold-covered books they found 5 skeletons and a rusted door they could not open. They didn’t dare let on what they had found during Stalin’s reign but when Mikhail Gorbechav came to power surviving engineer, Apollos Ivanov, recalled the tale.

It’s a good old-fashioned conspiracy dive, Metro 2 is the informal name for the secret underground system which parallels the public metro system in Moscow. It is theorised that it was built, or at least started, during the era of Joseph Stalin and codenamed D6 (Д-6) by the KGB.

The KGB (Комите́т Госуда́рственной Безопа́сности (КГБ)) was the main security agency for the Soviet Union, 1954-1991 until the breakup of the union. D6 is still rumoured to be operated by the Main Directorate of Special Programmes and Ministry of Defence.

In 1992 a journalist magazine called Yunost published a novel by Vladimir Eonik. It was called Преисподняя  (Preispodniaia or Abyss) and was sent in an Underground bunker in Moscow. The idea of the D6 project had been introduced to them via 20 years of collected papers and works on secret bunkers and an underground railway system that connected them.

Russian reporters have neither confirmed or denied the existence of D6, but there is supposedly evidence of it and when the Rossiya Hotel was demolished near the Kremlin a tunnel was found, providing another potential link into the conspiracy theory being more of a fact. Given that tunnels are all over major cities I’m not actually sure if this is to be counted as proof. So, let’s take a look into what we can find for further information.

1994, an exploration group “Diggers of the Underground Planet” claimed they’d found an entrance to the system, before that in 1991 the United States Department of Defence published a report ‘Military Forces in transition” that had a diagram of the system that was superimposed on a city map which was, it states, designed for 100,000 people.

Igor Maleshenko, the Deputy Director Broadcaster, gave an interview in 1992 with Time and discussed a similar project called Sofrino-2, he said that it has been built in case of a nuclear war but like many of the installations it was unusable. The age, deterioration and flooding had affected a great number of them.

2004, former advisor to Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin, Vladimir Shevchenko confirmed that there was a secret in the Moscow Metro, however he said that the number of these things were greatly exaggerated. He then touched upon the subject again, “currently, the Kremlin subway cannot be called a transportation artery, and, as far as I know, for its continued operation it requires major repairs; for among other things there are a lot of underground utilities which will eventually decay.”

2008 – Mikhail Poltoranin, a minister under Boris Yelstin’s reign, confirmed an extensive network of tunnels for the purpose and mentioned Metro-2 directly.

Dimitry Gayev, ex-chief of the Moscow Metro felt that it would be of little surprise if it existed, in 2008 the head of the Moscow Metro, Svetlana Razina, also discussed that there had been recruiting for a service on secret routes and they required special clearance.

2007 ITAR-TASS stated “line of the Metro-2 has long been in the KGB office.”

Alexander Muzykantskiy was the former Head of Moscow’s Central Administrative District and spoke of a gigantic underground system. They had designed a place to ensure the stable operation of military and political operations during nuclear conflict, and for 91 years was kept as a highest state secret. I also think I will mention England tried to set up the same and I am sure it’s commonplace in many countries and not just Moscow.

Speaking of, the British Secret Intelligence Service also got a little information that was put out via defector. The former colonel of the KGB Oleeg Gordievsky said it was one of the main KGB secrets. The massive complex would likely never be shown to anyone, that huge underground city was not for the common eye.

A 2005 BBC article interviewed Eugine, who was 22 years old and a ‘digger’, they explore the underground spaces of Moscow and he relayed how a Russian reporter wrote about that secret network and was then questioned by the FSB (successor to the KGB). He was careful not to say how they got to their places and had a lot of images that they had collected as a group of diggers.

How has it been used in the media?

Well one of them favourite games uses it, I came across D6 in Metro 2033, a video game based on the series of books by Dimitry Glukhovsky. I’m 100% biased with my love of this nuclear survival and urban-ex nature of the game and in the book, it sends the main character, Artyom, to find the massive ‘bunker-like’ system. The existence is a legend amongst the underground dwellers of the Metro, and they reach one of the entrances located near Kievsaya Station. In the books D6 is only mentioned as Artyom does not go there himself.

Incidentally Metro, 2013, is a film set in the Moscow metro when a major leak sets off a pretty decent disaster movie. It has all the classic hallmarks of the type of film this genre holds and was fairly well received. My Russian understanding is minimal at best, but the plot was fairly simple to follow – spoiler alert below.

Rich man, c husband of wife and their daughter all end up trapped when the area floods. The old and busy tunnels become fatal for various reasons. Character (and a dog) all end up dying, trapped etc and you get some very good footage of the metro as this story goes on. It is clear that when travelling miles of these tunnels and seeing various entrances it would not be hard to believe that there is more than meets the eye, you get a similar feel when you go on the New York subway or the London Underground and so I think it is a subject for interested.
What do you think?

Jalopnik.com

inyourpocket.com

mmorpgforums.com

atlasobscura.com

metro.ru/metro2/

globalsecurity.org

bbc.co.uk

Metro 2003, Dimitry Glukhovsky


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So whilst I am not an avid sports fan it seems fair that I cover these, as they no doubt come under interesting even frightening if you were there for them. So lets go with the round-up. ( I am avoiding Hillsborough if you are wondering, this is simply too big to cover and would no doubt require me to go into a major history account.) I haven’t chosen to link videos, if you want to go and find out more do so but I will say they are very harrowing, you are watching people in the process of dying on some of them. Whilst I am pretty much of the stance that I will take a neutral view, even I admit these are damned sad to watch.

