Want a career on the Moscow Metro?

If you have ever wanted to work on the Moscow Metro, going out applying is easy – there are posters scattered all over the network.

Ornately decorated central passage of the platform, with chandeliers above

This poster onboard a train is recruiting «машинист электропоезда» – train drivers.

Who wants to be a «машинист электропоезда»?

But there is another Moscow Metro department that is really looking for staff – the «Управление внутренних дел на Московском метрополитене»

Want to be a police officer on the Moscow Metro?

They are the internal police force for the Moscow Metro.

Recruiting poster for the Moscow Metro's police force

I even found police officer recruitment flyers with tear off tabs!

Flyers advertising careers on the Moscow Metro

Who are the Moscow Metro police?

The Moscow Metro website has more details on the «Управление внутренних дел на Московском метрополитене» (‘Department of Internal Affairs on the Moscow Metro’).

Department of Internal Affairs on the Moscow Metro was created for a few days before the opening of the Moscow Metro – May 11, 1935. Metro has always been considered high-risk transport company. No wonder the passengers are requested to be alert, and all suspicious immediately inform the police, who are on duty at each station. Given that the daily use the subway more than 9 million passengers recorded offences often. Basically this hooliganism, vandalism, theft and robbery. Combat and concern to the Office of Internal Affairs of the Moscow metro.

The Moscow Metro is a complex transport object city. Operation Metro provides a complex engineering structures. Under these conditions, the implementation of the security problems in the underground and counter-terrorism is a priority for the Department of Internal Affairs of the Moscow metro. ATC staff in the Moscow metro is not only patrol the subway, but also carry out covert surveillance of public order at stations and on trains.

Its structure is present today the largest patrol – more than 5 thousand people. Nowhere in Russia is no longer such a large patrol division. In the underground has its own police investigation department, department – Criminal Investigation, inquiry, to combat economic crime office, its duty part of the department to ensure the holding of mass events and the department for combating organised crime. A few years ago, there was created a special unit, which works to prevent vagrancy and begging on the Moscow metro. The governance structure also operates a specialised department on work with minors, including street children.

In the North-Eastern District of Moscow has opened a modern centre of service dog. The Metro employs several dozen dogs trained to detect explosives and drugs.

«Охрана правопорядка» is Russian for ‘policing’.

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Clearing icicles from the streets of Moscow

Growing up in Australia, icicles are something I’ve never had to deal with. But over in Russia they are deadly serious for anyone standing below when they fall.

Deadly looking icicles hang from the eaves

Getting up high to clear the ice away is a difficult job in the snow.

Some deadly looking icicles hang from the eaves

In Moscow I spotted a boom lift setup outside a six story high apartment building.

Clearing deadly icicles from the eaves of a Moscow apartment block

With a man at work in the bucket, smashing the ice away from the building eaves.

Clearing deadly icicles from the eaves of a Moscow apartment block


Deaths from falling ice are not uncommon – in the winter of 2001 at least 74 people were struck by plummeting ice in Moscow, with at least one fatality.

During one week of 2010 in Saint Petersburg, 300 people were injured as they slipped on an icy sidewalk or were hurt by a falling icicles.

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Traffic lights and Russian trams

Where trams and road vehicles co-exist on public roads, special traffic lights are often provided to give them priority at intersections, and Russian cities are no different.

ЛМ-99 tram number 3304 waits at a set of traffic lights

I found this example of a tram only traffic signal in Saint Petersburg.

Russian tram signal showing a 'proceed' aspect

And Wikipedia features this example from Moscow.

Traffic signal in Moscow indicating 'STOP'
Photo by Achp_ru via Wikimedia Commons

So what do these signals mean to tram drivers? The Пра́вила доро́жного движе́ния (ПДД) (“rules of the road”) for the Russian Federation have this to say.

Section 6.8

To control the movement of trams as well as other public transport vehicles in a dedicated lane, single colour signal lights can be used, featuring four lunar white lamps arranged in a ‘T’.

The movement is permitted only when the both the lower signal and one or more of the upper, the left of which allows movement to the left, the middle – straight, right – to the right.

If only the top three signal are included, then movement is prohibited.

An simple design that doesn’t distract motorists, and the trio of ‘stop’ lamps make it virtually failsafe against a single failed globe.

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Australian souvenirs in Russia at «Kangaroo»

Russia may be a crazy country, but there is one thing I never expected to see in a St Petersburg shopping mall – a shop selling Australian themed souvenirs called «Kangaroo».

'Kangaroo' - an Australian themed store in Saint Petersburg

I spotted an Australian flag hanging up on the back wall.

