Norwegian Terrorist Anders Breivik Trained in Belarus Militant Camps
While U.S. news feature information that Breivik purchased ammo from a U.S. supplier, Eastern European feeds are full of details of Breivik's multiple trips to Belarus, changes in his behavior and wealth, and the training he underwent in Belarusian militant camps. In fact, Belarus' tight government regime and active intelligence have served a great purpose this time around. Even though Breivik didn't do anything suspicious at the time, Belarusian KGB kept precise records on Breivik, who was called "Viking" in the intelligence reports.
First time, Anders Breivik visited Minsk on March 4, 2005. He flew Vienna-Minsk-Vienna roundtrip, departing from Belarus on March 11, 2005. At the border, Breivik told customs officials that he came to visit the Vikings' graves. Centuries ago, Vikings went through the region multiple times, and there are indeed multiple ancient graves visited by the Vikings' ancestors. Thus, the first visit didn't trigger any suspicion. It is still unknown whether Breivik visited the graves, but he did investigate Belarus' governance, political structure, and the results of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The tour guides, who chaperoned Breivik in 2005, remember that he was afraid of poisoning with radioactive food products - a normal, they say, tourist behavior for a Western tourist. Now, that the stuff hit the fan, Belarusian KGB looked closer into what Breivik was really doing in their country.
Death of Yuri Budanov - Russia's Political Murder that Got No Coverage in the West
Colonel Yuri Budanov was one of the most spoken-about participants of the war in Chechnya. He was arrested in 2000, tried in court for rape and murder of a Chechen girl in 2001, convicted of kidnapping, abuse of office, and murder in 2003 and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Budanov admitted going into a rage and killing an 18-year-old Chechen Elza Kungaeva, a suspected sniper who attacked Budanov's unit and killed his soldiers. The rape charges were never proven. However soldiers were believed to have abused girl's dead body.
Budanov was pardoned in 2009, 15 months before completing his term. Right away, he said he was being followed by the Chechens. He repeatedly talked about black cars with tinted windows parked by his house, and asked for the government's protection. The government refused security services, Budanov went into hiding, came out in the open several months ago, and was shot in downtown Moscow in broad daylight on June 10, 2011 (last Friday)-- four bullets to his head. He was buried as an army hero on June 13. Officers and soldiers who spoke at his funeral said that he was an "officer from God," and an "honorable man and a leader who saved hundreds of lives." Zhirinovsky was one of the controversial political and social leaders who attended the funeral. He said that "Budanov paid for Russian government's failed policies."
The real moral of this story goes far beyond a daylight murder, revenge, judicial and policy failures, or Islamic intolerance. Russians took Budanov's death as a clear message that 1) it is OK to take matters in your hands, 2) no one is safe from lawlessness and the government will not protect you, 3) the legal system does not work, as it cannot satisfy either of the sides - the accusers are not content and the accused are not safe, 4) and that Russia would be much better off if it were "for Russians" only (a nationalistic statement that recently has been rising in its popularity).
The murder should have been better covered in the West, not just because killing people is wrong, but because it was another splash of oil into Russian society's fire of fascism, racism, and radicalism. Many people see in that fire an alternative to either liberal democrats or Putin's stagnation. If the majority of Russians get what they want, a new leader will make Putin look like a plush bunny and an angel.
Ignorance Is Not a Virtue. Terrorist Attack in Belarus May Have Serious Consequences for the Region and the World
I get it. Belarus is far away, has no oil, nuclear missiles, or world-famous tourist destinations. However, this barely should be a reason why the news agencies in Northern America completely missed the April 11th attack in Minsk subway that claimed 12 lives and left 149 people injured. The same day, top news on CNN and other agencies were budget discussion in Washington, D.C., and a controversy about the book about gay penguins raising a baby-penguin. Politics aside, putting the news about the gay penguins at least 20 lines above an attack that killed people is just wrong.
Now, emotions aside, why the explosion in Belarus matters. First of all, it could have been (it is not, but on April 11 it absolutely could have been) an Islamic terrorist attack. Something for Western intelligence agencies to think about. What it really is--as phrased by the Belarusian officials--"an act of extremism." Lukashenko blames the opposition parties for staging the attack. Common people in Belarus and media analysts in Russia call the attack an "inside job." In the climate of sliding currency, produce shipment shortages, and shrinking economy, the only person to benefit from tightening the grip on the regime is president Alexander Lukashenko, who has been in power for nearly two decades. (Two more decades, and think "Gaddafi"). One way or the other--terrorists going wild in Eastern Europe or a man who's been in power forever and is tightening his grip on it--is a bad news, and more newsworthy than readers' complaints about homosexual penguins.
View the photo essay of the tragedy in the extended post.
Obama, What Would You Do to Osama? Time to Practice, Terrorist Gaddafi Is Here!
For the first time in decades, the world's superpowers have been handed the opportunity to defend freedom and punish a terrorist. Iraq does not count, as no one found any weapons of mass destruction out there. Afghanistan does not count either for the Russians or for Americans, as socialism did not settle in after a decade-long war, and it seems like democracy isn't taking off either. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea and others - well, it's their peoples' problems, as the leaders, in fact, are not terrorists. They have not attacked the West, they have not been caught ordering terrorist attacks against civilians, and they comply with their domestic laws and constitutions.
Libya's Muammar Gaddafi is a whole different story. Today, it became clear that in addition to being a flamboyant fashionista, "King of Kings," a dictator, and a pervert, Gaddafi is also a "certified" terrorist. Let me explain myself:
Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 that killed 270 people, the country's recently resigned justice minister said yesterday. Terrorism - checked. Even though his woman is Ukrainian nurse Galyna, all Gaddafi's bodyguards are... certified virgin females (watch the video). Pervert - checked. In 42 years of ruling a country, he failed in creating any (actually, succeeded in destroying all) governmental institutions, and without his "rule" the country belongs in chaos. Dictator - checked. Gaddafi's fashion is a separate issue altogether and is just lightly touched in this post. Fashionista - checked. He did declare himself "King of Kings" (you know, like Jesus) - hmm... checked? In addition to the list of accomplishments described above, Gaddafi ordered to bomb peaceful protesters and the country's oil fields with military aviation. Thank God, pilots knew better and disobeyed the orders.
Russia's Shamil Basaev was a terrorist. He killed hundreds of Russian civilians in terrorist attacks, and crucified and beheaded scores of Russian soldiers. He is dead now (his wife, though, is a TV host of an anti-Russian program in Georgia, compliments of U.S. tax payers - but we'll cover that one in later posts). What would Obama do if he catches Osama? Presidents Medvedev and Obama, c'mon guys - do what superpowers must do - execute the crazy terrorist!
Gazeta.ru did an excellent job of summarizing the terrorist attacks in Russia for 2010. Even though the presented image file is in Russian, the translation is simple: red lines and numbers mean "people killed," orange - mean "injured," black - mean "attacks." Click on the image to view the full version:
"Year of Blood and Tears" Will Be Brought to Russia. "The Schedule Is Under the Discretion of Allah."
Doku Umarov, the leader of Chechen "militants" and "freedom-fighters" also known as terrorists and islamist loonies made a video statement. In his address, he said that unless Russia lets the entire Caucasus region break free, he will "act as an agent of Allah and will execute terroristic acts across Russia weekly or monthly; the schedule is under the discretion of Allah." He added that his "fighter Seyfullah" was sent into the depth of Russia.
For the purposes of historic reference: most of the Northern Caucasus were incorporated into the Russian Empire in the late 18th century (before most of American states became... you got it, the United States of America). The history books say that "the Turks and Persians invaded [Georgia] in 1785 and in 1795, completely devastating Tbilisi and massacring its inhabitants. On December 22, 1800, Tsar Paul I of Russia, at the request of the Georgian King George XII, signed the proclamation on the incorporation of Georgia within the Russian Empire." The first Russian posts were established in Chechnya in 1577, even before the majority of the population there decided to convert to Sunni Islam. To make the example even more simple - a few decades after Columbus reached America, Russians were the only civilized nation present on the territory known today as Chechnya.
Now, imagine the great state of Texas, filled with a few (just imagine) radical islamists decided to "break away" from the U.S. and promised the other 49 states terrorist attacks "under the discretion of Allah." What do you do? We hope, the Russian government will tighten up the security in all public places, and common citizens will follow the NY motto "see something, say something." We also hope that all crazy and violent islamists be captured and either killed, imprisoned, or sent to mental institutions where they can learn about and accept a real religion of their choice, whether it is Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism or any other.
In court papers filed Wednesday, his lawyers said the U.S. Attorney General determined that Mr. Muse should be held under so-called "special administrative measures" in January 2010 after a probe into whether he had instructed pirate crew members to kill another boat captain. The government determined two phone calls by Mr. Muse while in custody corroborated the threat, his lawyers said in court papers. "The two prison calls identified by the government do not provide proof of any such threat," his lawyers said. "We believe the government has misinterpreted these calls. We do acknowledge, however, that Abduwali discussed piracy matters over the phone."
As a Russian citizen and as an American taxpayer, I have hard times understanding why I am paying for a pirate's legal defense. Usually, I have to pay for my own travel expenses to come to the States, and have to get a lawyer for speeding violations or immigration matters. Housing and food aren't free either.
Seems like Russia contributes more to the cause of freedom and world security by letting the pirates go... Then blowing up their boats from the distance. Russia was not a sea empire in earlier centuries, and only recently started dealing with pirates on a large scale. Maybe that's why Russian Navy--in absence of clear law--relies on common sense. Godspeed, sailors!
