Friday, January 4, 2019

‘Almost a New Khodynka’ – Moscow Police, Transportation Infrastructure Can’t Cope with Mass Crowds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 4 – One of the most powerful and prophetic images in Russian history was the disaster at Khodynka field in Moscow on the day of the coronation of Nicholas II when the authorities lost control of the situation, many Russians were killed and wounded, and the new tsar concluded he had been born under an unhappy star.

            Now, Irina Mishina of Novyye izvestiya has invoked this image when she describes the way in which Moscow police yesterday sought to control mass crowds in the capital’s center and di so in a way that almost led to “a new Khodynka” (

            The problems arose because the Moscow city government invited people to come downtown to celebrate its “Trip to Christmas” program for which it opened numerous squares but failed to take into account problems in the city’s transportation system or the need for more police to provide crowd control.

            As a result, people were pushed from one place to another, Mishina says, with many children being almost crushed as a result. There were long delays because of closures at some metro stations, and long waits at others because of the overflow from those which had closed. Muscovites walked from one to another, often in tightly packed crowds.

            The situation did not descend to the disastrousness of the Khodynka fields, the commentator admits; but what did happen serves as reminder of just how stretched the city’s transportation network is and how difficult it will be for the siloviki to control the situation if extraordinarily large numbers of people all try to come to the same place.

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