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Is it realistic to believe that we aresafe?
Written by   
, 21 2013

ImageI cannot say that Isuffer from weak nerves these have been steeled after more than 10years in journalism. During this time Ihave lost track of how many crisis situations Ifound myself in, but nothing truly scary has ever happened.

I have never been so frightened for my life, or that of those Ilove, that Ihad to scrutinize the inside of a bus or subway car for explosive devices. Although for almost half a year since active preparations for the World Student Games began they have been calling on us to do this on public transport.

Trucks still park right next to public places without causing worry. Forgotten packages on the porch do not frightenus.

Right now there are so many alarming reports from Tatarstan, and so little reliable information, that putting together a coherent picture about what is going on, or believing that the situation is under control, is more and more difficult.

The arson of Orthodox churches is, in my opinion, more serious than dancing in front of an altar or painting slogans on the walls (ed note: a reference to the 'Pussy Riot' profanity arrests). InTatarstan, on the night of November 1617, a church under construction in Chistopol and a house of worship in the Novosheshminsky region were damaged.

A rocket attack on one of the largest oil companies in the country still sounds like scene from out of fiction, even though it has been officially confirmed. Details have been carefully obscured, either through refusals to comment or rebutting details that pop up in journalistic investigations and Internet accounts of alleged eyewitnesses to the attack.

There is more detailed information available about the November 17th crash of a plane carrying the Tatarstan president's son as well as the FSB chief for that republic. According to official data, however, it was not until the third day that the damaged cockpit voice recorder was found, and it is not known if they were able to glean any information from it. Yes, the plane exploded its and wreckage was strewn over a large area, but this special equipment is it not designed to withstand almost anything?

A march of Russians in Kazan that took place on the afternoon of November 17th seems to have drowned out all these disaster reports. Enough so to make one lose their peace ofmind.

Today in Kazan there is to be a recital by Ivan Okhlobystin. TheUnix concert hall, just like Dubrovka theater where they staged the musical 'Nord-Ost' in the fall of 2002, has seating for 1,000. Myhusband and Ihave tickets for the secondrow.

A warped professional within me shouts: “You have to go, even if (God forbid) something happens and you end up in the middle of it! Justbe ready, and think about what to do so that you get some use out of it and do not get hurt.”

Common sense advises one to not expose his or herself to possible risk. After all, they officially announced that ‘Operation Anti-terror’ is being conducted in Tatarstan, and the Kazan mayor Ilsur Metshin has urged citizens to be especially vigilant to the threat of terrorist attack. Hepromised that reminders on how to behave would be put up in crowded places. Morethan likely, the first rule will read: avoid crowded places.

I honestly do not believe that a possible hostage rescue operation would be carried out just like in the movies, where not a single hostage gets hurt. Inreality, after the gas attack on the above-mentioned Dubrovka theater, according to various sources 130to 174people were killed. Since several hundred were rescued, however, the results of the rescue operation are considered a success.

Believe me, in no way am Icalling for a panic and telling people to either not leave their homes or evacuate the city, but right now one can very clearly sense that every day we are at risk of losing the most valuable thing that we all have peace. Apersonal sense of safety is easily restored after good cup of tea with a few drops of a sedative, but the real threats do not goaway.

One is left to trust that there still are more good guys than badones.


In 'Arguments and Facts', Kazan


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