Putin's Empty Threats, Obama's Quiet Confidence: Moscow Attacks Show the Limits of Toughness
In light of today's attack in Russia's North Caucuses that left four people killed and six severely injured, Russian and American experts and general public alike are wondering: do the tough rhetoric and willingness to "destroy terrorists" really work?
Putin's Empty Threats, Obama's Quiet Confidence: Moscow Attacks Show the Limits of Toughness -- By Alexander Nazaryan
Two things happened after a terrorist attack: We bury the dead and, among the living, designate someone to blame. Otherwise, the attack remains a monstrous question. With fault comes closure.
So it is in Moscow, where some 35 were killed at an attack on Domodedovo Airport. "What occurred shows that there were violations in providing security," said Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the wake of the attack, which has the hallmarks of Islamic militants from Russia's breakaway republic of Chechnya. "We must hold responsible those who have ties to the company that makes decisions, the management of the airport."
Islamist Terror at Moscow Airport. Unprecedented Explosion Outside Airport's Security Zone Is New International Threat.
The image of this crying boy at the Domodedovo airport chapel during a special service held immediately after the attack says it all, almost... What it doesn't say is the fact that the uneducated, immoral, and stupid Islamist terrorists aren't that stupid after all. They finally figured it out - a crazy jihadi does not need to attempt breaching an airport security. He can walk up or drive up to the arrivals or departures of any airport in the world, say his/her last praise to Allah, and detonate the explosives. This is real news. TSA does not matter. Neither do the police, FBI or anybody who could logically ensure the travelers' security.The follow-up questions are: what airport is next? Seattle? Nashville? La Guardia? JFK? Heathrow? Atlanta? What nation or passenger can feel safe now? What can the Western governments do to protect their citizens? Screen every single car and train 100 yards away from the airport? 200 yards? A mile? Ten miles? One hundred kilometers??
Today, in Moscow Domodedovo airport, 35 people were killed and 160 injured. First witnesses who talked to reporters and police had pieces of fresh human flesh hanging from their hair and coats. If that is the vision of a global Islamic world - thank you--Christian, Hindu, or Jewish--we're fine as is. Here are the stories from CNN and the WSJ.
Russia Blog joins millions of people around the world in expressing our deepest sympathies to the victims and their friends and families.
Is Moscow Losing the War on Terror in the Caucasus?
A Chechen terrorist in the woods (photo taken in summer 2009)
The question of whether Moscow is losing the war on terror in the Caucasus appears to have been prompted by the rising number of acts of terrorism and the number of fatalities in these acts in the North Caucasus republics, especially in Dagestan and, recently, in Kabardino-Balkaria. Some of these acts, like the recent suicide attack by three jihadists on the Chechen Parliament, were quite spectacular.
The short answer to the above question is that Moscow cannot lose the war on terror in the North Caucasus because that war simply cannot be won by the opposing side. In Chechnya, the mujahedin, the separatists, the Islamists, or whatever else you might call them, once did win a war against the federal center, and what happened? The separatists could not build a proper state and were only able to exist a few short years as a bandit republic, an assemblage of warlords with their private, clan-based armies engaged in various criminal activities such as hostage-taking, slave-trading, production of counterfeit money, and so on. They were aided and abetted by radical Islamists in other Muslim countries and those forces that viewed instability in the Caucasus as a lever to keep Russia in its place, and still they failed.
Chechen Terrorist Trained and Studied in Pakistan, Received Money from Jordan
Russian Special Forces in a gunfight with Mr. Abdullah and his friends
Today, in Dagestan--that neighbors with Chechnya--one of the masterminds of the Moscow subway attacks Mr. Vagabov was killed together with his gang. The intelligence found out some very interesting facts about Mr. Vagabov, who was self-renamed and crazy-islamic-jihadists-blessed as Amir Abdullah. Mr. Amir Abdullah received his college education in Karachi, and proceeded to training in terrorists camps in Pakistan. When a Jordanian Doctor Muhammad was killed in 2009, Amir Abdullah married the widow, former Mrs. Muhammad. Upon becoming Mrs. Abdullah, the lady provided access to infinite Jordanian money, and then--in search of a better afterlife--blew herself up at one of the subway stops in Moscow.
Amir Abdullah was not necessarily looking forward to that same afterlife, as he and his gang offered a very strong resistance to Russian Special Forces. Russian SWAT team helped Mr. Abdullah reunite with his wife by killing the entire team of jihadists. Another suicide bomber of the Moscow attacks, 17-year-old Djennet Abdurahmanova, has joined her husband Umalat Magomedov--one of the Dagestan's Islamic terrorist leaders--who was killed by Russian forces in December 2009. Two aforementioned ladies detonated themselves, killing 40 and injuring 160 civilians in two Moscow subway stations during a rush hour on March 29, 2010. Russia Blog congratulates Russian Special Forces with the successful operation and wishes them luck in safety in their future raids against the terrorists.
Djennet Abdurahmanova and her husband Umalat Magomedov. Umalat was killed by Russian forces in December 2009, Djennet--17 years old--blew herself up in March 2010.
First time in Russian history, terrorists managed to successfully attack an important piece of infrastructure. In the middle of the night, the terrorists shot and killed two police officers, taped two power plant workers to chairs, tortured them, found out where the generators were, and planted the bombs at a power plant in Kabardino-Balkaria. The first generator (that had been working since its construction in 1938) exploded at 5:20 am local time. The second generator (remodeled in 1962) exploded 20 minutes later. The third bomb did not work. The fire, amplified by the oil, was put out only by 8 am. FSB detached the third bomb and blew it up in a local forest.
The reports about the amount of power plant's security vary; power plant workers say there were only two police officers guarding the entire power plant at night, while Russian electric corporation Rusgidro says that there are many layers of security. Regardless, the terrorists' timing was perfect, as the day-time shift includes dozens of security and employees, who start their work at 8 am. However--overall--the terrorist act was unsuccessful, as the power plant did not suffer significant damages, and the electric supplies in the region were not interrupted. The Caucuses' Muslim terrorists claimed responsibility for the 2009 hydroelectric plant explosion in Siberia, but the official investigation proved that Islamic extremists were bluffing and had nothing to do with the explosion. This time they clearly did.
The region is heavily populated by Christians and Muslims, ethnic Russians, Chechens, and other Caucasian nations ("Caucasian" in Russian means a person from the Caucasus, rather than a white person, and, in fact, word "Caucasian" often replaces the word "black" in everyday language). Local authorities and Russian federal government are concerned about potential ethnic-based clashes. No matter how upsetting Islamic jihad is to all of us, blowing up innocent people is definitely not a rational response. Russia Blog extends condolences to the affected families.
FSB Finds Way around Russia's Ban on Capital Punishment When Dealing with Terrorism
One of the suicide bombers (with her boyfriend in this picture) was only 17 when she detonated herself during the terrorist attack that took 40 lives in Moscow Metro in March.
This one is going to make Americans jealous. Members of a gang who sent two "black widow" suicide bombers into the Moscow Metro have been killed by secret agents, the head of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said yesterday, reports UK's Times. One of those killed by the FSB had escorted the women suicide bombers to Moscow from the North Caucasus region of Russia and another had led the women to the underground network on the day of the attacks, Mr. Bortnikov, the FSB chief said. Three people believed to have organized the terror attack were killed after refusing to surrender he told President Medvedev. "To our great regret, we did not manage to seize them alive. They offered bitter armed resistance and were destroyed," he added. President Medvedev said that "there was nothing to be sorry about."
"I wonder how many pieces they were sliced & diced into..." asked us one of our readers. Regardless of the amount of slicing and dicing, the way Russia's FSB avoided dealing with legalities of a lifetime sentence versus a death penalty was truly remarkable. European laws and human rights organizations pressed Russian government to issue moratorium on capital punishment in 1996. On November 19, 2009, the Constitutional Court of Russia extended the national moratorium "until the ratification of 6th Protocol to the European Convention of Human Rights," of which Russia is already a signatory, effectively banning capital punishment during peacetime. We sincerely hope that terrorists continue their "bitter armed resistance" when detained by FSB, FBI, or CIA agents.
Russian Special Forces Attack Pirates, Free Sailors; Russians Ready to Declare War against Somalia
Russian vessel "Moscow University" was hijacked by pirates and 24 hours later freed by Russian navy.
A Russian warship hunted down an oil tanker hijacked by Somali pirates and special forces rappelled on board Thursday, surprising the outlaws, who surrendered after a 22-minute gunbattle. Twenty-three Russian sailors were freed, reports MSNBC. The dramatic Indian Ocean rescue came a day after pirates seized the tanker, which was heading toward China carrying $50 million worth of crude. One pirate was killed and 10 others were arrested, officials said.
The Russian destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov had rushed to the scene following Wednesday's seizure of the Liberian-flagged tanker, Moscow University. Special forces troops rappelled down to the tanker from a helicopter, Rear Adm. Jan Thornqvist, the EU Naval Force commander, told an Associated Press reporter. "The operation's success was due to the surprise factor, said a Russian military officer aboard the warship. "The pirates were taken by surprise. They did not expect such resolute measures from us," Capt. Ildar Akhmerov told RIA Novosti news agency.
The pirates were to be taken to Moscow to face criminal charges. Russia Blog does not envy the pirates fate in Russian prisons, assuming they survive the "relocation." President Medvedev hinted that hard times are awaiting them. "Perhaps we should get back to the idea of establishing an international court and other legal tools" to prosecute pirates, he said. "Until then, we'll have to do what our forefathers did when they met the pirates."
