Moscow’s Secret Metro

I recently picked up a copy of “100 Places You Will Never Visit”, which included one railway entry, for the Moscow Metro-2. This is, it claims, a secret metro system created during the Soviet era to move government officials and the military around under Moscow.

After searching various web pages, blogs and Urban explorer pages claiming to have been there I can now conclude that it may, or may not, exist…

The image above comes from a 1991 US Government publication called “Military Forces In Transition”, which discusses the changes in Russia following the fall of the Berlin Wall. A few paragraphs mention the underground tunnel network and claim the subway ran as far as Vnukovo Airfield, 27 kilometers south of the Kremlin.

Depending on which articles, blogs or films you watch there could be just one or up to four lines in existence. This interview in Vice magazine with a Russian urban explorer say that it does exist but is now inaccessible.

There are various underground bunkers and other infrastructure under many capital cities. Some have even become tourist attractions, such as the Cabinet War Rooms in London. Most metro systems have disused sections, but the logistics of building an entire hidden metro system do take some believing, even down to the covert disposal of thousands of tons of spoil from the excavations.

There’s an extensive Wikipedia entry on the metro, and the most recent article I can find, from August 2020,refers to a YouTube urban explorer called Andrei Pyzh who has been arrested for supposedly taking secrets of the metro to Ukraine. His Youtube channel has numerous films of urban exploration, incuding the Kiev metro. They’re mostly in Russian, though some have English subtitles.

There are even some underground facilities in Moscow that tourists can visit. This page at “In Your Pocket” lists several, including “Bunker 42”, now a museum of the Cold War, 65 metres under the city.

Meanwhile, as Andrei Pyzh awaits trial, the Russian security services will neither confirmed nor deny the existence of Metro-2. “This information is treated as a state secret,” they said.

Well they would say that wouldn’t they…

Thanks for reading. Check out my other posts on travel, heritage railways and more.
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