At least 37 people died as two suspected terrorist bombs ripped through the central Moscow metro system during Monday morning’s rush hour, the emergencies ministry said.
A RIA Novosti employee who was on the train said the blast occurred between the Lubyanka and Okhotny Ryad metro stations close to the Kremlin.
The second blast occurred some 20 minutes later at the nearby Park Kultury station and killed at least 14 and injured at least 7. The carriage hit by the blast in still on the platform.
Prosecutors said the bombs, each with the equivalent strength of 2 kg of TNT, were denoted by suicide bombers.
A police source told RIA Novosti that the blasts bore all the hallmarks of “a well-planned terrorist attack.”
With central Moscow at a standstill, helicopters are being used to evacuate the injured.
Russia’s top investigator Vladimir Markin said that an investigation on terrorism charges had been launched.
If terrorism is confirmed as the cause of the blasts, this will be the first major terrorist incident in Russia outside of the North Caucasus since 2004, when hundreds of people died in two plane bombings. The same series of attacks culminated in the deaths of over 300 people, many of then children, when Chechen terrorists seized a school in Beslan.
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The terrorist attack in Moscow subway that took lives of 39 people, may, among other things, give a rise to xenophobic tendencies. What does it mean for a multinational and poly-confessional Moscow? Honestly speaking, the mere thought of it is scary. Yet, there are definite attempts to stir up the situation. For instance, the ultra-right have noticeably activated these days.
You can treat the statements of politicians, trying to promote their ideas, in different ways. You can criticize their intention to gain political score, or ignore them and look at their actions as if it was a banal PR fuss.
Yet, there are things that cannot be understood or justified, such as attempts to provoke xenophobic tendencies and raise anti-Islamic or anti-Caucasus hysteria.
I have to state that currently the forces trying to divide the society using nationalistic slogans became more intense. For example, after the explosions in Moscow metro and first theories of who was to blame for the crime, the Internet was filled with pictures of the attacks with captions saying “look at the fruits of tolerance” and “peoples’ friendship.”There were blog posts allegedly stating that the Muslims were jubilant because of the “heroic deeds of the female suicide bombers who killed so many disbelievers.”
Adding fuel to the fire, the ultra-right movements and groups made statements blaming the officials in covering the “Islamic terrorism.” “Now we can openly say that if the country and military forces are governed by the same people who are bleating about “tolerance, Russian-Chechen fraternity, Russia as the largest Islamic state, Russia for everyone,” terrorist attacks will continue and our people will die,” said the statement made by the Movement against the Illegal Immigration (DPNI), whose supporters call for a mass cleaning of Moscow and nearby regions from the people from the Caucasus as a recipe for “treating the infection of Islamic terrorism.”
On the day of the attacks in Moscow metro, on the wave of panic, several Muslim women were attacked. According to witnesses, two women wearing head scarves entered a train at Avtozavodskaya station. When the train arrived to Paveletskaya station, they were thrown out of it by a passenger. A similar incident happened at Kuntsevskaya station where a person who looked like someone from the Caucasus fell victim of paranoia.
Fears and suspicions of Muscovites are intentionally heated. The day after the attack leaflets with the image of a man from the Caucasus dancing his national dance next to a crying child were noticed at metro stations. The leaflets with the caption “Daddy, I do not want to die, please, save me” were spotted at Koltsevaya line.
Experts believe these leaflets are designed to ignite hatred towards representatives of Southern nations. “This is unacceptable,” said Viktor Biryukov, head of the press service of the Chief Directorate of Internal Affairs in his interview with Politonline.ru . He mentioned that his department was conducting work in this respect.
The day after the attacks, human activists began talking about a possible rise of xenophobic tendencies. Nurdi Nukhazhiev, Ombudsman in the Chechen Republic, expressed his concerns that people from the Caucasus may be prosecuted because of their nationality. “We received calls from people from various Russian regions, including Moscow, who say they are afraid of illegal actions against themselves. Thousands of people from our Republic permanently reside in Moscow and other regions of Russia. Some Chechens […] have already felt change of attitude towards them,” he stated.
Alexander Brod, director of the Moscow Agency for Human Rights also spoke about entrepreneurial attempts to bring about international division: “Now some politicians and national-radical organizations take advantage of this topic. They are spilling salt on the wounds. They call for vigilante justice and violence against migrants. Blood for blood. Eye for eye .”
“This is dangerous and unacceptable. If you give freedom to such behaviors of revenge and intolerance, it will cause new conflicts. Terrorists have names, the attacks have organizers. Do not transfer the issue to the ethnic sphere and do not blame the entire nations. Otherwise it will cause new tension.”
“We have a multinational country and categorizing nations as bad or good is a sure way to cause a split and new wave of violence,” he concluded.
Gasan Mirzoev, the chairman of the Coordination Council of the All-Russia public organization “The Jurists for Human Rights and Decent Life,” said that it was time everyone understood the terrorism does not have a nationality. “Xenophobia is exactly the intent of terrorists. They want to sow the panic and cause split between the nations, these are their best expectations,” he told to Pravda.ru. “They would very much like for people from the Caucasus to be attacked. Therefore, it is extremely important to preserve tolerance inside Russian society.”
“If we choose the path suggested to us by terrorists – incitement of ethnic hatred, exasperation of certain group of the population – this will not do us any good,” stated Gasan Mirzoev.
In reality, the fanatics that set off the explosions in Moscow metro obviously not only intended to gather “bloody crop” but intended to provoke similar cruelty that would hurt, first and foremost, Russians themselves, and would result in a split in the society. Those who are trying to divide us according to nationality are obviously doing the terrorists a favor. Heating up hatred to foreigners, people from Caucasus, Muslims, etc., they are bringing the grist to the terrorists’ mills.
Investigators have identified the 17-year-old widow of a North Caucasus militant as one of the Moscow suicide bombers, local media reported Friday, citing a Dagestani law enforcement source.
The woman, who detonated explosives at the Lubyanka metro station, was identified as Dzhennet Abdurakhmanova, the widow of Dagestani militant leader Umalat Magomedov who was killed by federal forces in 2009, the Kommersant daily reported.
The newspaper also published a photo of the couple posing casually with pistols.
“She was identified based on information received through a number of channels. There is almost 100 percent certainty that she staged the terrorist attack,” a source close to the investigation told the Interfax news agency.
Two female suicide bombers on Monday killed 39 people in attacks on the Moscow subway system. Authorities have linked the attacks to militants from the North Caucasus.