Injured passengers receiving medical help after a blast in Moscow subway
Apparently, Allah allows jihadists to disguise as infidels if the goal is to kill those very same infidels (you and me, dear reader). Well, that makes sense. Moscow has been one of the safest cities for years. Moscow's public--just like their counterparts in New York--tends to notice an unattended bag or a person who may present a potential threat. Moscow subway stations and trains have cameras, police, dogs, young military conscripts, emergency call stations, no garbage cans, and very careful passengers, weathered by a decade of terrorism. A jihadi-looking female cannot walk 20 yards without being spotted in Moscow. Which brings me to a question: May be those two poor jihadi girls simply wanted to wear Ralph Lauren? And killing 38 people (including themselves) was the only way they could have done it according to their religion? Unless the answer is "yes," today's Moscow attacks do not make sense (to a civilized person). Bitter women tend to find other avenues to reveal their grief or frustration than literal self-explosion. And if you spent a hard-praying life of hating the Western culture, than why part with your body leaving it dressed in those hated infidel clothes?
Reading Mein Kampf over a cup of evening tea, and killing Jews in the mornings is not all right, not since 1945. Will we see the day when reading certain literature and killing innocent people while inspired by such readings will become not all right either? Obama condemned the attacks. Putin promised to "destroy" the responsible. But where is the outcry of Muslim leaders? After all, is it OK to kill innocent people?
To put things in perspective, Chechnya's 1990-s' "war for independence" sponsored with the Arab money and fought by Islamic terrorists would be comparable to the one of Texas against the U.S., sponsored by Mexican drug lords. Absurd. Chechnya is one of Russia's 83 states. The war ended years ago, after Chechen "freedom fighters" mowed down 300 innocent school children with machine guns and grenades in a neighboring state. Since then, Chechnya got an international airport, designers' boutiques, and, in fact, the Russian federal government even allowed the predominantly Muslim state to impose its own laws mandating women to wear head scarves and burkas at public educational institutions. How much is enough? Why Moscow? Why now? The only way a civilized person can explain the attacks is that while jihadi men want to meet 72 virgins in heaven, jihadi women apparently dream of wearing Ralph Lauren. Beauty calls for sacrifice.
Moscow's Mayor Yuri Luzhkov: Unsung Hero of the Subway Attacks?
A helicopter lands in the streets of Moscow, minutes after the blast
Moscow's Mayor Yuri Luzhkov is an establishment politician whom some regard as corrupt. His wife Elena Baturina owns a large construction company in Moscow and sits on the Forbes list of the world's wealthiest people. Regardless, Mayor Luzhkov still got the edge.
Just think: In what other major city--let alone one with 15 million people--would it be possible in just 30 minutes to close down the entire downtown to traffic in the middle of morning rush hour to allow safe landing of medical helicopters in the streets? And, while doing it, avoid gridlock of the surface transportation of public and private vehicles? Partially evacuate an underground transportation system that carries 500,000 people at any given moment and is used by some 11 million people daily, and do so without panic or injuries? Continue operations of the entire public transportation system (including the attacked subway), while hosting investigators and the nation's president at the crime scene? Safely reopen the attacked stations the same day, only 9 hours after the attacks, accommodate the 6 PM rush hour after having fully aiding the victims, and all the while collecting intelligence, and reconditioning subway tracks and walls?
In Washington D.C., even a scheduled maintenance of a metro system dozens of times smaller than Moscow's takes an entire weekend. Seattle has been deciding for the past two decades to whether take down a viaduct that's falling apart, or let it fall on the citizens' heads on its own. A small fire at a Nashville movie theater paralyzes the shopping mall and traffic for hours...
Mayor Luzhkov, you may be not the best person in Moscow, but we still love you.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, left, listens to Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko as he visits the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power plant in southern Siberia on Friday, Aug. 21, 2009. (AP/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin) Watch BBC video on the power plant explosion
Chechen terrorists have claimed responsibility for blowing up the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydroelectric Power Plant, Russia's largest, and for the blast at a police station in Nazran. A group calling itself Riyadhus Salihiyn has announced its plans for stepping up "economic warfare" against Russia, the terrorists' priority targets being oil and gas pipelines, power plants, and major industrial enterprises. If in the case of the Siberian electric power plant Russian officials are shrugging off these allegations as "idiotic," the Nazran terrorist act, as well as the now almost daily terrorist attacks in Ingushetia, Dagestan, and in what seemed like a pacified Chechnya suggest that the North Caucasus situation is rapidly reaching boiling point, threatening to get out of state control.
The "Afghanization" of the Caucasus has both internal and external causes. Unemployment, corruption, blood feuds, criminal standoffs, and struggle between various local clans provide a fertile breeding ground for terrorism. All that is true, yet without serious financing and supply of weapons from abroad the scope of terrorist acts could hardly have been quite so great. That the Islamist gunmen have the backing of certain foreign agencies is not to be doubted, but to blame this on the United States, the UK and Israel, as Ingushetia President Yunusbek Yevkurov has done, is fairly short-sighted, to say the least.
Site of a downtown police precinct in Nazran, Ingushetia, where a suicide bomber detonated a truck with over 2,000 pounds of explosives at 9 am on Monday, August 17 2009.
Monday August 17, two days before the explosions in Baghdad, a suicide bomber drove a truck loaded with a ton of explosives into a local police station in Ingushetia, killing at least 25 people and injuring over 136 civilians, including women and children.
Ingushetia and Chechnya are Russian territories in the country's south-eastern corner. Their status is comparable to the one of an American state within the U.S. The heads of the Russian "states" are traditionally called governors, mayors, heads, and presidents. Many westerners make a mistake thinking, for example, that the President of Chechnya heads his own country. Since the war in Chechnya ended, terrorists had been laying low until half a year ago. Surprisingly, only the murders of human rights activists find their way into Western news reports. However, the list of terrorist activities over the past few months has been full with murders of local judges, heads of villages and towns, armed attacks against police, and kidnappings. These events have been completely ignored by Western mass media.
The pro-Israeli Debka file is reporting the disturbing assertion that the Russian intelligence agency, FSB, was instrumental in rolling up an Israeli spy ring within the Hezbollah-controlled regions of Lebanon.
If the Debka story is not true, Moscow should shed some light on the claims. Hezbollah is a terrorist group that is consistently at odds with the more peaceable elements in Lebanon. Syria is supportive of Hezbollah and Russia may be eager to retain ties with the Assad regime. But to this extent?
Visit the extended post to read the Debka report in full:
While Washington D.C. is buzzing about today's Inauguration of President Barack Obama, on the other side of the world, the Taliban apparently haven't gotten the message of "hope and change". The Taliban are seizing territory in Pakistan, threatening the vital overland supply line for the U.S. and NATO mission in Afghanistan. Taliban fighters have burned trucks carrying supplies up the mountain highway through the fabled Kyhber Pass, and in the last few days they have stepped up their offensive in the Swat Valley, only a hundred miles from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. The Taliban are burning schools for the crime of teaching little girls how to read, as well as to demonstrate the powerlessness of the Pakistani Army and security services, who reportedly refuse to patrol at night.
If Pakistan cannot secure a valley near its own capital, it is not even remotely capable of taking on the Taliban in their Pashtun strongholds near the mountanous Afghan border. In 2008 the U.S. responded to the Pakistani' government's inability or unwillingness to fight the Taliban by stepping up Special Forces and air raids deep into Pakistan. But the cost in terms of civilian lives lost in bombing suspected Taliban hideouts in villages has been high, in terms of lost goodwill among the Afghan people and faltering support for the NATO mission in Afghanistan among America's European allies.
Click on the extended post to read why Russia matters to President Obama's project of saving the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.
Russia Sends More Warships to Indian Ocean Somali Pirates Hold Supertanker Hostage
Pirates based in lawless regions of Somalia have become increasingly brazen in their attacks on merchant ships in the Indian Ocean.
The Russian Navy announced yesterday that it is sending another warship to the Indian Ocean to protect surface shipping from pirates. The Russian frigate is being dispatched after pirate gangs based in Somalia seized a supertanker near the Horn of Africa. The Sirius Star, a Saudi-flagged supertanker carrying two million barrels of crude, was seized this week by pirates operating nearly 500 miles off the coast of eastern Africa.
The Star is one of the largest vessels of its kind in the world, roughly the size of a U.S. aircraft carrier, and is manned by a 25-man multinational crew. Somali pirates are demanding millions in ransom money to release the ship and its crew. Unless their demands are met within ten days, the pirates have threatened to harm the crewmembers and hinted at causing a catastrophic oil spill. The Somali pirates are employing not only the traditional cigarette speedboats to attack merchantmen close to the coast, but also "mother ships", GPS devices and satellite phones that can extend their reach hundreds of miles offshore.
VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia - RIA Novosti reports that as many as 11 people were killed and 43 were injured on Thursday in an explosion at a bus stop in the center of the capital of Russia's North Caucasus republic of North Ossetia. The chief doctor at the hospital treating the wounded said most of the casualties were students aged 17 or 18.
Police reports put the death toll at 11, while the republic's Health Ministry said 10 people died. A police source said the blast was probably caused by an explosive device set off outside a public minibus as passengers got off. The North Ossetian president's press service said a suicide bomber could have detonated the device, which was equivalent to 300-500 grams (0.7-1.1 lbs) of TNT and stuffed with shrapnel to increase the killing power.
