Monday, April 24, 2006

According to (in Russian), the Armenian boy was killed by another boy: "a student of a Moscow school, born in 1989." Twelve boys were waiting on the platform - among them the Armenian, a Moscow University of Management student - when a group of six or seven boys got off a Vyhino-bound train and attacked them.


You know, I've never taken pictures in the Moscow subway - out of some inborn fear of the police, I guess, not because I'm so law-abiding or something. Much of my fear is really a fear of humiliation: being picked out from the crowd for doing something totally innocent, though unlawful. I wish I could look at it as an adventure.

Whenever Lyndon posted his metro photos at Scraps of Moscow, I was slightly jealous, but also incredulous: no one has ever told him not to shoot down there? And when they did fine Megan in St. Pete, part of me took it as a belated justification for my timidity, for having wasted so many wonderful photo opportunities.


Can you imagine that some people now probably consider it a mere prank to attack and stab someone with a knife, in the middle of an always crowded, central subway station, and then run away, making those cops look like total losers...


  1. I've made lots of photos in the Moscow Metro, even with militsa nearby and never had anyone say anything.

    But I also worked without a flash and did it rather quickly.

    It is an unenforcable rule in any case, just a way for police to get some extra rubles.

  2. Crazy story about the stabbing. The fact that it took place at Pushkinskaya - which used to be "MY" metro stop - brings this kind of thing home, although apparently (reading the follow-ups) this wasn't an SPB-style skinhead attack. Moscow is still a fucked-up place (as you said in your first post about this story), but I have to say I can't wait to get back there for the summer.

    Regarding photography in the metro, I wish I could say I was brave, but I've only ever been told it's not allowed once in Moscow. And that was at Aeroport, not a very photogenic station anyway (and a station where I've taken plenty of photos on other occasions). Everywhere else, I've snapped away with no interruption from anyone. You can even see tour groups riding the ring line and creating storms of camera flashes at the more beautiful stations like Novoslobodskaya (with the stained-glass windows). So I don't think there's a policy not allowing photography in the Moscow metro.

    There definitely is such a policy in the SPB metro. And I don't think it's to extract bribes - who would want to photograph such a drab metro? Well, actually, I would. But I've been cowed by the signs at every entrance saying it's forbidden - maybe because SPB was where I spent some of my childhood, so I'm more obedient there. On the other hand, I wasn't the most obedient child there, so maybe that's not it.

    The Washington, DC, metro, unlike its Moscow cousin, does have an official policy these days banning photography (I heard it announced by the driver over the PA system once). I guess that makes DC more similar (in at least one tiny respect) to Tashkent than to Moscow. I hadn't been in the Tashkent metro for 30 seconds before being told that photography was a no-no. To be fair, the guy was very polite about it and told me he would let me slide with a warning. And a key difference - of the three (DC, Tashkent, and Moscow) metros, DC's is by far the most boring architecturally. It looks exactly like what its dual-purpose design meant it to be - a huge bomb shelter. In Moscow, at least they dressed it up.

    On an unrelated note, I wanted to say thanks in general for the positive vibe of this blog - I was reading russiablog[dot]org for a bit this evening before stopping by here, and it was very depressing - lots of shouting back and forth about issues no one was really getting right anyway.

    Also, thanks for translating the Chernobyl "letters" - very worthwhile reading. I remember (when I was a more active blogger) always struggling to decide what was worth translating. Well, that definitely was. We were in SPB when all that happened, though it seems like a rather vague memory now. A month before my 10th birthday.

    And I love your parking crusade. This is how things get changed, especially at the level of one city. It can be done. Fight the power.