I awoke this morning to the tragic news of two bombings on the Moscow Metro. One of the stations impacted, Park Kultury on the Red Line, was a station I regularly passed through when I worked in Moscow. I would get off at Frunzenskaya, one stop past Park Kultury, and walk to my office. There was a restaurant I liked near the Chistye Prudy stop, also on the Red Line in the opposite direction; it is one stop after Lubyanka, the sight of the second bomb.
Although I had a car and driver at my disposal when I lived in Moscow, I loved using the subway. By using the Metro, I avoided the formalities of the car and driver and avoided the traffic jams of this huge city. The Moscow Metro is affordable, efficient, clean, and visually striking –- each station has its own architectural style. In winter, the long connecting corridors between some of the transfer stations provide a warm place to walk and respite from the wind. The underground passages are also filled with kiosks selling newspapers, magazines, CDs, ice cream bars, and assorted household products.
There are always many people at the Metro stations, on the escalators, and at the entrances: grandmothers, students, workers, parents with children –- all politely moving along on their daily commutes. Real people, engaged in the normal aspects of real life. Except today, for some, it meant death.