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Decade of terror
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, 08 2010

    Ten years ago, on August 8th, 2000, at about six in the evening in a pedestrian underpass in Moscow's Pushkin Square, an explosion occurred, killing 13and injuring 118with various degrees of severity. TheMoscow city prosecutor's office initiated a criminal case under legal articles concerning murder and terrorism, but in the end the investigation into the case was suspended and those killed or injured in the explosion are still not recognized as victims.

The improvised explosive device in the pedestrian underpass at Pushkin Square had the strength of 350to 800 grams of TNT, and its design consisted of screws, bolts and a motorcycle battery. Theinvestigation established that two men went up to a pavilion, left a briefcase and plastic bag, and rushed out. Thenthe bomb exploded, killing thirteen and injuring one hundred and eighteen.

The investigation advanced various theories, including that it was an economic crime, or a personal vendetta, but back then the most fashionable one was that there was a ‘Chechen connection’. Theinvestigation seemed to have been a colossal job. 6,348 entities were examined for involvement in the crime, as were more than 6,000 individuals. More than 300witnesses and victims were questioned, and 100interrogations conducted. Theend result: suspension of the proceedings.

Moscow city prosecutor Yuri Semin explained that the perpetrators of the terrorist act are more than likely no longer alive. “At least that’s the information we have,” said the capital’s attorney, again not failing to mention the ‘Chechen connection’. ButYuri Semin did not say why those that suffered in a case of murder and terrorism were not recognized as victims.

Sergey Karpov, chairman of the 'Nord-Ost' regional public organization to assist victims of terrorist acts:

“What kind of investigation are you talking about? Noinvestigation was ever conducted, and as such did not exist. Evenour investigation case suspended. I’m talking of course about Nord-Ost. Asfar as the explosion on Pushkin, there are even victims, wounded and maimed, who are still not officially recognized as victims of a terrorist act. Inthis regards there is a totally different attitude towards them. Theyare not provided health care or prostheses, and the like.”

- Did you turn to the prosecutor's office? Whyis there still such a situation?

“They've just written it off. I’ll illustrate with an example from Nord-Ost. There was a criminal investigation into the seizure. Itwas carried out, conducted, and now it’s suspended. Buta criminal case of murder due to the attack on Pushkin has never been prosecuted. According to our laws, even if a person dies at construction site, a criminal investigation is conducted into his death. AtPushkin Square, 13people were killed. Acriminal investigation into one or more persons was opened, but only concerning the attack, because it would have been unprofitable for the state to open a murder case. Agirl who lost an eye and her hearing approached us. Shesaid they told her to get treated at her own expense. Noprosthetics, nothing. Weare a powerless! For8 years we’ve been fighting so that our state, our dear parliament members, would introduce a law on the status of victim of a terrorist attack. We, the victims of attacks, are already too many to count: orphans, disabled, sick. OurDuma members don’t pass such a law, even though all the materials are ready. Thelaw itself is almost ready, they just need to read and vote on it. Butwe are powerless; no one needs us.

The tragedy in the Pushkin Square pedestrian underpass is already ten years old. Ata memorial wall commemorating victims of the terrorist attack there is a cast-iron rose, and always fresh flowers.

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