Russian Plane Hijackers: Drunks in Need of Attention
Russia has witnessed a lot of terrorist attacks in the past, including bombings of passenger airliners. These tragic events have led to very tight security measures and low passenger tolerance towards potential hijackers.
In the last 10 days, Russian airlines witnessed two new "attacks." The first one happened on October 15, when a passenger on a Turkish Airlines A320, travelling from Antalya to St. Petersburg, passed a note to the pilots demanding to land the aircraft in Strasburg. Otherwise, he threatened to detonate explosives and take down the airplane with all of the passengers. When the "hijacker" tried to approach the pilots' cabin, he was tackled and beaten by the passengers. The plane landed, as originally planned, in St. Petersburg. The investigators found no explosives on the now thoroughly beaten hijacker. He was a leader of a non-existent self-proclaimed political party who simply wanted to "gain the media attention." He gained more than that; little attention, but plenty of injuries and jail time.
Today, on October 24, one of the passengers on a Russian Sky Express Boeing 737, travelling from the resort city of Sochi to Moscow, passed a note to the pilots. He wanted to go to Vienna, or else... the usual threats. The pilots landed the plane in Moscow where the FSB, ambulances, police, and counter-terrorist SWAT teams were ready to storm the plane. The "terrorist" happened to be a drunken passenger who had been recently released from a mental institution. In 2002, Oleg Vasyanovich, the self-proclaimed "terrorist," killed his own mother. The court found him mentally ill and sentenced him to mandatory psychiatric treatment. Mr. Vasyanovich was released on Friday from the psychiatric institution where he was undergoing therapy. He immediately bought a plane ticket, got drunk, and decided to become a terrorist. It is unclear at this moment whether Mr. Vasyanovich will have to return to the mental institution, or if he will face up to eight years in prison.
Olmert Meets with Medvedev; Israel Presses Russia on Arms Sales to Iran
Israeli Prime-Minister Ehud Olmert and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow (Photo by Itar-Tass)
The sale of S-300 surface to air missiles by Russia to Iran has not been confirmed either by Moscow or Teheran. However, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert urged Russia against selling weapons to Iran in his meetings with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday and Tuesday. The best version of the S-300 system, known by NATO as the SA-20, can track 100 targets and fire on planes 120 kilometers away. Hours before Olmert's arrival, Rosoboronexport, the Russian arms export agency, said that it had no information on Russian plans to deliver the SAM system to either Iran or Syria, reported Russia's Interfax news agency.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said: "Iran's defensive might is based on our indigenous capabilities, and whatever action that helps with expanding and strengthening our military and defensive might, we'll look into that. We have good defense cooperation with the Russians. One example would be anti-aircraft systems. We have had good cooperation and we continue to cooperate with them."
Terrorists Attack Southern Russia On Russian Independence Day
Terrorists set houses on fire, and killed and kidnapped civilians in the small Chechen town of Benoy-Vedeno. The attack may have been coordinated with other terrorist acts in the Caucuses.
June 12 was Russia's Independence Day. Generally, Russians do not quite understand why this holiday celebrates "independence," and who exactly the Russians gained their independence from in June 1990. However, this year the evening of and the morning after the holiday were marked by explosions, shootings, killings, house burnings, and kidnappings that occurred in Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia, all during the same 12 hours.
First, the Russian Republic of Dagestan saw a powerful explosion at 5:40 am. The bomb was detonated in downtown Makhachkala, just 150 meters (450 feet) from the city administration building. One 48-year-old jogger was severely injured in the blast, and died on the way to the hospital.
A few hours later, a grocery store in Nazran (Ingushetia) suffered a powerful explosion that killed four people, including a 14-year-old girl. Local authorities said that the explosion was caused by household gas. Whether this is true or not, the cruel murders, kidnappings and house-burnings that took place in Chechen town of Benoy-Vedeno were clearly caused by Islamic terrorists.
Kids walking home from school in Gudermes, Chechnya (Photo by the New York Times)
Many positive political and economic developments are taking place in Moscow. Russia Blog has noticed that many of these events have been ignored since the election of the new Russian President, Dimitry Medvedev. The doom-and-gloom scenario predicted by many Washington think-tanks did not take place, and many scholars and journalists hostile to Russia ran out of negative steam relatively fast.
Serious news reporting about the war-torn Caucasus region of Chechnya has disappeared from the Western media coverage as well. Chechnya and its capital city of Grozny are in far better shape today than they were just three years ago. Nearly half a million Chechen refugees have returned to their homes and nearly 100,000 private businesses have been started in the recovering region. However, terrorism remains a problem, and minor attacks on Chechen and Russian security forces still take place on a weekly basis.
For more detailed reporting and analysis of the terrorist attacks happening in the region, please visit the website of the Russia-Eurasia Daily Watch.
A Russia Today TV news clip about the apparent terrorist attack
Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) confirmed today that a 4.5 pound bomb exploded on an express train between Moscow and St. Petersburg last night. The explosion happened at 10:43 p.m. local time while the train was travelling through the Novgorod region approximately 310 miles north of Moscow. The blast was powerful enough to derail twelve passengers cars and one locomotive. At least sixty people were seriously injured as a result of the attack.
Russian prosecutors believe that at least one of the suspects may have been captured on video surveillance footage. After diverting more than fifty trains following the attack, Russian Railways repaired the damaged section of track today and resumed regular train service between Moscow and St. Petersburg this evening.
Click on the links to the BBC and RIA Novosti to read more updates on this story.
The Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), the North African branch of Al-Qaeda, has claimed credit for a roadside bomb attack that killed a Russian engineer last Saturday.
"Mujahedeen (Islamic warriors) using a high intensity bomb targeted the convoy of Russian infidels working for the Russian company Stroytransgaz," according to the statement signed by the Al-Qaeda Organization in the Maghreb..."We dedicate this modest conquest to our Muslim brothers in Chechnya ... victims of the criminal (Russian President Vladimir) Putin."
Three Algerians who were in the same minibus with the foreigners also died in the bombing, and four Britons, a Canadian, and two Lebanese nationals were wounded. This is the first successful attack on foreign workers in Algeria since December.
While there has been a lot of talk lately about a new Cold War brewing between the U.S. and Russia, it is important to remember who is the real enemy of the civilized world - the international jihadist movement. In the last decade, Russian citizens have frequently been targeted by jihadists, but today Chechnya is more stable than it has been at any time since 1994. The successful counterinsurgency in Chechnya should give Americans hope that terrorists can be defeated, and that populations taken hostage by terrorism can eventually be turned against their captors.
German police have told the Berliner Zeitung this week that they are looking into the possibility that radiation poisoning victim Alexander Litvinenko and his associate Dimitry Kovtun were involved in smuggling polonium out of Russia. According to RIA Novosti, one German police source told the Berliner Zeitung that the polonium 210 shipment that killed Litvinenko could have been valued at $25 million. German detectives have found traces of polonium in Dimitry Kovtun's apartment in Hamburg, and Russian investigators are treating him as a potential witness in the murder case.
Mr. Kovtun, a former member of the FSB who now works as a businessman, has denied any involvement in the poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko. Andrei Lugovoy, who worked as a bodyguard for Boris Berezovsky in the late 1990s, has also proclaimed his innocence. Both men met with Alexander Litvinenko on November 1, a few hours before the ex-FSB agent became violently ill with radiation poisoning. Both have now undergone medical examinations to determine if they were irradiated, with the results likely to be returned by Friday. For investigators, determining Lugovoy and Kovtun's radiation exposure levels could prove to be very important in assembling their case.
Special Report by The Real Russia Project of Discovery Institute
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the U.S. media's overarching, if unspoken, perception of Russia and Eastern Europe is that this region doesn't matter much any more. Though some still see Russia as a dangerous enemy, most mainstream media appear to have lost interest in what happens there, except for occasional sensational events. As a result, there is inadequate awareness in America of the fascinating cultural, political and economic developments taking place in today's Russia.
Relying on old Cold War stereotypes ignores centuries of Russia's history and shows a lack of curiosity about its future. Such indifference is not in the interest of America or its citizens, and it threatens to shut down imagination about potential cooperative relations with Russia and her neighbors. The Real Russia Project aims to focus on the emerging new Russia with accurate and fair reporting and analysis--without fear or favor.
Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami - "reformist" or figurehead?
Many gifted writers and people who were close enough to smell the ashes have written retrospectives this weekend about today's anniversary. Many commentators have asked what our country has learned, if anything, from the last five years of war with Islamic fascists.
In terms of the West's will to win the struggle and the question of whether we actually believe in our stated values, I could only think of the stark contrast between Alexaksandr Solzhenytsin's commencement address in 1978 and this week's speech by former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami at Harvard. The contrast between the two messages is that between wounds from a friend and kisses from an enemy.
Today is the second anniversary of the bloody end to the siege of school number one in the North Ossetian town of Beslan. The website PravdaBeslana ("Beslan Truth") has posted in its entireity C.J. Chivers' article "The School" from the June 1, 2006 issue of Esquire magazine. I hope Esquire's editors will understand that this is a public service and will allow the whole text to remain freely available on the web.
For anyone still wondering how the terrorists carried out this atrocity or why the response from Russian security forces was agonizingly slow for the hostages held captive for over 48 hours, it is useful reading. I got the same sickening feeling in my stomach when I started to read this piece as I did watching United 93's depiction of the beautiful, uneventful dawn of September 11, 2001.
