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Edge of the Week broadcast
Written by -   
, 04 2010
1VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA: The first blast occurred at the Lubyanka subway station at 07.57 am, the second at Culture Park 40minutes later. Female suicide bombers set off the explosives. Asa result of the attacks 39people were killed and 87injured. InMoscow, March 30th was designated a day of mourning for the dead. Previous attacks date back to 2004, when, on February 6th a blast occurred on a subway train between the Avtozavodskaya and Paveletskaya subway stations, killing 41and injuring about 250. OnAugust 31st, 2004, on the eve of the tragedy in Beslan, an improvised explosive device was set off near the Riga subway station. 8were killed and 300injured.
Analogous bombings in the Madrid and London subways brought thousands of indignant citizens out into the streets of European capitals. Writer Viktor Shenderovich is not surprised that the passive Russian public did not follow the examples of the Spanish or the English.
.VIKTOR SHENDEROVICH: The people simply swallowed Nord-Ost and Beslan. Theysurvived tanks firing upon their own children, but then they allowed elections to be cancelled due to the terrorist threat. Theyswallowed it, and they live on. Theygo to the movies and raise their children. Nothing can break this people. Itwill degrade, Ithink, until it reaches rock bottom, and from the bottom, perhaps, if it does not drown before then, it will bounce back.
VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA: An operational investigative unit determined the route the suicide bombers took to Moscow. Thewomen came on a motor coach, which regularly brings shuttle-traders from cities in the North Caucasus to the Luzhniki marketplace in Moscow. Thebus driver identified the female suicide bombers from photographs. According to him, the girls arrived in Moscow early on the morning of March 29th. Amale accompanied them from the Caucasus. Thefemale suicide bombers and the man had three pieces of luggage. Thesource added that the terrorists entered the subway at the Vorobiev Gory station.
According to Konstantin Remchukov, owner of the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, disregard for signals from the Caucasus explains why the Russian public was unprepared for the terrorist threat.
KONSTANTIN REMCHUKOV: Since both the public and the government somehow make a distinction between terrorist attacks in Russian territory outside the Caucasus, and terrorist attacks within the Caucasus, neither the public nor the government were prepared. While the authorities were actively killing activists in North Caucasus, it was as if the Caucasus had nothing to do with Russia. Thisis why this terrorist attack, more than 5years after the previous one, seems so startling and serious.
However, if we truly believe that the Caucasus is a part of Russia, then it is wrong to think that there were no terrorist acts in Russia for a long time. There were no terror attacks in Moscow, Volgodonsk, or Volgograd, but there were attacks in Ingushetia, Dagestan and other republics.
VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA: Right after Moscow, on Wednesday morning, two blasts 35minutes apart rocked the city center of Kizlyar, killing 12and wounding more than 27. Astatement by Chechen separatist leader Doku Umarov appeared on the Internet. Hetook responsibility for the attacks, and explained the reasons for his actions.
On Thursday President Dmitry Medvedev arrived unexpectedly in Dagestan. InMakhachkala he met with leaders of republics in the North Caucasus Federal District, and with territorial division chiefs from the FSB and Interior Ministry. FSBhead Alexander Bortnikov told the president that the intelligence agencies had already determined the organizers of the terrorist attacks in Moscow and Kizlyar.
Georgy Mirsky believes that the tragedy caught the security services unawares and they are denying that they were unprepared.
GEORGY MIRSKY: They act as if this is the first time that the sky has fallen. Wehad bombings of the subway and airliners, so how can one say they were unprepared? There has been a decrease in vigilance, some relaxation, and Ihave heard people say that it has been years, the terrorists have all been killed, there are no more of them left. Yes, there are. Thatis how it was. Butthe public, of course, was not ready for it. Whenpeople hear that there has been a bombing somewhere, it does not concern them in the least. Itcould never happen here. Humans have such a short memory. Theyforget that a few years ago everyone was trembling when there were terrible bombings more people died back them in the subway car at Avtozavodskaya. So, of course they were unprepared.
VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA: Medvedev outlined five key tasks in combating terrorism in the Caucasus: strengthening law enforcement agencies, the Interior Ministry, and the courts. InDagestan the president stated: We must carry out dagger thrusts against the terrorists and destroy them and their refuges, help those who have decided to break with the bandits, develop the economy, education, culture, and strengthen moral and spiritual components.
Maksim Shevchenko believes the public's cohesion is phantom-like in the face of terrorist threats.
MAKSIM SHEVCHENKO: During the Soviet Union and Stalin's time we were united, but as it turned out in 1991, we were not united after all. Itshould not be threats that rally us, but future projects and hope for the future. Threats in general rarely unite.
VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA: In Moscow on Thursday we said goodbye to thirteen of the 18Muscovites who died in the March 29th attacks. Thousands gathered in mourning at the Khovanskoye, Kotlyakovskoye, Archangel Nikolai, Domodedovo, Troekurovskoye, and Mitinskoye cemeteries. Funeral ceremonies were held in suburban Dolgoprudny and Domodedovo, in the Tambov and Krasnodar districts, and in Kursk, Rostov-on-the-Don, Yakutsk, the Ukraine, and Tajikistan. Another five Muscovites were buried on Friday, April 2nd.
Andrei Makarov, Member of Parliament, sees obvious flaws in the security of Muscovites.
ANDREI MAKAROV: The main flaw is that the state is unable to provide the right to human life, as guaranteed in the Constitution. AndI think that the purpose of what was done, the purpose of this evil act, consists of, on the one hand in sowing panic, and on the other hand in making people feel that the government is unable to assure their right to life our most important constitutional right.
Speaking of these matters are, in fact, very technical, they are issues of technology and law enforcement. Ido not think you can talk about technological flaws for two seconds, two minutes, or even two hours. Ithink that the most important thing is that the right to life must be assured, and that is what the state has yet to do. Howit does so, strictly speaking, should not worry the people. Theimportant thing is that it is done.
VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA: Today our studio guest is Vadim Rechkalov, a columnist for the newspaper Moscow Komsomolets. Doyou think that the law enforcement agencies are taking adequate measures to investigate the terrorist attacks that happened last Monday?
   VADIM RECHKALOV: Ido not know all the steps that the law enforcement agencies have taken. Theonly thing obvious is that the law enforcement agencies at this time have no clues like they had in 2003, when they took Zarema Muzhihoeva alive. Backthen they had closed chambers hearings, interrogations, some plea-bargaining and so on. And, as a result, they uncovered a base in the Tolstopaltsevo Odintsovo district 16kilometers from Moscow. Andthat was it: the terror wave that began in Mozdok ended at the stadium in Tushino.
But now there is no one alive, as far as Iknow, and no clues. Butthis new terrorist attack is not directly related to the fact that the system has become more vulnerable. Itis simply due to certain objective reasons: perhaps the terrorists had the ability to mount such an attack, that is, certain people who were able to do it, a certain number of suicide bombers. Maybe they are not real suicide bombers. Perhaps they were just forced to carry explosives that were blown up by remote control. Itis no accident that the two blasts occurred at spots in the stations where mobile phones could receive a signal. AndI think that these two women were forced to do this. Especially since it is easier, easier to find an accomplice who is counting on luck, than it is to find one who is willing to die. Andeven then, if they are willing to die, they could change their minds at the last moment. Itis safer, of course, to blow her up.
So now they have these girls, they have some people who are able to organize everything, and there is a desire to conspire, to travel somewhere and choose a place to blow up. Thatis, they have an interest in terrorist activity, for whatever their reasons. Ido not know, maybe it is personal, maybe someone they knew had been killed, or maybe they just like this sort of thing there are all kinds of bastards out there.
