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
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.
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.
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
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
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
[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
[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.