MOSCOW -- Yesterday a bombing occurred at Cherkizovsky, one of the city's largest open air marketplaces. Ten people are dead and forty injured. A little town within the big city, the Chekizovsky market sells textiles and household items. The majority of business owners leasing space at the market are immigrants from former Soviet republics, mostly people from the Caucuses; and yesterday they were targeted by skinhead terrorists.
This explosion is the first terrorist violence Moscow has suffered in many months. What is most disturbing to Russians and foreigners alike is that the attack was not work of Chechen jihadists or other Islamist terrorists. Instead, the bomb was likely placed by homegrown Slavic fascists, to target Russia's minorities.
Russia Blog has discussed the problem of neo-fascism and racist violence in Russia in several posts (see the Crime section). Last May Day, skinheads proudly marched through the streets of Moscow, chanting anti-Semitic, anti-American and anti-black slogans. Yesterday the skinheads dramatically escalated their war on Russia's minorities from racist attacks on individuals to terrorism against ethnic community landmarks.
Today there were two well-executed terrorist attacks against government officials in Dagestan, a southern province of Russia. Dagestan is Russia's southernmost republic and borders the war-torn province of Chechnya. Although Chechnya is more peaceful than at any time since 1994, a few separatists still want to shatter the fragile peace in the region. Terrorist gunmen ambushed two state officials and their bodyguards in two separate roadside attacks. As a result, the General Prosecutor (prokuror) of the city of Buynaks is dead, the head of the Dagestan's police force was severely injured, and several policemen and innocent civilians were killed.
The first attack began a few minutes after Bitar Bitarov, the general prosecutor for the city of Buynaks, left home for work. Terrorists detonated a roadside bomb near Bitarov's Mercedes 600 sedan and two other cars carrying his bodyguards. After detonating the bomb, terrorists opened fire on the convoy with machine guns. The general prosecutor lost his arm in the explosion and was shot several times. Mr. Bitarov died from his wounds a few hours later in a nearby hospital. Mr. Bitarov's driver and bodyguards were also treated in the emergency room.
Putin Condemns Hezbollah, Supports Israel; Kadyrov Kills More Terrorists
Prince Saud Al-Feisal and President Putin in Moscow
With the world's headlines currently dominated by news from the Israeli-Hezbollah War, it's surprising how few English-language media outlets have noticed the statement President Putin delivered yesterday in Moscow, after his meeting with the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Saud Al-Feisal. Putin said "Russia condemns any attempts to solve any problems through resorting to terrorism...the state of Israel has a right to live in peace and it should exercise it."
While Putin was visiting with the Saudi Minister, Chechen Prime-Minister Ramzan Kadyrov was visiting Russian youth organizations for a political summer session on Lake Seliger (located between Moscow and St Petersburg), where he announced that two more Chechen terrorist commanders have been neutralized; with one killed and another captured. Hozh-Ahmed Dushayev, the "Emir" of Kurchaloevsky Region and his partner were responsible for the most recent terrorist attacks in the now peaceful province of Russia.
Basayev having the remains of his foot surgically removed
CNN is reporting this morning that Shamil Basayev, the terrorist who bragged about planning the Beslan massacre, has been killed by Russian security forces. This victory is far more important to Russians than the killing of Zarqawi was for the Americans in Iraq - this is the equivalent of us nailing Osama Bin Laden.
Russian television showed Patrushev meeting Monday with Putin to tell him about the special operation in Ingushetia -- a republic bordering Chechnya -- in which Basayev was killed in the early morning hours of Monday.
The Russian agents exploded a truck bomb next to several cars in which Basayev and other rebels were riding, according to Interfax, which was quoting Ingush Deputy Prime Minister Bashir Aushev.
"This is retaliation he deserves for killing our children in Beslan, Budennovsk, all the terrorist acts his bandits perpetrated in Moscow and other regions of Russia, including Ingushetia and the Chechen Republic," Patrushev said in an Interfax report.
Law enforcement officials in Ingushetia told Interfax Basayev's body was in pieces but it was identified by his head and by the fact that he had earlier lost a foot.
Twelve other Chechen rebels were killed in the operation, the official said.
A statement on website www.kavkazcenter.com said the Chechen rebel leadership was not making any comment yet, Reuters news agency said.
The U.N. Security Council put Basayev on its official terrorist list last year after Washington classified him as a threat to the United States.
Russia Blog congratulates the Russian security forces for a job well done. We know that Basayev's death is small comfort to the families of his victims, but it is a huge step towards peace and prosperity in the Caucuses and another stinging defeat for the global jihad.
UPDATE1: Russian newspapers are quoting President Bush's comment this afternoon at the G-8 Summit press conference, "If this is the person who planned the murders of the children of Beslan, he got what he deserved."
UPDATE2: U.S. Army National Guard Captain Jason Van Steewyk echoes my thoughts exactly about how, even in death, the AP cannot bring itself to use the t-word for a child killer.
UPDATE3: The latest AP story today uses the word "terrorized" and describes Basayev as a "ruthless warlord". Perhaps I spoke too soon.
Click on the extended post to see Shamil Basayev's legacy - WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
Human Right Group Calls Putin's Order to Kill Terrorists Illegal; Duma Makes It Legal
Russian Spetsnaz squad in action
After Putin's recent order to "find and destroy" the Islamic terrorists who killed Russian embassy workers in Iraq, several human rights organizations like "Memorial" and Committee "Citizenship Cooperation" (Grazhdanskoe Sodeystvie) accused Putin of being authoritarian and ignorant of UN conventions and international law. Yesterday, the Duma ignored this criticism of the president and instead expressed their support for his firm message. By unanimously approving an entire packet of anti-terrorism bills in their most conservative form, the Russian Parliament moved past earlier debates and granted the President new powers and funds to counter international terrorism.
According to one new law, the president can now order Russian spetsnaz or intelligence groups to execute operations in foreign countries. The new law was tempered by a provision mandating that the President needs the Federal Assembly's approval before he can utilize Russian military forces. Anatoly Kulikov, the former chief of MVD (Russian police) and current Member of Parliament, explained that the President, as Commander-in-Chief, did not get any extraordinary powers in the new bill. The purpose of the bill is simply to make Russian citizens feel safer while travelling and working abroad.
Moscow- Mayor Yuri Luzhkov is hosting Saudi prince Salman bin Abdel Asis al Saud in Moscow this week. On Wednesday President Putin personally met with the prince and chose this particular meeting to announce to the world Russia's response to the jihadists who murdered four Russian diplomatic workers last week in Iraq: "find and destroy".
Not many people in the world are aware that since Putin was appointed President in 1999, Russia has revived its tradition of hunting down terrorists abroad. Given the traditional centralization of powers in Russia and the common national goal of revenge, there will be no Russian newspapers posting details about ongoing counterterrorist operations on their front pages, as happens with the New York Times in America. The Russian Duma is also not the U.S. Congress; Putin's order "to kill" has elicited nary a word of dissent.
Last week, four kidnapped Russian embassy workers were murdered by terrorists in Iraq. You can download a video that includes verses about jihad, the beheading of one hostage, and another hostage being shot in the head. You can read media coverage of this sickening act from Reuters, Euronews, BBC and CNN.
RussiaBlog would like to note three facts not widely mentioned in the Western media. First of all, the Russian Foreign Ministry blames the United States and Coalition forces for not providing better security around the embassies in Baghdad. While it is difficult to hold someone legally responsible for atrocities committed by fanatics, the Russian Foreign Ministry does have a point: why was it so easy to kidnap diplomatic workers only 1,000 feet away from their embassy?
Russian Diplomats Have 48 Hours to Live; Chechen Terrorist Commander Killed
The Mujahadeen Shura Council in Iraq logo
To my great surprise, none of the major U.S. networks are reporting at this hour about the four Russian diplomats kidnapped earlier this month in Iraq. Today their kidnappers announced that the diplomats will be executed in 48 hours unless Russia agrees to their demands.
On June 3, 2006, a Chevrolet Tahoe carrying five Russian diplomats was cut off by a mini-van and a sedan just 1,200 feet away from the Russian embassy in Baghdad. The diplomats were shot at by gunmen armed with assault rifles. Vitaliy Titov, one of the diplomats, was severely wounded and died later that day. Four more embassy workers were kidnapped.
Today, some organization calling itself "The Mujahadeen Shura Council in Iraq" announced that "even though Russia didn't participate in the Iraqi invasion, its government was supportive of the Crusader American invasion". Now the "council" wants Russian Federal forces (police and army) to withdraw from Chechnya and free all Muslim prisoners in Russia within 48 hours, otherwise the diplomats will be executed. The leaders of Mujahideen Shura Council added: "But we say to those people that we do jihad against the enemies of Allah and make His Rulings prevail everywhere in the land. For us every Muslim in the world is a brother, and for him, we sacrifice our money and our people if he encounters anything. How can you ask us to forget what the weakened Muslims are encountering from the Russian government and its people?"
Yesterday Chechnya celebrated the 100 days of Ramzan Kadyrov being prime minister of the state. Ramzan Kadyrov is son of assassinated president Akhmad Kadyrov. He is very popular among common Chechens and also is a good friend with the Kremlin. Since Putin managed to get this twenty nine year old Chechen on his side, the violence in Chechnya has dropped almost to zero; Chechnya got its first centralized government in history; many schools, hospitals and bridges destroyed by a decade of war have been rebuilt.
Kadyrov has a genuine 85% approval rating by Chechens, while being fully backed and supported by the Kremlin. One hundred days ago he gave a promise to Chechens that he would leave his position, if the population and the parliament weren't satisfied with his work. Through the day Kadyrov was very busy, and even didn't show up at some of the events celebrating the beginning of operations of a new middle school, new dance club, new hospital, new bridge, new stadium named "Ramzan", etc.
