Lubyanka Building

The building of state security bodies is a building on Lubyanskaya Square in Moscow, which served as the main building of the state security bodies of the USSR from 1919 to 1992. As of 2022, the building is part of the complex of buildings of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (Russian: ФСБ).

At the end of the 19th century on Bolshaya Lubyanka Street, by order of the Rossiya insurance company, a profitable complex was built. Architects Nikolai Proskurnin, Alexander Ivanov and Viktor Velichkin supervised the work. After the October Revolution, the buildings came under the jurisdiction of the Cheka (the Bolshevik security force or secret police).

In 1932-1933, architects Arkady Langman and Ivan Bezrukov completed the building from the side of Furkasovsky Lane for the enlarged apparatus of the special services.

In 1944-1948 architect Alexey Shchusev began a complete reconstruction of the buildings to expand and unite the disparate buildings with a single facade. He rebuilt the left side of the complex, but the house received a symmetrical appearance only in the 1980s under the guidance of architect Gleb Makarevich.

Since 1920, an internal prison has operated on the territory of the complex, and the architect Arkady Langman significantly expanded the place a decade after its inception. The cells contained “the most important counterrevolutionaries and spies for the time being, while their cases are being investigated, or when, for known reasons, it is necessary to completely cut off the arrested person from the outside world, to hide his whereabouts.”

Presumably, the first prisoners were the children of the landowner Nikolai Yegorovich Lenin, Sergei and Olga. In 1923, Patriarch Tikhon was kept in a building in Lubyanka. At various times, revolutionaries Nikolai Bukharin and Lev Kamenev, actor Vsevolod Meyerhold, military leaders Mikhail Tukhachevsky, Vasily Blyukher and Alexander Kutepov, aircraft designer Andrei Tupolev, Hungarian politician Bela Kun, one of the leaders of the Polish underground state Leopold Okulitsky, writers and poets Osip Mandelstam, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Sergei Yesenin, as well as many other public and cultural figures, were kept here.

As of 1936, there were 118 cells in the prison and 94 of them were single. In total, the complex accommodated up to 350 prisoners at a time.

After the death of Joseph Stalin, mass arrests decreased, and by the mid-1950s, only 66 cells operated. By order of the head of the KGB, Vladimir Semichastny, the inner prison was liquidated in 1961. The last prisoner was the American pilot Gary Powers, who was accused of espionage.

Most of the cells in the inner prison were converted into offices and a canteen. A museum was equipped with six surviving rooms, which can be accessed if you have access to secret documents.

Nearest metro: Ohotny Ryad, Teatralnaya, Lubyanka.

Attractions around: Bolshoi TheatreManezhnaya SquarePloschad Revolyutsii (square)State Duma buildingHouse of the UnionsTretyakovskiy proezd, Central Children’s Store, Red SquareTverskaya streetKremlin, Myasnitskaya Street, Nikolskaya Street, Polytechnic Museum.

See also Architecture of MoscowPalaces and most historic buildings of Moscow.

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