Inside 'Kangaroo' - an Australian themed store in Saint Petersburg

But the bulk of their stock appeared to be tacky tie-dyed t-shirts combined with dot painting.

Inside 'Kangaroo' - an Australian themed store in Saint Petersburg

The full extent of their tacky wares can be found on their online store,http://kangarooshop.ru/. They sell clothes.

Clothes from Kangaroo - an Australian themed store in Russia




Jewellery from Kangaroo - an Australian themed store in Russia


Hats from Kangaroo - an Australian themed store in Russia

And even souvenirs.

Souvenirs from Kangaroo - an Australian themed store in Russia

All accompanied by clichéd photos of Indigenous Australians.

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Sapsan – the train more like a plane

The premier high speed train of the Russian Railways fleet is the «Сапсан» (Sapsan). Linking Moscow to Saint Petersburg, the Sapsan has a top service speed of 250 km/h, and a level of onboard service more like an aircraft than than train.

«Sapsan» train on the Moscow — Saint Petersburg route (photo by Sergey Korovkin, via Wikimedia Commons)

Pphoto by Sergey Korovkin, via Wikimedia Commons

In every seat pocket is a copy of ‘Sapsan’ magazine – “The official journal of the Sapsan high speed train”.

'Sapsan' magazine, provided by the Russian Railways to passengers of the 'Sapsan' train

The back of every seat also contains an emergency instruction card.

Emergency instruction card for the Russian Railways Sapsan train

With directions from each carriage to the nearest exit.

Emergency instruction card for the Russian Railways Sapsan train

Railway staff are there to deliver drinks to your seat.

Food and drink trolleys onboard the Sapsan train

Their trolleys identical to those used onboard aircraft.

Aircraft food trolleys in use aboard the Russian Sapsan train

Right down to the “stow and latch trolley in galley during taxi, take-off, turbulence and landing” warning!

Aircraft food trolleys in use aboard the Russian Sapsan train


I also spotted a few odd sights onboard the Sapsan – read about them here.

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Repair work at Lenin’s Mausoleum in 2013

In 2013 I visited Moscow and did visited all of the usual tourist trams, but there was one I couldn’t for the life of me find – Lenin’s Mausoleum in Red Square.

Lenin's Mausoleum covered with a plastic dome during repair work

I did a lap of Red Square.

Grey day on Moscow's Red Square

I found Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

Saint Basil's Cathedral and the Spasskaya Tower on Red Square

The State Historical Museum of Russia.

State Historical Museum (Государственный исторический музей) on Red Square

GUM department store.

Looking across Red Square to the GUM department store

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Alexander Garden

And the line to visit the Kremlin.

Long queue of schoolchildren to visit the Kremlin

But no mausoleum!

Turns out I chose the wrong time to visit Moscow – in late 2012 Lenin’s Mausoleum closed for renovations, and was hidden beneath a giant inflatable plastic dome.

Lenin's Mausoleum covered with a plastic dome during repair work

From Rossiyskaya Gazeta January 8, 2013.

For four months, visitors to Moscow will be unable to see the mausoleum containing the body of the leader of the world’s proletariat. A giant inflatable dome has been erected over Lenin’s tomb and will act as a shield to protect the mausoleum from the large-scale renovation of the building’s damaged rear wall.

The dome is scheduled to be removed on April 30, 2013 – just in time for the May 1 celebrations.

Lenin’s body will remain in place during the work, as usual, enclosed in its normal sarcophagus.

“No action will be taken regarding Lenin’s body,” said Sergei Devyatov, advisor to the Federal Security Service.

The Federal Security Service says that Lenin’s body is currently in a “more than satisfactory” condition, while the state of his tomb is deteriorating continuously.

The foundations of the mausoleum – originally built in 1930 by architect Alexei Shchusev – are cracked. The flaws in the foundation are not the fault of the architect, but rather a consequence of Moscow’s topography. Until the 18th century, the Kremlin was actually located on an island.

It was separated from what is now Red Square by the Aleviz Moat – a massive fortification.

When Napoleon’s army retreated from Moscow, they blew up and burned down the Kremlin’s towers and palaces. Afterward, to rebuild the Kremlin faster, the moat was filled in. However, it was enormous: 98 feet deep and up to 95 feet wide.

There was not enough stone and soil to fill the whole thing in, so workers used whatever was on hand – including the debris and wreckage of the burned-down structures.

The result is often termed “heterogeneity of soils,” in modern language. The mausoleum was built directly on top of where the medieval moat had been.

The ATECS department of the Federal Security Service, which is responsible for the construction and maintenance of buildings of federal significance, undertook an analysis of the building and came to the conclusion that the urgent resolution of two problems is required: to repair the mausoleum’s foundations and to staunch the flow of water beneath them.

