Iconic poet Mayakovsky honoured with special metro train

22 March 2013

Moscow metro has unveiled a special new train to mark the 120th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Mayakovsky. The interior of the train — a joint project of the metro and the Mayakovsky Museum — features the Futurist poet’s posters and verse. After yesterday’s maiden voyage, which coincided with International Poetry Day, the train will run until 31 July on the Filyovskaya line connecting western Moscow with the centre.

Each of the train’s four carriages is dedicated to a different part of the poet’s life and work: his biography (including his love affair with Lily Brik), his poetry, his propaganda posters and his books for children.

Despite his challenging avant-garde poetry, and his controversial suicide in 1930, Mayakovsky became a pillar of Soviet propaganda after Stalin declared him “the best and most talented poet of our Soviet era” in recognition of his verses honouring Lenin and the revolution. This privileged posthumous position is reflected in the splendour of the eponymous art-deco Mayakovskaya metro station, which was opened in 1938.

The new Mayakovsky train is the latest in a long line of specialist carriages to run on the Moscow metro (see slideshow). Other bespoke trains include Watercolour, featuring reproductions of works of art from the Pushkin Museum of Fine Art; Sokolniki Retrotrain — a reconstruction of the first metro train, Red Arrow, in honour of the namesake highspeed Moscow-St Petersburg express; Moscow Reads decorated with excerpts from books; People’s Militaman, which commemorates metro workers who served in the war); and Poetry on the Metro, which recently opened a Gabriel Garcia Marquez carriage.