Only one day did not work Moscow metro, and it was exactly 77 years ago.
October 16, 1941 was a black day for Moscow. I read this story while in the subway car. Next stop “Taganskaya”, you need to go out at 23:30. But I’m on the brown branch, you can drive one more lap.
Despite Levitan’s cries of new platoons and the victories of the Red Army at the front, things were a little different. Residents of the capital learned about this news from several sides. At first, the number of bombings increased, then the leaflets “Moscow is not the capital, the Urals was not the border” were dropped, and after that, orders were issued to evacuate plant personnel. The Sovnarkom and the State Bank (along with all cash) were evacuated from Moscow, the General Staff was moved to Arzamas.
The tension in the city was growing. The last two drops before a general panic were reports from the front. The enemy broke through the front line 500 kilometers into the depths. Rumors have reached the point that from day to day the Germans will be already walking along the Arbat.
Meanwhile, on October 15, at nine in the morning, members of the Politburo gathered in the leader’s office. Stalin announced that everyone needed to evacuate tonight. He will leave the city the next morning. When he announced that the country’s leadership was leaving the capital, everyone who had learned about it was quick to follow the instructions of the leader. They shared frightening information with all their acquaintances, and the news of the abandonment of the city spread instantly. Something indescribable has begun.
On the morning of October 16 in Moscow, for the first time in history, metro doors did not open. Metro did not work. Received an order to dismantle and remove all equipment. Closed subway doors in themselves inspired fear and panic. Metro – the most reliable vehicle. The main shelter during the daily raids of enemy aircraft. Muscovites were not normally informed about the news, rumors began to spread, the information vacuum filled the entire city, and despair and fear moved into the hearts of people.
Pharmacies, clinics, shops, shops, everything was closed. Moscow is not drowned. This day showed all the weakness of the system, which held the tip of power. As soon as the panic began, the officials ran first along with the people’s money. A huge number of reports from the police, who caught the directors, chairmen, members of the party with stolen property. They tried to leave the city first, to the east.
Organized evacuation turned into a total escape. In a few days, according to incomplete data from the Moscow military prosecutor’s office, about 780 executives left their jobs. They stole almost half a billion rubles, and also stole a hundred cars and trucks.
It is difficult to describe in practice the atmosphere that was in that day. It is impossible to even imagine it. The snow went, but it was not white, but black – in many organizations they began to burn documents. A smell of burning hung over the streets of Moscow. Looking at the flight of bosses, the population began to take the decision of their questions in their own hands. Groups of workers attacked trucks and cars, beat up passengers, and then turned over the cars. There have been numerous attacks on NKVD officers, police, officials.
Such anarchy lasted several days. As early as October 20, a state of siege was imposed in Moscow and the surrounding areas. Gathered, the authorities took measures to eliminate the monstrous disorder. Roadblocks were set up everywhere, especially before entering the Enthusiasts Highway. Here they organized a check of documents for exported material values and their accompanying persons. According to the sentences of the temporary military tribunals, many paid with their lives for the abuses and crimes committed.
This part of the story does not want to be made public, but it shows the real face of the authorities at that time. They spat on ordinary people, and decided to save themselves. A huge number of officials, middle managers, who are responsible for their citizens fled first. This whole system, parties, politburo, communism, it all turned into dust in the face of threat.
From the editors: links on which you can read more about what happened on October 16, 1941.