Stanislav Kuner, deputy director of ATECS, says that the flow of water already poses a critical threat – particularly to the rear wall of the mausoleum, where it has caused flaking stone and damage to the supporting structures.

According to Chief Architect Olga Galanicheva, the main task at present is to halt the sinking. Due to the shifting soil beneath it, the mausoleum has dropped through the foundations and is standing on one corner – in some places where water is flowing through, the walls are seeping water, and this threatens the integrity of the interior.

The builders are adamant that the mausoleum is not being rebuilt – only refurbished. However, Kuner says that one annex section of the mausoleum will disappear in the refurbishment: In 1983, an inconspicuous building was built on the Kremlin walls to conceal the escalator Soviet leaders used to ascend to the viewing platform atop the mausoleum during official parades.

Even though almost all of the Kremlin is under UNESCO protection, international experts are not opposed to the demolition of this remade extension. As Anna Zhukova, assistant project manager at the mausoleum explained, neither the viewing platform nor the escalator is used any longer.

It was finally reopened on April 30, 2013 in time for the May 1 celebrations.

Night view of Lenin's Mausoleum in Red Square (photo by Andrew Shiva, via Wikimedia Commons)
Photo by Andrew Shiva, via Wikimedia Commons

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0 km on the Trans Siberian Railway

The Trans Siberian Railway might be 9298 kilometre long, but it has to start somewhere – which happens to be Moscow’s Yaroslavsky railway station.

Clock on the station building at Yaroslavsky railway station

On the platform you will find the ceremonial 0 km starting point of the railway.

Start of the 9298 kilometre long Trans Siberian Railway journey

The marker was erected in 2001 to mark the centenary of the Trans Siberian Railway.

Historical marker erected in 2001 to mark the centenary of the 9298 kilometre long Trans Siberian Railway

Confusion with opening dates

The Trans Siberian Railway isn’t a single railway, hence some confusion as to the completion date.

  • 1891: construction began from both the western (Moscow) and eastern (Vladivostok) ends.
  • 1901: Trans-Manchurian Railway completed, linking Vladivostok via China to Siberia and the rest of Russia.
  • 1904: Circum-Baikal Railway replaces the ferry link across Lake Baikal.
  • 1916: Amur Railway completed, enabling a Trans Siberian journey entirely within Russia.

Further reading

BBC News has an article on the 2001 centenary, while Bernard H. Wood has this piece on the forgotten 2016 centenary.

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Get your Crapdogs and VD in Kiev

There are plenty of foreign names that look funny to an outsider – I found a few in Kiev.

What looks like 'Crapdogs' is actually 'Stardogs'

What looks like ‘Crapdogs’ is actually ‘Stardogs’ in Ukrainian – the Cyrillic script shares enough characters to throw off a native reader of Latin script.

Unfortunately named store 'VD One' in Kiev

But I can’t explain this unfortunately named men’s clothing store 'VD One'.

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‘You break it, you buy it’ at Russian restaurants

Restaurant menus around the world are usually pretty simple, but in Russia and other post-Soviet countries restaurants often include something extra – a section titled «бой посуды» (“battle dishes”).

'Killfish Discount Bar' doesn't sound dodgy at all!

I first noticed it on the menu for a Russian chain called “Killfish Discount Bar”.


Контейнер для соуса 5 р.
Ланч-бокс 7 р.
Контейнер для супа 7 р.
Бутылка пластиковая 1л 15 р.
Бой посуды 100 р.

Translated to English.


Sauce container 5 р.
Lunch box 7 р.
Soup container 7 р.
1L plastic bottle 15 р.
Fight dishes 100 р.

But I soon found more examples of “battle dishes” online – like this restaurant with a complete price listing of different pieces of crockery and glassware.


A glass of wine 100 rubles.
Champagne glass 100 rubles.
salad bowl 100 rubles.
Set dllya spices 200 rubles.
Plate curly 150 rubles.
Plate Pie Shop 150 rubles.
Hot Plate (large) 200 rubles.
coffee pair 150 rubles.
Tea pair 150 rubles.
kremanki 100 rubles.
Juice jug 150 rubles.
Martinka, cognac glass 100 rubles.
High ball 100 rubles.
pile 50 rubles.
A glass of beer 0.33 100 rubles.
Beer Mug 0.5 100 rubles.