And as far as our problems, by the way, the previous terrorist attack, and Ido not mean the Paveletskaya and Riga subway stations, Imean in 2003when it was Tushino and they captured Zarema Muzhihoeva. Backthen it was a similar attack, because at that time there was a base in Tolstopaltsevo and a group of three people: Saaev, Muzhihoeva, and the third Icannot remember right now. Nowit is just like 2003. Apparently it all ended after the arrest of Muzhihoeva when so many were exposed, so many were killed, some were imprisoned. Because the gang's potential dried up. Theyhad neither the manpower, nor the connections anymore, nothing. Nowthe manpower and connections have reappeared, and the attacks have resumed.
But during this time period, from 2003to 2010, the information we were getting dramatically changed for the better. Aweek would not go by that we did not receive a report about some successful event, some successful raid, even though in the open press one could see that some of the successes were not too obvious. Herewould be a report about innocent people being killed in a special operation, or the interior minister of Dagestan being killed. Butdespite all these troubles the authorities and our security forces always found a reason to give themselves a compliment.
I believe that in today's case we need to declare a temporary moratorium on the intelligence agencies praising themselves. Theydo not have the right to such praise, only the heroes who died, heroes such as Sitnikov from the Interior Ministry forces, who recently died heroically and received the Hero of Russia medal. Theyare worthy of glorification and broadcasts and stories about them.
But our leadership, which allegedly has the situation under control, should shut up for about 10years until everything is quiet and peaceful. Everyone is enchanted by pokazukha (ed: fakery ala Potemkin’s Village), a simulated stability. Andno one ever thinks that what has been done is only a fraction of what needs to be done for a modicum of stability. Butthese results are enough to convince the president and the prime minister and the public that all is well.
The authorities lull themselves to sleep with their reports of victories, both the leadership and the public. Andpeople stop looking around and say: Ihear they killed Sayeed Buryat, so now nothing in Moscow will get blown up.
If the authorities had been more responsible and perhaps built more on popular support, and people had looked around more often, and had looked somewhere and noticed that some strange family had rented a house somewhere in the Odintsovo area, a very strange family, and maybe had they called it in, perhaps, they would have accidentally uncovered this group.
But where are they now, the rest of the group that did not blow itself up in the subway, where did they flee? Someone whose child left for college at half past seven in the morning hears, say, on Echo of Moscow or CNN that there was a bombing in Moscow, so he turns on the TV. ToChannel One, or Russia TV, or NTV, but he does not see pictures, he only sees dancing, or a cooking show, or home remedies. Ihave a place to turn, a satellite dish, thank God, but even Ifeel spat upon, even though Iam also in this business and should be calmer about it.
When the authorities disrespect their fellow citizens this much, no one will cooperate with them. Amiscalculation, for if public does not share information with the authorities, then in these circumstances the authorities have no clues, no living terrorists that can be interrogated and broken, and so they do not finds out anything and only learn after the fact, when it is too late.
And do you know what they will tell us? Thatthe organizers of the 2010Moscow bombings were found barricaded in a building and destroyed. It might even be true. Buthow many explosions will take place between now and that once again victorious report, for which there will even be medals awarded. Wedo not know at what price these people were simply destroyed.
They give medals for the destruction of a militant, but the simple Moscow resident who gets on the subway, rides to the correct station, and comes out alive nothing. Ourlaw enforcement system and the undercover agencies are honed by uncovering crimes for which they confer medals. Theydo not care if you get there or not.
I see no difference if Buryat is alive or dead. Whether he is sitting in prison, or someone has killed him. Itwould be better, of course, if he were not at liberty and were imprisoned. Themain thing would be that he could not move about. Butfor the authorities it is important that there is a beautiful story to tell. Ita not a police principle, you know, it is right out of show business. Buryat's death it is beautiful news, but the fact that my grandmother got from Altufevo to the Prague subway station, alive and well, this is not news. Itis interesting to no one.
VLADIMIR KARA-MURZA: Thank you very much for this interview. Letme remind you that our studio guest was Vadim Rechkalov, a columnist for Moscow Komsomolets.

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