23rd June 1968 – Puerta 12 tragedy, Buenos Aires. This is less well-known it seems but 71 fans died at the stadium, it was two sides that seemed to blame one another for the terrible events. Calls about people burning flags seemed to have caused a stamped and the fans rushed towards gate 12; it caused the deaths and around 150 injuries. Victims were between 13 and 20 years of age and in the end the league paid compensation to the victims families. Even today the area remains to have changed little with the low light around the area, the stairwell and the gate are virtually unchanged.

2nd January 1971, Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland. A stampede led to the death of 66 people and over 200 people being injured. Until the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster it was the worst to have occurred in the United Kingdom. The stadium’s owners were later found to be at fault over one of the deaths, they did not dispute it and 60 other cases were brought forwards. In 1902 there had been a previous incident there, a stand collapsed due to heavy rain the night before and killed 25, and injured 517.

In 1971 more than 80,000 fans attended and Celtic took a 1-0 lead against the Rangers. Some Rangers supporters began to leave but at the final moments an equaliser was scored. Thousands were leaving and as this was happening, by stairway 13, a child was on his father’s shoulders and fell, it caused a terrible chain-reaction. Most of the deaths were caused by compressive asphyxia (chest compressed until the longs cannot take in enough air and the person suffocates). Bodies had stacked up to six feet in some of the areas and these days there is a memorial to the event and those who lost their lives.

20th October 1982, Luzhniki in Moscow, Soviet Russia (it was the named Grand Sports Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium) a stampede started that killed 66 RC Spartak Moscow fans and the number of those that died was not made official until 1989, until then speculation ranged from 3 to 240 deaths. The fans had two of the four stands open, they could get the area cleared of snow that way and most of the fans went to the East Stand as it was closer to the Metro station. Thee were about 100 Dutch supporters. The game itself was pretty much uneventful and the fans began to head out minutes before the end, presumably they had already seen enough of the match. The fans effectively rushed to the Metro Station side exit.

A fan fell at the lower steps of stairway one and, according to some reports, it was a woman that had lost her shoe and stopped to find it, some stopped to help. The crowd was getting dense by this stage and a domino effect started.

People around had no idea what was happening as impatient fans tried to move to the exit, the stampede was in full swing as the second goal for Spartak came 20 seconds before the final whistle. The autopsy showed that those who died all died from compressive asphyxia. A Russian site explained that perhaps the goal at the end helped to save more lives as people rushed back to see that and eased the crush, who knows…

1st February 2012, Port Said Stadium, Port Said City, Egypt... a riot occurred at the stadium with 72 killed and over 500 injured when thousands of El Masty spectators stormed the stadium stands and pitch, following a 3-1 by their team. They attacked El Ahly fans who were in their own area using weaponry and fireworks. Their anti-government/revolutionary chants had many thousands of Egyptian fans thinking that it was a set up to get rid of the revolutionary group. The Egyptian government responded by shutting down the domestic league for two years.

The match had been delayed for 30 minutes as El Masry fans were already on the pitch, and each time there was a goal they invaded, along with the half time invasion. The El Ahly were trying to escape and being attacked as they ran, they were asking for police to protect them as they ran and in the melee there were people thrown from the stands as well. The Egyptian family airlifted in soldiers to rescue the players who had been stranded and the Al Ahly coach a the time, Manuel José, even considered giving up coaching, as well as leaving Egypt for good. The security forces were condemned that they had hesitated to act and part of the support for the idea it was government organised came from the lack of security searches, that eyewitnesses saw security standing aside during the attack and overall it seems that this was part of the evidence that was being waded through.

On 26th January 2013 they held the trial, 21 accused were effectively handed their death sentences with 52 postponed until March 2013. 27th January 2013 it was reported that the Egyptian government had lost control of the city. Sadly the deaths continued there.

Other mentions are the Estadio Nacional disaster, Lima in 1964 where a Peru and Argentina match took place and with Argentina leading 1-0 and six minutes of normal time left, the fans of Peru were angered by a goal being disallowed that would have meant they were equalised. The result was a pitch invasion and tear gas being deployed, steel shutters were closed and panic ensued crushing people. All those who died were in the stairwell and there were at least 328 deaths, though this may be an understatement.

The Accra Sports Stadium Disaster in 2001 also deserves a mention, taking the lives of 127 people in Africa. Trouble had been anticipated and there was extra security but the match carried on and bottles and plastic seats were thrown on to the pitch. The police fired tear gas into the crowd and panic ensued with a crush off 127 people that lost their lives. Ghanaian fans remember the disaster on the 9th May each year.

After speaking with my more football savvy friend, he also mentioned that as disasters go another really should be mentioned. The Bradford Stadium fire. On Saturday 11th May, 1985 fire broke out. It was a tragic event taking the lives of 56 supporters and injuring 265. Police, supporters and staff were forced from the stadium dragging out people they could, trying to save as many as possible as the stand was engulfed in fire. This event is one that sparked a wave of new legislations for safety, the antiquated stadium had been unfit for purpose. Bradford City still support the Burns Unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary as their chosen charity to this date.

And my final one is the Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores, 16th October 1996, just before the 1998 FIFA World Cup Qualification match was about to take place, saw 83 people killed and more than 140 injured as excessive numbers of fans then tried to break into the General Sur section. It created a human avalanche and it seems that the excess was most likely down to counterfeit tickets and the poor design of the building. It was a terrible situation with many people having suffocated in the mass.

The sad part is that many of these tragedies are due to bad planning or poor layouts, not to mention people. It’s also unfortunate that the majority of the people in all the cases above would likely have been nothing more than people wanting to enjoy a day out supporting their sport. Violence, stampedes or general disasters meant that innocent people died in a terrible way and I think we owe it to them to remember these things and try to learn from them each time.

Lapuerta12-1968

Disaster-ibroxi6.jpg
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2184782