And another:

Fight dishes
Name Count Price
Martini glass 1 PC. 200 rubles.
Glass 1 PC. 50 rubles.
Brandy glass 1 PC. 200 rubles.
Wine glass 1 PC. 150 rubles.
Champagne glass 1 PC. 150 rubles.
Glass 1 PC. 100 rubles.
Plate small (square) 1 PC. 300 rubles.
Plate large (square) 1 PC. 450 rubles.
salad bowl square 1 PC. 350 rubles.
Plate small (round) 1 PC. 150 rubles.
Plate large (round) 1 PC. 200 rubles.
oval Dish 1 PC. 450 rubles.
tureen large 1 PC. 250 rubles.
tureen small 1 PC. 200 rubles.
Pot roast under 1 PC. 150 rubles.
Decanters 1 PC. 250 rubles.
Ceramic teapot 1 PC. 350 rubles.
Teapot with a candle 1 PC. 1500 rubles.
Beer mug 1 PC. 130 rubles.
Tea pair 1 PC. 300 rubles.
Coffee pair 1 PC. 200 rubles.

So the meaning of “battle dishes” is now clearer – it’s a ‘you break it, you buy it’ rule that restaurants in post-Soviet countries apply to customers who damage glassware or crockery.

Belarusian news agency Интерфакс-Запад has an article on the topic:

Restaurant “embarrassment”: who is responsible for the broken dishes and lost numbered?

The broken glass at a restaurant, or a lost ticket for a nightclub can cause numerous problems for the originator of “embarrassment.” We asked for advice from the chief legal adviser of the Center of legal services Alexey Nesterenko , which gave answers to vital questions.

When a visitor to blame?

If you broke an ashtray, a broken chair or table, floor or walls spoiled institutions, which have come to rest, then reimburse such damage to you will be required to complete the program. Especially if your wine is discreet in your actions. Moreover, it should be borne in mind that wine can be expressed in the form of intent, as well as in the form of negligence. And even if you are carried away in conversation and, waving his hands over the table, knocked over a glass on the floor, then the damage will be considered as caused by negligence. But it’s your fault, too. The arguments that you did it by accident, do not release you from the responsibility for the damage caused.

Who will prove the guilt?

Often the question is whether or not the visitor guilt of causing any damage to the institution is quite controversial. Each side insists on its right. If a visitor refuses to compensate for the damage caused on a voluntary basis, the institution may apply to the court with a claim for damages. In court, the institution will have to prove the fact of causing damage to the visitor, and the visitor, respectively, the absence of guilt in causing harm.

How much you have to pay for the broken glass?

Another question that often arises in such cases, – the size of the material requirements, claimed as redress. In some schools, you can see the inscription that for broken dishes visitor pays double (triple) cost of broken dishes. According to Part. 1, Art. 933 of the Civil Code of Belarus the harm caused to the person or property of the citizen, as well as damage caused to the property of a legal entity shall be compensated in full by the person who caused the damage. This means that the damage to be compensated in the amount of actual damage caused, but no more.

The requirement places for damages in a larger size is not based on legal norms. If the visitor has pleaded guilty to causing harm, but does not agree with the size requirements of the claimed institution, it may refuse to reimburse the damages in the amount specified. In this case, the institution will have to be in court to confirm the validity of the claimed size requirements.

What if I need the money for the broken plate?

In any case, if you have something broken, broken, or messed up and did not find a common language with the administration of places, remember that force you to force to pay the amount of compensation for harm anyone (including the police) can not otherwise by the court.

If you disagree with the requirements of the institution, then proceed as follows:

– Require the Book of comments and suggestions, leave it in the record of the incident;
– Demand from the administration of the institution making the act of property damage with an indication of its value, which is required to describe their vision of the incident, as well as the reasons and arguments of his innocence ;
– Enlist the support of at least two witnesses to the incident;
– Inform the institution that you are not going to compensate the damage voluntarily (or plan only if your guilt is proven in court).

And if the administration institution considers it necessary, it may apply to the court. Also, remember that you are not required to give any (except the police), and furthermore pledge his passport. If the staff places will let you leave it, the use of physical force immediately call up the police.

In the above situation, it is important to behave in a correct and very reserved to employees of institutions have failed to give your actions for bullying and that to civil law does not conflict joined the administrative or criminal law.

What threatens the deliberate fight for utensils?

If you are carousing in a restaurant, we decided to entertain his friends fireworks of broken glass, it should be remembered that according to the Code of the Republic of Belarus “On Administrative Offences” intentional destruction or damage to property caused damage in a small amount, is an administrative offense entailing a fine of from thirty to fifty base units.

If the loss of a significant size, then your actions fall under the article of the Criminal Code providing for a sentence of community service, or a fine, or correctional labor for up to two years, or arrest for up to three months, or restriction of freedom for up to two years . Moreover, depending on the circumstances, your actions can be classified as hooliganism, which also entails criminal liability.

