Electrichka Madness

Anyone who's ever crammed into one of the elektrichki, or “commuter trains” connecting Moscow to the outlying regions, knows that things can get pretty tight — particularly during the morning and evening rush hours.

Whether it was a lack of personal space that prompted a Tula-bound commuter train passenger to use another traveler’s bag as a pillow remains unclear. That the owner of the bag was displeased with his fellow passenger’s sleeping arrangements appears more certain, as evidenced by the rubber bullets he discharged from a gas gun into the drowsy traveler’s head.

The train left Moscow’s Kursky Station Tuesday morning and was pulling into the Moscow region town of Serpukhov at about noon when the argument between the two passengers erupted, police told RIA-Novosti.

One of the men, a security guard with a Moscow television company, became upset because his fellow passenger was sleeping on his things, police said. “The suspect took the man who was sleeping on his things into the vestibule,” Moscow transportation police spokeswoman Tatyana Agapova told RIA. “They began quarreling, and the suspect shot the victim twice in the head, hitting him in the left eye.”

The victim was later hospitalized and was in serious condition, Agapova said.

The suspect exited the train and tried to evade arrest by waiting for several trains to pass before reboarding, though the ploy ultimately failed. He was detained still in possession of the gas gun and faces aggravated hooliganism charges, punishable by up to five years in prison, Agapova said.

Another criminal case involving commuter trains may be in the works as well after a woman was caught in the closing doors of a train and carried for two kilometers with her legs stuck in the door and her torso outside the carriage, Lifenews.ru reported.

The woman, 23-year-old Lyubov Seliverstova, was exiting the train after her husband and young daughter when the doors closed on her at the Vykhino station in southern Moscow, according to the report. She survived only because she was able to hold onto a rail on the train’s facade, a law enforcement source told LifeNews.ru.

Railway officials are looking into possible negligence by the train driver that could result in criminal charges.