Russia: Reflections on the Subway Bombings and Politics

It's been a week since the March 29 bombings on the Moscow subway, which killed 40 people and left over 100 injured. Below is a sampling from an ongoing discussion by Russophone bloggers.

LJ user matiutia wrote (RUS) about an encounter with Moscow police officers on the day of the attacks:

I'm on my way to work. One subway station is closed. I move to another one. At the entrance, I'm stopped by the cops. Six of them or so.

- Your documents.
– [Don't have them] (left them in another bag)
– Are you registered [here in Moscow]?
– [Propiska – the record of place of residence]. Bolshoi Karetnyi Pereulok.

(They talk to each other for a while):

- Detention until identification.
– Well, come on, she's alive, that means she's not a [suicide bomber], come on…

(To me)

- Any identification documents.
(I unbutton my coat, take out my [Christian] cross):
– The only ID that I've got.
– You're free to go.

LJ user dolboeb commented (RUS) on the official response to the attacks:

[President Dmitry Medvedev] has decided to spend some time fighting terrorism.

Considering the background of our jurisprudent, we should not be surprised that all countermeasures he has come up with are not practical (scanners, cameras, dogs, instructing the population, international cooperation), but exclusively legalistic. What's needed, it turns out, is to reconsider the articles in the criminal code that relate to terrorists, and the bad [shahids] will get scared right away.

“It is reasonable to revisit issues related to the proper administration of justice under terrorist legislation – under the ‘terrorism’ and related crimes article – and to talk about the need to improve such practices,” said the head of state.

I wonder how it is possible to improve the practice of law enforcement under terror articles in order to punish, finally, those two female suicide bombers whose body parts have allegedly been found on Monday on the Moscow subway? How to optimize measures of penitentiary influence on the two [female suicide bombers] who blew themselves up [on board of the planes on August 24, 2004]? How should the articles in the [criminal code and the criminal procedures code] be corrected? Perhaps, some afterlife punishment provisions should be added to them?

[two photos of the dead perpetrators of the 2002 Moscow theater siege, also known as the Nord-Ost hostage crisis]

It would also be interesting to find out whether the extermination of the Nord-Ost [female suicide bombers] (who were killed while unconscious by shots in the head) helped obtain data on their accomplices, [those who ordered the siege], funding sources, or the circumstances of preparing for the terrorist act. Did the “improved practice” used on their commander [Movsar Barayev] (a shot in the head and a bottle of cognac placed into the corpse's left hand) help prevent [the 2004 bombing at Rizhskaya subway station], the double bombing of the planes that flew out of [Domodedovo airport in Moscow], and [the Beslan school siege]?


LJ user maratguelman wrote this (RUS):

Unfortunately, we do not trust the results of the investigations into the previous terrorist acts. We are either not shown these results, or we are shown the corpses of the terrorists. But practically, there hasn't been a single trial whose materials one can look at and say – “we understand who and why carried out this terrorist act.” This is a fact. Hence the theories [implicating the Federal Security Service, FSB]. […] Here they are discussing why [the terrorists] aren't targeting FSB as they take revenge for [militant Said Buryatsky], but instead attack peaceful Muscovites. As if terrorism is a declared war whose goal is to destroy an opponent. It's not the opponents that they are after, but innocent victims. […]

When Sasha Brener [performance artist Aleksander Brener], in response to the [invasion] of Chechnya, challenged [Boris Yeltsin] to a fight at [Lobnoye Mesto on Red Square], the police did not interfere for half an hour and only after all the [TV] cameras were done shooting him, he was arrested. When I was picking him up from the police department, I asked them – why? Why didn't they detain him right away – they couldn't have been scared of 50 students who stood in a circle around Brener. Their answer was this: well, maybe your crazy guy has just saved someone's life. They'll see over there in Chechnya that there is someone who is protesting against the war in Moscow.


LJ user yuozik made this political forecast (RUS):

[photo of president Dmitry Medvedev on the left, and of PM Vladimir Putin on the right]

Any terrorist act […] is an operation carried out by special services. It may be carried out by a 50-year-old Chechen woman or even by a bear with a [balalaika] – not much difference. […]

And today I'm interested in only one thing – whose special forces have been working today? Of the one who is on the left? Or of the one who is on the right?

[…] The algorithm of what happens next will allow us to understand just how horrible the current situation in the Russian Federation is. […] Because no matter how sad it may sound, we've arrived to the point where the two heads of the eagle on [the Russian coat of arms] (also, a reference to the so-called Putin-Medvedev “tandem”) are trying to devour one another to get on top.


1. If this was done by the new president's special services, then in the nearest future we'll see the weakening of the positions of [Chechnya's president Ramzan Kadyrov]. […]

2. If this was the work of the team of the ex-president in co-authorship with the current president of Chechnya, then it is possible to expect a real bloodbath in the nearest months. […]

Then the goal of today's terrorist attack is to intimidate the president of the Russian Federation and his young, reform-minded team. […]

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