Immediately after hearing Vice President Dick Cheney's negative remarks about Russia, I thought to myself: things just don't connect. Cheney's comments outraged both Russians and Americans alike, especially some people I know well who have spent considerable time in both countries. A good friend of mine who is an American lawyer, and has been doing business (and supporting the GOP) in Russia for nearly twenty years was dumbstruck by the Vice President's remarks.
At the same time, I have been trying to decide what to write about Putin's annual address to the Russian nation. Unfortunately, two long business trips prevented me from spending time on either topic.
So today, when I didn't find any immediate Russian news to report, I decided to simply write about Russia as it is today, in the here and now. Recent events lend themselves to just such an informative and critical overview.
By now I'm sure you have heard about Hamas visiting Moscow, and Russia's demographic crisis, with the country possibly losing 1/3rd of its 140 million people by 2040. There is also the ongoing tragedy of Russian army conscripts being brutalized by their comrades, with some losing body parts and others going AWOL or committing suicide to escape daily torment at the hands of their comrades. Many of the same thugs who torture their fellow soldiers also display their adolescent ultranationalism by joining skinhead groups and killing blacks and gays.
Why Did Russian Intelligence Pass Secrets to Saddam?
By now nearly every major U.S. news outlet and numerous blogs have commented on the Pentagon's release of captured Iraqi documents revealing that Russian intelligence officers were supplying Saddam information on American battle plans before the U.S.-led invasion. Reports of Russian involvement in pre-war Iraq have circulated since 2002, starting with allegations from Israeli and Pentagon sources that Russians helped Saddam hide his weapons of mass destruction in Syria.
RIA Novosti is reporting the Russian Foreign Ministry's vehement denials. The Foreign Ministry suggests that the Americans are just trying to distract their people from the growing Sunni-Shi'a violence in Iraq. It doesn't help the Foreign Ministry's case that the documents appear authentic, consistent with other Iraqi Intelligence Services (IIS) memoranda. It also doesn't help that one Russian retired general took credit in 2003 for teaching the Iraqis how to resist the American invaders the way Red Army fought the Germans during World War II. Retired generals of course, are free to say and do nearly anything they want, and several in the U.S. have harshly criticized the decision to invade Iraq. But perhaps the Foreign Ministry would have more credibility if it acknowledged that several former Russian intelligence officers and ranking military officers were in Iraq just days before the war began.
Moscow Composer Escapes Car Bomb, Novgorod Factory Manager Shot
The Bush Administration, after condemning last week's elections in Belarus as rigged, has declared this week's parliamentary elections in Ukraine to be relatively "free and fair".
Meanwhile, yesterday in Russia, there were two major suspected mob incidents and one police shootout that resulted in several dead terrorists.
Moscow, Russia -- Someone wired the car of Vladislav Kazenin, President of the Russian Union of Composers, with a bomb. However the bomb maker did a poor job of wiring the device to Kazenin's Audi A-6 sedan. When Kazenin and his driver left the Union's building, they found one of the car's windows smashed. They carefully searched the vehicle and found a grenade with wires tied into the seat. They called the police, who dispatched the bomb squad to disarm the device. No one was hurt in the incident.
Novgorod, Russia - At 9:45 pm Moscow time, Vladimir Dugenez, the general manager of a local automobile factory, was shot repeatedly by several gunmen armed with automatic rifles. Mr. Dugenez was wounded in the head, chest, arms and stomach. Mr. Dugenez is being treated at a local medical facility. The attack is likely "business-related" and is typical of Russian organized crime.
Russian Police Kill Terrorist Commander in Dagestan
Hasavyurt, Dagestan (Russian state bordering Chechnya) -- Russian police conducted a successful operation against jihad terrorists holed up inside an abandoned house. There were no casualties reported among the Russian policemen, and they still don't know how many terrorists were killed. The police unit was apparently determined to take no chances, and the house was reduced to rubble. What is known at this hour is that one of the terrorists holed up inside was identified as the so-called "Emir" of Hasavyurt, Samir Pashayev. Russian police are still identifying the rest of the bodies.
Reuters latest headline(March-07-06 12:50 PST) is "Rice, Lavrov expose widening U.S.-Russia rift". The story talks about how the U.S. and Russia are supposedly deeply divided over how to engage the Middle East, because the Kremlin invited Hamas leaders to Moscow and has offered to enrich Iran's uranium in Russian reactors.
Russia's diplomatic moves on Iran and Hamas come amid rising strains over what Washington sees as President Vladimir Putin's increasing grip on power, one that belies his status as chair of July's summit of the Group of Eight industrialized democracies.
On Tuesday, Rice and Lavrov stood stiffly and at one point the Russian had to reassure Rice, a former Soviet specialist, he had not planted a question from a Russian journalist about trade. "You confirm that you did not (plant it), right?" said Rice, who has complained about the erosion of media freedoms under Putin. That sense of suspicion contrasted with the early days of Bush's presidency when Bush said he trusted Putin after looking into his soul.
While it is unfortunate to see Rice and Lavrov sparring in front of the cameras, once you get past the hype to substance, these apparent differences seem trivial. Hamas, as we've reported here at Russia Blog, received nothing but headlines in Moscow, and its representatives were humiliated. The Kremlin repeated the U.S. position that Hamas must renounce terrorism and enter negotiations with Israel. We've also reported at Russia Blog that Iran has consistently rejected Russia's offer to peacefully enrich uranium at facilities open to international inspectors, which is why Lavrov responded to a reporter's question by saying that the proposal had never been formalized.
March 3, Moscow, Russia -- Hamas representatives came to the Russian capital on a commercial flight, and in their first statement they said that they were not going to recognize Israel, and as long as the "occupiers" don't leave their territory there can be no peace talks. If commentators in the West believe that Putin supports this kind of terrorist movement and terror-friendly governments, well, the West is wrong -- Putin canceled his appointment with the Hamas leaders, and instead they will hold talks only with the Russian Foreign Minister, who has already stated several times that negotiating is the only way to solve the problem of Israel and Palestine. The Foreign Minister added that Hamas can't hope for any kind of political and international future without getting serious about ending terrorism against Israel.
On the last day of the Hamas leaders' three days in Moscow, March 5, they will be regular tourists, admiring Russian architecture and the treasures of the Kremlin. The palace exhibitions are visited weekly by thousands of tourists - that's the closest Hamas leaders will get to Putin.
I'm always asked if Putin has relationships or mutual anti-American plans with Iran, Syria and the Palestinians, and I always answer, that if it appears as he does, this is only due only to the chaos in Russia. Russia fights the same war as the Americans and shares vital interests with the U.S.
In the meantime, a Chechen terrorist spokesman said that the "Mujahideen of Palestine are our brothers, and we regret their decision...they will shake hands with the killers of the true Muslims..." It appears that; Hamas has been humiliated and told to "get lost" by Putin, to "get serious" by Russia's Foreign Minister, and the visit outraged their jihadist "brothers" from Chechnya. All in all, not a bad week of work for Putin and the Russian Foreign Ministry.
The Pakistani Army has released information about their commando operation that killed a Chechen terrorist commander on the Afghan-Pakistan border. General Sultan of the Pakistani Army said that they have intelligence about a significant Chechen presence on the border region, which is used as a hide-out by fugitive Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists. During this particular operation 40 jihadists of several different nationalities were killed. The Chechen terrorist's name was Imam; he has been wanted in Russia for some time. He was killed along with his three bodyguards on March 2, 2006.
Israel Embarrasses Putin by Releasing Hamas Video Glorifying Chechen Terrorists
According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel's Foreign Ministry is distributing several documents linking Hamas to the Chechen terrorists. The Hamas brochures include recruiting posters that glorify the "resistance" of Afghanistan, Chechnya, Palestine and other Muslim regions against the "invaders". In a recruiting CD titled "Russian Hell", a Hamas speaker praises the great achievements of the terrorists in Chechnya and urges young Muslims to join the jihad against the Russian police and military forces. Other videos distributed by Hamas show 18 year old Russian soldiers being tortured, beheaded, and crucified. The package released by the Israelis also includes posters of terror kingpins Shamil Basayev and the recently killed Arab jihadist al-Khattab. Basayev has boasted about planning the Beslan school massacre of 350 children, and is still at large.
The Russian FSB has not responded to the evidence yet, but they are investigating the truthfulness of the documents released by the Israelis. In the meantime, RussiaBlog readers are welcome to enjoy the fine artwork of Hamas:
Why Putin Invites Hamas to Moscow and the U.S. Media Ignores Russia's War
February 10, 2006, In Stavropolsky Kray - 100 miles away from Georgia, 200 miles away from Grozny, 16 "Chechen" (probably foreign) terrorists have fought a gun battle for the last 24 hours against Russian police and soldiers. Russian forces have used attack helicopters, tanks, and 300 troops to destroy several buildings in the village and kill 11 of the enemy fighters. Five jihadists, however, escaped from security forces.
One should ask: what about the human rights of ordinary Russian citizens? Well, the Russian army's first mission is to provide security and stability inside Russia (Chechnya is one of the Russia's 89 administrative regions, the equivalent of a U.S. state or territory). It was the inhabitants of Tukui-Mekteb, a town of 3,000 people near the city of Stavropal, who called local police to report huge stockpiles of ammunition and explosives hidden in a nearby house.
