Looking back on the one-year anniversary of the Moscow metro bombings
March 30, 2011
It’s hard to believe that an entire year has passed since I began my study abroad in Moscow, but it’s a reality not lost on me.
Exactly a year ago today, we had just begun our nearly three-month visit to Russia when an unthinkable tragedy rocked the Moscow metro killing 40 and injuring 100 more. The dual suicide bombings at the Lubyanka and Park Kultury metro stations shut down parts of the city’s numerous metro lines, choking transportation in the frenzied aftermath.
Only a few days into our trip, I had already become fairly used to my commute. I knew the route. I knew roughly how long it took to get from my apartment building at Belyayeva to our school at Shabolovskaya. I would leave my apartment around 9 a.m., spend about 20 minutes on the metro, then walk the remaining mile or so to school.
This morning was no different. The explosions hit Lubyanka at 7:56 and Park Kultury at 8:40, about 20 minutes before I usually left for class. I remember the commute that morning being wholly unremarkable. There might have been an extra officer here or there, but no one was panicked, nothing seemed out of place, everything seemed just as it was the week before.
My first knowledge of the attacks came when I arrived at school. Later in the quarter, we would wait for each other to arrive at the metro station then walk to school together, but as it was still early and our routines were not yet second nature. I walked on my own that day.
When I reached the top of the stairs, standing in the doorway with a few of my classmates was one of the Russian teachers, Marina. She soberly explained to us what she knew about the explosions, pointed us to a computer, and directed us all to email our loved ones to let them know we were safe.
Once we had a chance to digest the news, our hearts sank at the possibility of being called home only five days into our trip. Though the state department issued travel warnings following the blasts, we were allowed to stay in Moscow.
It’s a tragedy we will always share with the Russian people. We experienced the fear and the paranoia. We shared the pain, if not the loss. A year has passed since the tragedy, but we will never forget it, and neither will the Russian people.
I hope you’ll take a minute to look at this photo essay and think of the lives lost needlessly to terrorist elements.