Moscow Metro (Subway)


Figure 1.--The Moscow Meter is one of the world's largest. It is surely the most splendidly modeled and decorated. Onne sometimes has the feeling of being in an art gallery. Much of the art, like this mural, is rather kitchy, I am not sure what his meant here, I think it is modern, urban Soviet citizens meeting Ukranian peasants. Of course left unsaid is the war that Stalin waged in the Ukranian peasants through the NKVD and engineered famine resulting in the death of millions. Notice the way the children in the mural are dressed and comare that with the actual way children were dressed in the Stalinist state. .

The idea of building a subway in the growing city of Moscow was first proposed by Tsarist officials. At the time there were already operating subways in America and Europe. The first subway was the London Underground (Tube). Thecfirst plans for the Moscow sunway were completed in 1902, but redrawn in 1912. The outbreak of World War I (1914) prevented the initiation of the project. The Revolution (1917) and Civil War (1918-21) further delayed the project. The project was finally begun during the Stalinist era using the readily available slave labor from the growing Gulag. The Mocow Metro's first line, the Sokolnicheskaya Line, was ceremoniously opened (1935). It had 13 stations. The Metro now is one of the the world's largest system with 11 lines and over 160 stations. Many of the most notable stations are located on the Circle Line. New stations are still being added to the system. Moscow was threatened by the NAZI invasion during World War II (1941). The Metro stations were used as air-raid shelters. The train tunnels were built extremely deep and security considerations were part of the reason. Many of the larger stations were used by the Government and military for important political and tactical meetings. The Chistiye Prudy station was used as the nerve center for Supreme Command HQ and the Soviet Army General Staff. After the Red Army offensive (December 1941), the Germans were pushed back far enough that air raids became much less frequent. The Metro was at first named in honor of Lazar Kaganovich, a key adiver of Josef Salin's and an iportant figure in the construction project. The Metro was renamed in honor of Lenin--the V.I. Lenin Moscow Metropolitan Railway (1955). Stalin and Kaganovich did not just want a standard underground rail line. The were determined to build a people's palace to showcase Moscow as the center of the people's paradise. Of course the use of slave labor ws never mentioned. As a result, the Metro doubles as people's living art museum. It is thus notable for its designs, architecture, and mosaics, and other art work.

Historical Background

The idea of building a subway in the growing city of Moscow was first proposed by Tsarist officials. At the time there were already operating subways in America and Europe. The first subway was the London Underground (Tube). Thecfirst plans for the Moscow sunway were completed in 1902, but redrawn in 1912. The outbreak of World War I (1914) prevented the initiation of the project. The Revolution (1917) and Civil War (1918-21) further delayed the project.

Construction

The Moscow Metro project was finally begun during the Stalinist era (1932) The first stage was the Sokolnicheskaya Line. The constructin of parts of the Metro used the readily available slave labor from Stalin's growing Gulag. Some reports indicate that German POWs were used in the phases during and after World War II. Some sources suggest that the early stages were built mostly with slave labor, but I have not yet found a definitive study on this. Youth brigades were also involved. School boys were organized by youth groups and then to the Metro where they were given a range of assignments. One report suggess that 30,000 children were the Metroís junior labour force. All this was reportedly voluntary work which the children did willingly. We are not sure just how volunary anything was in the Stalinist era. It is true, however, that there was a great deal of idealism about building the Socialist paradise and it is probably true that many of these children willingly participated. We do not know just how the slave labor was used. Wesuspect that the youth brigades and slave labor was not used together, but have been unable to find details on just how this was organized. One book about subwys included a letter written from a prisoner forced to work on the Metro. Interestingly, he was proud that he was to give his broken body to the glory of the Soviet state. [Bobrick] Officials awarded badges to the senior engineers, administrators and communist party bosses that supervised the construction. The NKVD officers who guarded the slave laborers also received badges. Stalin suggested that Komsomol be awarded the Order of Lenin for its in the construction of the first Metro stage. The award was of course duly made (May 14, 1935). The original first stage stations were all quite similar.