Four police officers responded to the citizen's tip. When they showed up to check out the house, they were shot dead by the terrorists with machine guns. Several minutes after this shooting, Russian Spetznaz commandos arrived, only to find that the jihadists had fled with their weapons. The 16 foreign fighters were reportedly part of a terrorist cell recruited by Shamil Basayev and the veteran Arab jihadist Hattab (who was recently killed by FSB forces).
According to RIA Novosti, the Kremlin is not happy with Iranian President Ahmadenijad's position rejecting any peaceful enrichment of uranium outside of Iran's borders. Of course, Iran's foreign minister was later trotted out after Ahmadenijad's belligerent remarks to say that Iran was still open to negotiations, provided that no more sanctions were imposed by the UN Security Council. Without military action, it appears the world is going to have to sleep tight with atomic bombs in the hands of the mullahs who have threatened to kick off nuclear Armageddon with Israel.
Ivanov has done very little to prevent Russian Army officers and NCOs from torturing and murdering the soldiers they are supposed to lead, so telling a few lies to a Western reporter is nothing in comparison.
A village in the Sunjensky Region of Ingushetia was attacked by jihadists last night. Several terrorists dressed in camouflage entered the village of Gagarino and randomly shot people with Kalashnikov assault rifles. Two civilians were killed, and two more were severely wounded. The incident occurred at 7:30 p.m. local time, and no one has been caught or arrested in relation with this attack. Please see the Terrorism section of Russia Blog to read more on the frequent terrorist attacks against ordinary Russians.
Spetnaz troops along with police and army units, supported by attack helicopters tried to kill eight terrorists in Dagestan. The operation became important when one of the terrorists was identified as a "senior jihadist", who had participated in the Beslan massacre. The Kremlin insists that not a single terrorist escaped from the school that day, however the mothers of the dead children have a different opinion. It was important for the Russian government to destroy this terror cell.
However, the operation lasted nearly two days, and while five terrorists were killed and one injured, the "seniority" slipped away. Two Russian soldiers died and seven were wounded. This statistic tells you something about the preparation of young conscripts when fighting veteran Jihadists.
This week Russia agreed to sell $1 billion worth of weapons to Iran. Many American policy experts are trying to understand if this is part of some new Russian foreign policy. They are right to ask - why does Russia sell weapons to an Islamic theocracy that has armed Chechen terrorists and other Jihadists around the world?
Abu Omar Mohammed bin Abdullah al-Saif would've answered that it's because Allah wants Russians to help the extremists with their Jihad. But after a life devoted to murdering civilians and children, Mr. Omar, etc. has been killed during a successful operation conducted by Russian forces. I'll try to answer for him.
I honestly believe that this is no realpolitik or other strategy on the part of Putin's administration. The truth is that no one is in charge to prevent such exports; no one is actually considering what is going to happen to the missiles Russia is selling to Syria and Iran.
If you have 2 minutes of time, and want to expand your horizons, please visit this link, which will take you to the New York Times web page, and then once you are there, click the "Multimedia, Interactive Feature, Day of Terror in Beslan" link. It's an interactive, uploading slide and video show with NYT commentary. To see a "different" opinion of a Jihadis overlord, please read Shamil Basayev's comments on the "successfully carried out operation".
I am grateful to the NYT for calling things with their names, these people are terrorists, not insurgents, or rebels, or whatever, as Russia Blog has previously discussed.
Dagestan, Russia -- in the small Buynaksky region of Dagestan, a local "senior" terrorist Abdula Magomedov was injured and captured, after a successful police operation.
The night before, local police received information that the terrorists were hiding in the small village Girey-Avlak, and to be safe, officers waited for daylight and moved into the village with SWAT teams and court-issued warrants to search the local houses. However, they didn't need the warrants, because as the jihadists spotted the law enforcement agents approaching, they opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles.
Two terrorists managed to run away, another one took his shoes off to climb a nearby mountain faster, but he was shot down (he didn't climb fast enough). The leader was injured, while shooting back at the officers. Now Mr. Magomedov is in the local hospital under tight security, waiting for his trial date to face justice. Police found 20 canisters of explosives, tons of weapons, and other jihadist toys.
Russia Blog has written before about the Chechen War, and quoted Chechen terrorists, to give you a better understanding of what Russia is facing in its southern states. Here's part of a great article today posted on Tech Central Station:
Kavkaz-Center website, harbored and nourished by the European Union, aims to "bring to the world community the truthful information about the war, war crimes, the facts of genocide of the whole nation by the invading state and the position of the defending side -- the Chechen Mujahideen".
From Thursday's New York Times: ''Nalchik, Russia -- Insurgents launched a series of raids today in this southern Russian city, striking the area's main airport and several police and security buildings in large-scale, daytime attacks that left at least 85 people dead.''
From Agence France Presse:
"Nalchik, Russia: More than 60 people were killed as scores of militants launched simultaneous attacks on police and government buildings . . ."
"Militants," you say?
From the Scotsman:
"Rebel forces battled Russian troops for control of a provincial capital in the Caucasus yesterday . . ."
"Rebel forces,'' huh?
From Toronto's Globe & Mail:
"Nalchik, Russia -- Scores of rebels launched simultaneous attacks on police and government buildings . . ."
"Rebels," by the score. But why were they rebelling? What were they insurging over? You had to pick up the Globe & Mail's rival, the Toronto Star, to read exactly the same Associated Press dispatch but with one subtle difference:
''Nalchik, Russia -- Scores of Islamic militants launched simultaneous attacks on police and government buildings . . ."
Ah, "Islamic militants." So that's what the rebels were insurging over. In the geopolitical Hogwart's, Islamic "militants" are the new Voldemort, the enemy whose name it's best never to utter. In fairness to the New York Times, they did use the I-word in paragraph seven. And Agence France Presse got around to mentioning Islam in paragraph 22. And NPR's "All Things Considered" had one of those bland interviews between one of its unperturbable anchorettes and some Russian geopolitical academic type in which they chitchatted through every conceivable aspect of the situation and finally got around to kinda sorta revealing the identity of the perpetrators in the very last word of the geopolitical expert's very last sentence.
Another Islamic terrorist attack rocked southern Russia yesterday. All the major global media outlets are writing about it: FOX News, NY Times, and the Associated Press. However CNN, prefers to post ‘"James Bond a blonde" as their second leading news story for the day. Maybe that’s why terrorism isn’t fought as well as it could be, because James Bond is more important for some news organizations than 100 people getting killed in Russia in one day.
Another comment I’d like to make, at the risk of repeating myself: the terrorists are not "militants", not "rebels" or "insurgents", and many of these people are not even Chechens or Russians! They are Islamic fascists, baby-killers, and mass murderers.
Here is a short quote from ITAR-Tass: “Six of the most gravely wounded were being flown to Moscow, 870 miles to the north, for treatment.” What this means is that there is no decent medical care in Russia, unless you have means and funds to fly 900 miles to the capital of the country. Now imagine that your child has a hard to cure disease, or serious trauma, and you happen to live a few time-zones away from Moscow on $40 a month with no electricity. What are your options? You can’t watch the blonde James Bond – that’s for sure.
And who do you think is fighting the “insurgents”? Of course, poor conscripted Russian soldiers.
Some Beslan families still challenge Kremlin claims
NALCHIK, Russia -- Allegations by witnesses of the Beslan hostage crisis, including claims the militants hid weapons in the school beforehand and that the principle helped them, have been disproved by a new investigation, a top prosecutor has said.
Many citizens believe the militants could have bribed their way through checkpoints into southern Russia. They also believe they were misled by the government, which initially reported fewer people in the school. Critics also complain that the military's response was bungled, resulting in needless deaths.
INGUSHETIA – Tuesday night police vehicles were shot at by Chechen terrorists. As the result, three police officers are dead, one injured; and as always you can find this news only on a few Russian news websites, tucked away between the articles about New Orleans and The New York Times laying off their employees. Somehow Russians are always very global thinkers, paying attention to events abroad, but they don't notice the pain occurring at home. This shooting is just another attack among many other dailyterrorist activities. Imagine if Iraq's terrorist insurgency were operating not on the Syrian but the Mexican border, aiming to conquer Arizona for Allah, and you have some idea of the challenge faced by Russia.
By FRED WEIR - Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
NAZRAN, RUSSIA - Murat Zyazikov, the pro-Kremlin president of the southern Russian republic of Ingushetia, is a hunted man.
Since taking office in 2003, he has narrowly escaped assassination at the hands of a suicide car-bomber and a sniper, allegedly sent by local Islamic militants. In the past month alone, insurgents have bombed the motorcade of his deputy premier and opened fire on his security chief. A year ago, fighters loyal to Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev briefly seized the Ingush capital of Nazran, killing almost 100 police officers and government officials.
Mr. Zyazikov, a former general of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), shrugs all that off. "Things here are calm and peaceful," he told journalists at a meeting in his plush, golden-domed presidential palace. "These attacks against me and my officials are the work of desperate men who want to destabilize the situation in southern Russia. They hate the fact that we are building a worthy life for our people."
As the war in neighboring Chechnya grinds into its seventh year with no resolution in sight, conflicts are metastasizing around the troubled north Caucasus, which has been a zone of tension since it was conquered by Russia in the 19th century. The region is a patchwork quilt of warring ethnic groups and rival religions that makes Europe's other tangled knot, the Balkans, look tame by comparison.
Many experts say the Kremlin's grip, iron-hard in Soviet times, has slipped disastrously in recent years. "The Chechen conflict is spilling into neighboring republics, escalating the process of destabilization," says Alexei Malashenko, an analyst with the Carnegie Center in Moscow.