I also found this piece on the “battle dishes” practice, written by a Ukrainian restaurant equipment company.

Fight dishes in the restaurant who beats who pays?

Fight dishes in catering establishments is inevitable, of course, if we do not take into account small snack or point of fast food, which is used exclusively cardboard or plastic, not porcelain or glass. Fight dishes – it’s always unplanned expenses and waste, because without tableware glass and the bar is not exactly do in a restaurant.

For the restaurateur:

Fight ware entails a number of issues: the account settings, write-off, and, of course, damages. In each institution, these problems can be solved in different ways, some places completely repaid at a restaurant, at the same time “price list battlefield ware” may be included in the menu along with dishes, utensils or payment bat separately for a specified sum.

In some restaurants the battle of dishes restaurant paid independently by debiting. In such cases, the amount can in a certain amount of partially charged to the waiters or the amount depends on the “guilt” of staff.
If the restaurant introduced a fight payment dishes waiters, in such cases, usually the managers responsibility to keep track of how many counts each employee glasses and plates.

A number of restaurants operating a combined compensation mode utensils battle. If blame the waiter in the broken glasses or plates, it shall reimburse the amount if the guest is to blame for this fight, returns damage to a guest.

For waiters:

In each restaurant, as we have already pointed out, the waiter compensated battle dishes differently, it all depends on the restaurant or cafe policy. In one institution fixed amount that must be paid for the battle of dishes, regardless of the actual damage, the other waiters pay only brought damage to the restaurant, and the waiters do not have to in the third restaurant to return the money at all.

For diners:

With respect to the price list on the battle of dishes in the restaurant’s menu is not always unambiguous for all guests. Visiting various forums on the Internet, you may encounter the opposite opinion. Some believe that the menu at the battle of dishes – a sign of status places, while others say – it’s a sign of bad taste restaurateur.

From a legal point of view, the guest is obliged to pay for the damaged property, to pay damages. Of course, if you deny the fact that the battle of dishes your fault, restaurant staff must provide evidence of your guilt. It may be witnesses or video. If the evidence is not will – the guest is obliged to pay is not.

A most curious situation, and one that seems to be limited to post-Soviet countries.

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Farewell to the Chernobyl sarcophagus

For thirty years Reactor 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant has lay beneath a massive steel and concrete sarcophagus, protecting the outside world from any further radioactive contamination following the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. But 2016 has seen this iconic scene change forever, with the completion of the New Safe Confinement structure.

Approaching the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant complex from the south

Wikipedia has a history of the sarcophagus.

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant sarcophagus or Shelter Object (Ukrainian: Об’єкт “Укриття”) is a massive steel and concrete structure covering the nuclear reactor No. 4 building of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. The design of the sarcophagus started on May 20, 1986, 24 days after the disaster. Subsequent construction lasted for 206 days, from June to late November of the same year.

The Object Shelter was never intended to be a permanent containment structure. On December 22, 1988, Soviet scientists announced that the sarcophagus would only last 20–30 years before requiring restorative maintenance work.

In 1998, with the help of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a conservation programme was completed which included securing the roof beams from collapsing. Nonetheless the rain-induced corrosion of supporting beams still threatens the sarcophagus’s integrity.

When I visited Chernobyl in 2012 the Object Shelter was still in place, with work well underway on the replacement New Safe Confinement structure.

Standing 300 metres from the sarcophagus over Chernobyl reactor 4

History of the New Safe Confinement.

The NSC is designed to contain the radioactive remains of Chernobyl Unit 4 for the next 100 years. It is also intended to allow the present sarcophagus to be dismantled.

In 1992, Ukraine’s government held an international competition for proposals to replace the hastily constructed sarcophagus. The study selected a sliding arch proposal as the best solution for further investigations and recommendations, primarily to reduce the chance of the construction workers receiving a harmful dose of radiation.

The New Safe Confinement (NSC) was originally intended to be completed in 2005, but the project has suffered lengthy delays. In June 2003 the projected completion date was slated for February 2008.

An international tender for NSC design and construction was announced in 2004, with a French consortium named Novarka winning the deal in 2007, with construction commencing in 2010.

By 2015 the structure was well underway.

New Safe Confinement under construction in April 2015. Seen are the two sections joined together and nearing completion (Tim Porter, via Wikimedia Commons)
Tim Porter, via Wikimedia Commons

November 2016 saw completion of the New Safe Confinement structure, with it being moved into place over the sarcophagus over a fifteen day period.

Farewell to the Chernobyl sarcophagus, and onto the next stage of the cleanup process.

Further reading

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