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November 2009wreck of the Nevsky Express
Written by ""   
, 27 2013

ImageOn November 27th, 2009, at 9:35 pm Moscow time, at kilometer 284along the Aleshina to Uglovka section of the Moscow to St. Petersburg rail route, an explosion derailed three cars of the high-speed Nevsky Express.

At the time of the accident there were 682people aboard the train 661passengers and 21railroad personnel.

The engineer stopped the train and immediately reported the incident to his controller, but assistance did not arrive until and hour and a half to two hours later because of its remote location.

Dispatched to evacuate passengers from the accident site was the Peregrine Express, which brought 529passengers to St. Petersburg at 3:15 am Moscow time the followingday.

The emergency response and attendant work involved 770personnel and 152vehicles.

The number killed in the crash of the Nevsky Express stands at 28, with at least 132passengers injured at varying degrees of severity.

Among the dead was Boris Yevstratikov, chief of the Russian Federal Reserve Bank, as well as Sergei Tarasov, former senator from St. Petersburg and chairman of the state-owned Autodor highway company.

The Russian Railways Company suffered damages amounting to 187million rubles. Sixty trains had to be cancelled because of the damage to the route. Thisaffected more than 27,000 passengers.

Almost immediately the main cause for the crash put forth was an act of terrorism, with many witnesses mentioning “a flash and bang” at the time of the incident.

A crater was discovered at the wreck site. Thisled directly to the derailment of two of the coaches, and measured one and a half meters by onemeter.

On November 28th, at 2:30 pm, a second explosive device went off at the Nevsky Express crash site. Thisexplosion occurred during inspection of the site by Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee under the Russian federal prosecutor’s office (SKP-RF). Onexamination, it was found that this explosive device was set off using a mobilephone.

Alexander Bastrykin received a concussion. Alsoinjured were Sergei Zabaturin, Moscow director of interregional investigations for the Department of Transport, and Konstantin Karasev, head of investigations in the Novgorod region. Theywere accompanying Mr. Bastrykin.

On November 28th, the criminal investigation of the Nevsky Express derailment was transferred to the main investigative department of the SKP-RF.

The FSB confirmed that the cause of the derailment along the Moscow St. Petersburg line was the explosion of an improvised device equivalent to seven kilograms of TNT. Acriminal case was opened for crimes under articles 205(‘Terrorism’) and 222(‘Arms Trafficking’) of the Russian CriminalCode.

The central investigation department of the SKP-RF later opened a separate criminal case because of the explosion of a device in the vicinity of the investigative team working on the Nevsky Express wreck. Thecase was later coupled with the main criminalcase.

Identikits quickly compiled several suspects responsible for the train derailment.

Over 250forensic examinations took place over the course of the investigation, as well as a number of actions to establish the particulars of thecrime.

Investigation established that almost all passengers receiving fatal injuries during the November 27th terrorist attack on the Nevsky Express were riding in the last coach. Numbering was from the end of the train, so this train car was registered as ‘Number 1’. Thelast coach was farther than the rest from the epicenter of the explosion, which occurred under the locomotive. Immediately after the blast, however, the driver applied emergency braking, as required by instructions, and this caused the tail end of the train traveling at 190km per hour to jackknife.

The first nine coaches in general were undamaged and stayed on the roadbed. Coaches 2, 3, and 4fell on their sides and went off the roadbed. Thevery last coach, ‘Number 1’, broke away from the train and flew over the rails, demolishing three concrete pillars in flight, and finally coming down on its end platform off the roadbed. Thisimpact led to mass casualties among the passengers.

Investigators determined that there were seven persons involved in derailing the train members of an armed gang. Theyincluded militant Alexander Tikhomirov, known by the nickname ‘Sayeed the Buryat’, as well as Bagautdin Dalgiev, Osman Uzhakov, and four Kartoyev brothers. These men were all killed during a March 2nd, 2010, raid on the village of Ekazhevo in Ingushetia. Asa result of their demise, criminal proceedings against these suspects were dropped.

Law enforcement personnel detained, extradited to Moscow, and placed under arrest ten other persons involved in causing the express train crash Zelemhan Aushev and nine men all surnamed Kartoyev. During their arrests, the suspects resisted, which resulted in the death of investigator Sergei Vasyukovich of the SKP-RF.

On July 27th, 2011, materials from the criminal case were sent to the regional court in Tver for consideration on the merits.

The Nevsky Express derailment trial in Tver began on August 29th, 2011. Apanel of three judges in closed hearings examined the case. During the trial, the Russian Railways Company initiated a civil suit for 148million rubles in damages.

On May 22nd, 2012, the Tver regional court sentenced the ten defendants in the Nevsky Express derailment case to periods of imprisonment ranging from seven years tolife.

Four of the ten defendants were sentenced to life Murat Kartoyev, Tatarkhan Kartoyev, Beslan Kartoyev, and Zelemhan Aushev. Theywere found guilty of terrorism, illicit manufacture of weapons, and participation in illegal armed groups.

Mohammed Kartoyev and Ilyas Kartoyev were sentenced to seven years hard labor. Timur Kartoyev, Tarhan Kartoyev, and Idris Kartoyev were sentenced to seven and a half years hard labor. Adifferent Beslan Kartoyev was sentenced to eight years imprisonment. Someof the convicted were credited with time served, as they had been detained since March of 2010.

Tver regional court also found for the Russian Railways Company in their civil lawsuit, and assessed four defendants the sum of 134million rubles.

On February 24, 2013, the judicial chamber for criminal cases of the Russian Supreme Court reduced the sentences of six of the defendants, allowing them to serve their sentences in a regular penal institution.

Materials here are based on information from RIA Novosti and public sources.


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