Zhairakhsky, a sparsely populated district amid the high, snow-capped mountains of southern Ingushetia, has remained relatively untouched by conflict. But, says local administrator Yakhya Mamilov, "if you stand on a mountaintop here and look around, you'll see wars flaring or brewing in every direction. It's impossible to build for the future with any confidence while these conditions last."
Rebel fighters from Chechnya, a few kilometers to the east, often take refuge among their Ingush ethnic kin in Zhairakhsky, locals say.
Further east is the Caspian Sea republic of Dagestan, with 32 constituent ethnic groups, where Islamist rebels stage almost daily bombings and ambushes against Russian security forces.
To the south and west two breakaway republics, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, are locked in long-simmering wars of independence against the post-Soviet state of Georgia. Just next door on another side is traditionally Christian North Ossetia, hereditary enemy of the mainly Muslim Ingush, with whom they fought a savage border war in 1992.
Moscow has tried to maintain its authority by phasing out "unreliable" local leaders, and replacing them with loyalists like Zyazikov. "This tactic is not working," says Alexander Iskanderyan, head of the Center for Caucasian Studies. "Moscow imagines that exchanging 'bad' officials with 'good' ones will change things, but the main trend we see is a steady loss of control."
Passions in Ingushetia and N. Ossetia are still seething over the Beslan school massacre a year ago. On Sept. 1, 2004, a squad of 32 terrorists, most of them ethnic Ingush, drove from Ingushetia and seized 1,200 hostages in Beslan's School No. 1, just across the border in N. Ossetia. Three days later Russian security forces launched a massive assault on the building, leaving 331 people dead, half of them children.
Zyazikov, and other pro-Kremlin officials, blame the outrage on "international terrorism." North Ossetia's acting president, Taimuraz Mamsurov, says the Beslan school siege was a deliberate attempt by "certain forces" to stir up ethnic war between Ingush and Ossetians. "Tensions have increased (since Beslan), that's natural," he says. "But I think we've succeeded in restraining our people from fulfilling that scenario."
Others doubt the danger has passed. "Everyone here is always talking about getting ready for war with the Ingush, to get even with them," says Madina Pedatova, a teacher at Beslan's spanking new School No. 8. "I'm terrified of it, but I'm sure it's coming."
Just across the heavily fortified Ingush-N. Ossetian border thousands of Ingush refugees forced from their homes in N. Ossetia in 1992 live in a sprawling, squalid refugee camp. Here the hatred is palpable. "The Ossetians are like Nazis. They drove us from our homes (in 1992) like cattle, showing no humanity," says Umar Khadziyev, unemployed, who lives in a small hut with his wife and three children.
Mr. Khadziyev says he condemns the Beslan attack, with its terrible death toll of children. But then he adds: "Do you know why the fighters drove past two Ossetian schools before taking School No. 1 in Beslan? It's because the Ossetians used that very school as a prison for our people in 1992. Yes, our women and children were held there, in that same gym, beaten up and denied food and water. Nobody talks about that, do they?"
For Moscow, the spreading unrest, fuelled by Islamic extremists in some republics and ancient ethnic antagonisms in others, poses an almost nightmarish challenge. After Beslan, President Vladimir Putin warned that the cost of failure could be "the destruction of Russia." Says Khadziyev, the Ingush refugee: "Our grandfathers told us the USSR would collapse one day. I'm sure that Russia is going to fall apart too."
Today is one year anniversary of the Beslan Islamofascist atrocity. Mothers of the killed children will spend three days in the gym, just like their children did a year ago before they were murdered.
Tomorrow four women of a group called "Mothers of Beslan" will meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Many Russians believe that the tragedy happened due to the corruption among the border police and incompetent intelligence agencies. It is known that one of the Russian intelligence operatives who was supposed to participate in a few terrorist attacks (which he did to gain the trust of the terrorists), eventually became a double agent for money and made fools out of his superiors.
False leads confused border police about the terrorist activity around Beslan. And police officers in Russia are known for accepting cash bribes in American dollars. As the Chechen bin Laden Shamil Basayev bragged to the media, getting a few truckloads of gunmen and explosives through the checkpoints only cost the terrorists a few thousand dollars. All this has contributed to an enormous tragedy.
Parents of the victims have a very strong suspicion that the Russian government continues to cover up the corruption and complete incompetence surrounding the Beslan rescue operation, blaming the failure to save more kids on the only terrorist left alive and the parents themselves. According to one account of the final bloodbath at the school, the shooting that led the terrorists to set off their bombs and forced the final Spetsnaz assault came from enraged parents with Kalashnikovs, and not the Spetsnaz snipers.
Nonetheless, all this incompetence and corruption cannot obscure the fact that Russia remains at war with an adversary with a bottomless capacity for cruelty.
Parents of the massacred children want answers; hopefully Mr. Putin will have something to tell them about how future horrors like Beslan might be prevented.
The following is an excerpt from the "news article" from the Chechen terrorists' website Kavkaz Center. To appropriately read this material, make sure that you realize that "invaders" and "traitors" are 18 and 20 year old Russian kids drafted into the army, who are probably the sons of single mothers from poor families, doing their duty for their country against their will.
The "police officers from Kadyrov gang" are the Russian police officers. Kadyrov is the elected President of the Republic of Chechnya (the equivalent of the governor of a U.S. state).
17 killed, wounded in Chechnya – AFP
Six Russian invaders were killed and six wounded in a 24 hour period of last Sunday to Monday in Chechnya, an AFP source inside the pro-Moscow puppet administration reported.
During 17 attacks on Russian positions five invaders were killed and five others were wounded.
A sixth soldier was killed in a landmine explosion near the southern town of Shatoi, and a sixth was wounded near Komsomolskoye, south of the capital Jokhar, while taking part in a demining operation.
Additionally, three Chechen so-called "police officers" from Kadyrov gang were wounded in the western town of Achkhoi-Martan during a skirmish with Mujahideen.
Two other traitors were wounded at Gekhi, near Urus-Martan, when Mujahideen attacked during a search operation in the village, Oman newspaper reported referring to AFP agency.
Gateway Pundit has excerpts from the Moscow Times article on the children of Beslan and their testimony against the only surviving member of the terrorist cell caught by Russian forces, Nurpasha Kulayev. If anyone doubts that the Chechen cause of autonomy has been hijacked by bloodthirsty nihilists, let them read these accounts.
The Moscow Times covers the outrage in Russia over a Russian journalist's ABC News interview with Chechen terrorist mastermind Shamil Basayev. Predictably, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists issued a condescending lecture to the Kremlin on freedom of speech, after Russia's Defense Minister declared ABC News persona non grata.
"It reflects the Kremlin's lack of understanding that free speech means tolerating the broadcast of views it finds uncomfortable or even reprehensible," CPJ executive director Ann Cooper said in an e-mailed statement. "It also exposes the Kremlin's failure to comprehend that -- in sharp contrast with Russia -- U.S. television operates independently of government."
Of course, the Kremlin understands that the U.S. government had nothing to do with the Nightline special, as a prominent Russian analyst made clear.
Mikhail Margelov, the chairman of the Federation Council's International Affairs Committee, said U.S. President George W. Bush should not be blamed for the broadcast. "I can say with confidence that no one should judge the position of President Bush's administration based on this interview," he told RIA-Novosti. "After the terrorist attack in Beslan, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said that the inhuman Basayev was not worthy of existence, and I think this exact position is close to that of the U.S. leadership."
Another bombing in Dagestan took place yesterday. Terrorists bombed the police station in Hasavyurt. After the bombing, the entire city was surrounded by a cordon of police and special forces. The terrorists were found trying to escape the city limits. While being chased by police cars, the terrorists opened fire with automatic rifles. The police returned fire. One terrorist was killed, another injured, while one managed to slip away.
One Colonel in the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs was killed. While most of the Western media focus on terrorist attacks in Iraq, Russia fights its own jihadist/criminal insurgency much closer to home, where retreat isn't an option without ceding its own territory to lawlessness.
Everybody knows now about the recent terrorist blasts in London, Baghdad, and now in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. However, few Western media outlets bother to report about the relentless campaign of almost daily terrorist bombings in Russia.
July 24, 2005 at 5:45 am, another train was blown up with 24 pounds of explosives in Dagestan, a southern Russian state bordering the secessionist province of Chechnya. One person died, four more were injured. This bombing didn’t cause as many victims as the others usually do, because it was executed on an early Sunday morning.
Maybe the little village of Bayramaul is not as big as London, and one dead Russian is not 88 dead Egyptians and 52 dead Londoners, but I do not think that these facts should make any difference for a true humanitarian, a civilized person, or simply a caring reporter.
Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov has attacked the Prosecutor General's Office, saying that he "does not understand how after four years of the trial, a lawyer can be saying that the 'not guilty' decision of the second jury has absolutely nothing to do with justice".
When an SUV exiting the village failed to stop at a checkpoint, Russian soldiers opened fire on the vehicle, killing one Chechen and wounding five more. After questioning the wounded Chechens, Captain Ulman contacted his superior, Major Alexei Perevelevsky. The Major then ordered Ulman to kill the Chechens.
Although the slayings were proven in court, Ulman and his men were acquitted of war crimes charges by two tribunals. Ulman and his men have since been promoted and continue to serve in the Army of the Russian Federation.
Chechnya is a former Soviet republic that remains Russian territory. Chechnya's status can be compared to the same as a state in the U.S.A. Chechnya is a Muslim region that started fighting to secede from the Russian Federation after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.