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Terrorist attacks in Moscow
Written by   
, 25 2011
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PRONKO: It is 7-oh-9 in the evening in the Russian capital. Goodevening, ladies and gentlemen! Thisis ‘Real Time’ on radio station ‘Finam FM’. Today’s theme is the terrorist attack in Moscow. Iwill immediately introduce our guests, because we have a roundtable and time is always limited. Iwill go in a clockwise direction and introduce everyone. Hereis a member of the Russian State parliament from the ‘United Russia’ faction, retired Colonel Franz Klintsevich. Franz Adamovich (Klintsevich), good evening!
KLINTSEVICH: Good evening!
PRONKO: And here is the leader of the ‘Yabloko’ party, Sergei Mitrokhin. Sergey, good evening!
MITROKHIN: Hello!
PRONKO: Here from the Russian State parliament from the LDPR faction and member of the parliamentary commission on security, Andrei Lebedev. Andrei Yaroslavovich (Lebedev), good evening! Andfinally here is the chairman of Russia’s Islamic Committee, Heydar Jemal. Heydar Jahedovich (Jemal), good evening!
JEMAL: Good evening!
PRONKO: Thank you gentlemen for agreeing to come. Ingeneral this is a very complicated and important subject and Ithink it is such in principle, but to begin with, Iwould like to mention a communication tool for our students, it is www.finam.fm this is the first way of communicating with us, our Web site. Write any questions or comments, please, and here is our multi-phone, telephone number 65-10-996, and the Moscow area code is 495. Youcan also use this to contact us. And, as always, our program is uncut and uncensored, whatever you see fit to ask, go ahead and express your views and suggestions. Isaid, not without reason, that our time is very limited. There are four of us here plus hundreds of thousands of listeners. NowI would like to hear your opinion, gentlemen, about the work of intelligence agencies, since here on a previous program yesterday Ihad eight guests, including representatives of the FSB, Interior Ministry, and politicians and so on. Ingeneral we already discussed this, but Iwould like to go further. Franz Adamovich (Klintsevich), what is your assessment of the work of security services and law enforcement agencies? IfI understand correctly, excuse my straightforwardness and cynicism, the intelligence services are maintained by the State to prevent that, which, unfortunately, happened yesterday. Please, your opinion.
KLINTSEVICH: First of all Iwould just like to express our sincere condolences to all relatives and friends who lost their loved ones, and those who are in serious condition. MayGod grant them health and a speedy recovery. Thisis the first. Second: In all that relates to the work of the law enforcement and the intelligence agencies, the terrorist attack at Domodedovo airport was for them a complete failure. Inthis case it does not matter what successes they previously enjoyed. Thisis the reason the State keeps security services, and today the public in this case, virtually everyone in the media is analyzing their work so it never happens again. Meanwhile it is important that while conducting this analysis we listen to those who are responsible for it and could tell us and tell the public what difficulties they experience. Withregard to Domodedovo, well, first, that such an attack could even take place means that, despite the huge budget outlays going to the intelligence agencies and the law enforcement system, things are not going well. Second, when we speak directly, in this case about Domodedovo, then my colleagues and Icannot speak for anyone else, but after this attack Ihave suddenly started to think: Ido a lot of flying around the country and after all people can safely go places, there are these metal detectors and you walk through these but some people are able to walk right by them. Whatwas said earlier about everything being done completely securely, Irather doubt it. Allthis talk directed against the management of Domodedovo does not hold water, either. Iagree that when inspecting people going onto an airplane there are no problems, no difficulty in walking through these scanners and putting objects through these special devices and holding luggage and people so you can more easily check them out, if you have any suspicions. Inthese cases we have to tell people up front that these examinations, including the Iapologize the “getting felt up” is something we must accept, because it is related to the lives and security of many people. Meanwhile the genie, so-called international terrorism, is already out of the bottle and it is impossible to put it back today. Iam absolutely sure of it, but Ibelieve that we are capable of creating certain effective measures to combat it, to prevent its manifestation, so to speak, the actual performance of an attack. Whathappened recently, however, and in this case Iam not speaking simply a member of parliament, but as a private citizen, what happened recently should not get swept under the rug. There should be some very serious changes and corrections, in my opinion, within the intelligence agencies and law enforcement bodies, and it is already high time to dictate such terms.
PRONKO: This is the position of Franz Klintsevich. Iwill now read the only text message we have received so far: “This failure,” as was said, “was a failure of the security services and law enforcement.” Here, as in any civilized country, in such situations people are sent into retirement and voluntarily tender their resignations. Iturn now to the audience of ‘Finam FM’ do you think that President Medvedev should fire the ‘power bloc’ (the leadership of the military as well as the security and law enforcement agencies ed.)? Iam not even talking about some deputy minister or director at the FSB, but about the top names. Ifyou believe Dmitry Medvedev should sack the ‘power bloc’, please text the letter ‘A’ to 5533. Ifyou think that no, they need to get to the bottom of things, these people know the inner workings of their agencies and they should remain at their posts, then text ‘B’ to 5533. Onceagain, resignation: 5533, letter ‘A’, if not: 5533, letter ‘B’. Sergey, please, your opinion.
MITROKHIN: Ithink that these people’s resignations are absolutely mandatory, but still insufficient, because if you dismiss Bortnikov and his team, the system still remains, a system under which all of us today exist, and in which our inefficient security services hold us all hostage. Anew commander would not change the system. Iwould like to draw your attention to the fact that during the past year in Russia as a whole, we have suffered 28terrorist attacks, and, according to experts, and this is based on open source information, of course, nearly 200people have been killed. Nowlet us look at what happens to these terrible attacks, or rather, what was done in investigations in the past. Whatis it that we hear all the time? Whenever there is an attack, immediately they solemnly declare it to be a criminal case. So, okay, they open a criminal case, and what is next with this criminal case? Later the information on the matter becomes incomprehensible and disconnected, and ultimately nothing about what is going on is clear to anyone. Icould cite a specific example: the attacks in Moscow in March of last year. Sowhat happened with that? Experts from the ‘Yabloko’ party analyzed the situation. InMay, namely on May 13th of last year, Bortnikov, remember, he is the head of the FSB
PRONKO: The director of the Federal Security Service.
