The Big Issue : Edition 447
30 THEBIGISSUE6--25DEC2013 I DON'T NOTICE the Russian policemen in the viewfnder of my camera until I take the shot. They aren't happy. Yes, the guidebook had advised against taking pictures of ofcials, but I hadn't actually seen these guys amid the throng crowding into the Moscow Metro. They walk toward me, Kremlin-faced. As they come closer I begin preparing my watertight defence, just in case things turn nasty. "I didn't see you." That's it -- that's what I'll tell them. Now they're standing in front of me, dressed in black. The hems of their trousers are tucked into their boots, which are also black. One policeman stands with his thumbs hooked in his belt. He says something in Russian. Trouble is, I only understand fve Russian words, and he’s using none of them. So I shrug and pat myself on the chest. "Australian," I say, as though this should dispel all their concerns. His expression doesn't change. His colleague looks at me sideways, wagging a fnger at me. “No photos," he says, his voice as low and rumbly as a tank entering Red Square. I've forgotten my watertight defence. So I just say, "Sorry". And then they're gone, their black uniforms blending back into the stream of the eight million commuters who ride the Moscow Metro daily. After decades of feasibility studies and scrapped plans, the Metro opened in 1935 as a single-line system. Now there are 12 lines, just over 300km of tracks and 186 stations. But wait -- there'll be more! The system is still being expanded, even though the Metro map already looks like a spoked bicycle wheel that has sprouted tentacles.