Opening

The Mocow Metro's first stahe, the Sokolnicheskaya Line, was ceremoniously opened (1935). It had 13 stations most of which looked very similar. The second stage of Metro was also completed before the war (March 1938). The Arbatskaya branch was split in two and extended to Kurskaya station (the modern dark-blue Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya Line). The Gorkovskaya Line opened between Sokol and Teatralnaya (SEptember 1938). The architecture of the second stage stations was very different than the first stage. It was was based on the most popular of the stations already in existence (Krasniye Vorota, Okhotnyi Ryad and Kropotkinskaya) and was done in the popular art deco style, of course heavily influenced with Socialist Realism (Stalin's artistic vision). The first deep level Column station (Mayakovskaya) was constructed at this time. Construction was delayed by Workld War II, but did not stop. After World War II, construction began on the fourth stage which included the Kol'tsevaya line and a deep part of the Arbatsko-Pokrovskaya line from Pl. Revolyutsii to Kievskaya. The decision to build the deep stsations was influenced by the Cold War.

World War II

Moscow was threatened by the NAZI invasion during World War II (1941). Soon after Barbarossa was launched, Hitler ordered the Luftwaffe to destroy Moscow and Lenningrad. The Metro stations were used as air-raid shelters. The train tunnels were built extremely deep and security considerations were part of the reason. Many of the larger stations were used by the Government and military for important political and tactical meetings. The Chistiye Prudy station was used as the nerve center for Supreme Command HQ and the Soviet Army General Staff. After the Red Army offensive (December 1941), the Germans were pushed back far enough that air raids became much less frequent.

Name

The Metro was at first named in honor of Lazar Kaganovich, a key adiver of Josef Salin's and an iportant figure in the construction project. The Metro was renamed in honor of Lenin--the V.I. Lenin Moscow Metropolitan Railway (1955).

Modern Metro

The Metro now is one of the the world's largest system with 11 lines and over 160 stations. Many of the most notable stations are located on the Circle Line. New stations are still being added to the system.

Architecture and Art

Stalin and Kaganovich did not just want a standard underground rail line. The were determined to build a people's palace to showcase Moscow as the center of the people's paradise. Of course the use of slave labor was never mentioned. As a result, the Metro doubles as people's living art museum. It is thus notable for its designs, architecture, and mosaics, and other art work.

Reader Report

A HBC contributor has reported on his experience with the Moscow Metro. "The Moscow Metro is a bewildering place when you first encounter it. It is something to be experienced. When I first travel on the London underground I might have felt the same way but I canít recall it being such an ordeal. The memory is a pleasant one. The difference was I was travelling alone on that occasion. Not so when I encountered the Moscow Metro. I was with my Tajik friend and her son made sure I did not get lost in the melee of travellers. He held my hand tightly as he followed his mum and guided me to the right platform. I marvelled at their ability to get from A to B. Little did I know that using the Metro was very easy to do! I did not know how easy it was until I travelled alone. That opportunity came suddenly in August last year. I was taken to the post office near the directorís home to collect all my packages and afterwards I had to make my own way back to Sosniy. A journey I managed with some trepidation."

Sources

Bobrick, Benson. Labyrinths of Iron: Subways in History, Myth, Art, Technology, and War.






HBC





Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main Russian activities page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Girls] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]



Navigate the Historic Boys' Clothing Russian pages:
[Ballet] [Children's literature] [Choirs] [Fashion magazines] [Movies] [Royalty] [School uniform] [Youth groups]



Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to theMain country page]
[Australia] [Canada] [England] [France] [Germany] [Ireland] [Italy] [Mexico] [New Zealand] [Poland] [Russia] [Scotland] [United States]



Created: 6:08 AM 2/26/2009
Last updated: 9:05 PM 2/27/2009