MITROKHIN: The FSB director told Medvedev that they had identified everyone involved in the bombings. Nota single name was stated, though. Sometimes, right away they give the names (of suspects) and witnesses, so Iwas also surprised since now a witness in a corruption case over at the Interior Ministry, for some reason right away they mentioned his name on the news in the capital, and yet here is this serious statement from the FSB, saying they identified everyone, but they do not give any names. Fine. Soit was reported that the case went to court. InJune of 2010, however, the Moscow municipal court, which would have jurisdiction in the case, said that they had not received anything. Theycannot even get their lies straight. Sothen what happened? InAugust of 2010, suddenly they report that in the course of a special operation in Gunib, a regional center in Dagestan, FSB commandos liquidated a certain Magomedali Vagabov, who, according to high-ranking FSB representatives, is believed to have organized the terrorist attacks on the Moscow metro, and now everyone should applaud them because they believe he organized it, without showing any evidence to anyone. Ifyou use this approach you can find any dead person and say: “Behold, he organized all those terrorist attacks on us.”
PRONKO: So you think they are manipulating public opinion?
MITROKHIN: Ithink that what is going on is simple manipulation. Ioften keep track information coming in from the intelligence services, information that never seems to mesh in the end. Doyou understand? Wehave, firstly, complete secrecy on the part of the security services. Theyare under absolutely no control. There is no parliamentary control, unfortunately. Thatis an issue here for Parliament. Theymust later do this, but all past attempts by Parliament to systematically investigate any terrible terrorist attack were of no avail. Thisapplies to the Beslan, and this also applies to ‘Nord-Ost’.
Some (MPs) tried to set up a commission, but many have already forgotten about it and are not doing anything. Wehave no public scrutiny. Whatis public control, anyway? Thatis an interesting question. Somebelieve that it is sort of an abstraction. No, it is not an abstraction. Youknow, Ihave on the table here this book. Itis a huge thick volume. Itis the official commission of inquiry into the well-known terrorist attacks on America on September 11th, 2001. Itis huge volume and it was officially published. Itwas authorized in order to make it easier for ordinary people to read about, and it spells out all about how it occurred, who was directly responsible for preparing and committing the crime, and it describes to the minute what happened and where and so on, as well as how the security forces reacted. Theharshest assessments were against the security services, what mistakes they made that led to all of this. Itmakes recommendations on what the FBI, CIA, police, and the American president should do.
PRONKO: Sergey, tell me, who wrote this?
MITROKHIN: It was by the officially established commission, Congress participated, and the Senate, in the creation of this commission. So, it was an official commission made up of the public’s representatives and in it they published their report.
PRONKO: But we also had the Torshin Commission on Beslan.
MITROKHIN: Yes, but as a result it turned out later, in reading the findings of this commission, that no one really knew what really went on and discussion of it was later hushed up. After this we did not make any attempts, even after subsequent terrorist attacks, to set up anything even remotely resembling the Torshin Commission. There was nothing there, in general, so we are resigned to the fact that our security services are absolutely uncontrolled and they can do whatever they wish. Theycan ‘hang noodles on our ears’, sorry for the expression, and it seems that this is okay. Sonow look at the situation: there are regularly acts of terrorism committed, not just in Moscow, but all too often we have them in Moscow. Inthe United States, where there is such openness, where there is such control (of the security services), since then (9-11), excuse me, there has not been a single terrorist act, except those that were prevented. There were attempts over there, but they were prevented. Thatis the situation for you.
PRONKO: That was Sergei Mitrokhin from ‘Yabloko’. Well, so now, Andrei Yaroslavovich (Lebedev), can you answer this question: are the security services and the law enforcement agencies accountable to the Russian Parliament?
LEBEDEV: Well, if we are to talk about accountability, then that is too strong a word. Iagree with the opinion of my colleague. Inmy opinion, as a former employee in this realm Iworked in criminal investigations the work of the intelligence services has been a failure. Whatdo we have at this date? Wehad reform of the judicial system, which came to what? Itcame up with a law on the (Prosecutor General’s) Investigative Committee rather quickly, and so now on (January) 28th there will be a second or perhaps third reading of the Police Law. Thelaw on the Investigative Committee, and you can talk long and hard about it, but what we are talking about is control, including parliamentary control. Anamendment by the Liberal Democratic Party did not pass, and a number of my colleagues, for example, in the report to the chief of the Investigative Committee, not just to the President
PRONKO: What is the reason for that? Whyso much resistance?
LEBEDEV: They do not want, perhaps, these controls, and so on. Sofar the Police Law has not passed, or in any case they are, in my opinion, rejecting the amendments, the amendments regarding the formation of public councils under the Interior Ministry. Iam at least a former employee, but, nevertheless, many of my colleagues say that as the years go by the police work more and more for themselves, or think that they are working for themselves and that the public works for the police. No, the police were established to ensure the safety of the public, and this is true of the other security services.
Our FSB is a secret organization, and there is practically no public oversight of any kind today. Eventhough one can talk about such formal accountability and so on, all the same it is sort of a profanity.
But all these conditions are only part of what led to this terrible tragedy. Onceagain Iwould like to express my condolences to all the bereaved families. Thisis the pain of loss.
On Radio station ‘Finam FM’

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