Moscow Underground

Yuri Kozyrev / NOOR for TIME

Vadim Mikhailov began exploring the secret network in the 1990s.

'Hold on, boys. I think there's a corpse down here. Looks to be dismembered." The booming voice of underground explorer Vadim Mikhailov echoes up from one of the many abandoned bomb shelters that sit hidden belowground in the center of Moscow. The series of pitch black chambers is flooded with rain from the previous night, the knee-deep water lousy with floating garbage. In a dank passageway in the shelter, Time photographer Yuri Kozyrev and I freeze in mild horror to wait for word about the corpse. Then Mikhailov shouts from deeper down, "Never mind. It's just a mannequin." It...

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