Russia: "Anonymous Bomb" and "Random Scapegoats" of Domodedovo

Global Voices Online
Thursday, January 27, 2011

In the aftermath of the Jan. 24 suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, which killed at least 35 people and left over 100 wounded, some Russophone bloggers are once again discussing the ominous patterns that grow more and more obvious with each new major terror attack in Russia.

LJ user dolboeb posed two questions (RUS) to his readers on Jan. 25: "Who must be held responsible for the terror attack at Domodedovo?" and "Who will be held responsible for the terror attack at Domodedovo?" More than 3,000 people have responded so far, and below are the current results (RUS) of this poll:

Who must be held responsible for the terror attack at Domodedovo?

The airport's managers - 941 (13.2%)

Interior Ministry's bosses - 1,944 (27.4%)

Domodedovo region's authorities - 165 (2.3%)

Police and security service officers who where on duty at the airport at the time of the attack - 1,420 (20.0%)

The country's leaders - 2,086 (29.4%)

Ramzan Kadyrov - 551 (7.8%)


Who will be held responsible for the terror attack at Domodedovo?

Nobody - 784 (26.5%)

Random scapegoats - 2,091 (70.7%)

Everyone who is to blame - 83 (2.8%)

@akazakov linked (RUS) to a blog post by LJ user graf-alter, written right after the Moscow subway blasts of March 29, 2010: - observations made after the subway blasts, nine months ago. Fits today's situation 100%, every single letter of it.

Here is some of what LJ user graf-alter wrote (RUS) back in March 2010:

Explosions in our country have a number of special features [...]:

- Following a terror attack, no one claims responsibility for it, and no demands are being made. Which is very unusual compared to the practice of terror elsewhere in the world. Because we know the names of all sorts of Basque, Palestinian and other terrorist groups due to the well-established phrasing used in the news: "a blast occurred in the city of NN; terrorist group NN has claimed responsibility for it, demanding NN." Here, bombs are anonymous.

- Investigation usually declares certain bandits already killed in the course of a "special operation" as masterminds of the explosion. [...]

- Rarely, investigations of explosions reach trial stage. These trials appear very pathetic and unconvincing. The names of those who ordered [the attack] never surface, and only those who carried it out - not the principal players, though - end up being named. Information revealed during the hearing about the suspects' contacts with the secret services is somehow never of interest to the court. As the hearing proceeds, cases against lawyers who "attempted to bribe the investigators," etc., are being opened. [...]

- Explosions usually occur during periods when the secret services' position weakens or when they are being criticized by the public. Or before the elections.


An old, scratched vinyl record, it's making hissing sounds but continues to play.

A few dozen souls who had nothing to do with this music are off to heaven again.

And here is a post (RUS) written by the same blogger after the Domodedovo Airport blast:

[...] "God, forgive me for my personal daily contribution to the filling made of hatred that this bomb contained."

This is how it should sound in a society of thoughtful, mature people. A utopia, of course. An ideal. [...]

A utopia, indeed.

On Jan. 25, Moscow-based LJ user nataly-kuzmina re-posted a highly disturbing YouTube video that was initially shared on Jan. 22 by LJ user azadovsky (who describes himself as a Moscow-born, Moscow-based "Russian"). The video features a little boy, who is wearing a "Chechnya: Resisting the Russian Invasion" t-shirt (these words are written in Turkish: "Çeçenistan: Rus İşgaline Direniyor") - and is talking to an unseen adult male, saying this (as quoted by nataly-kuzmina), among other things:

Would you like an ice cream or a gun? - A gun!
What do you need a gun for? - To kill Russians!

The blogger concludes:

[...] Is there anyone else here who still wishes to be tolerant? [...]

In another post-Domodedovo bombing entry, she writes:

[...] I don't want to, I'm scared to live in this country. There's nothing to lose here, except life. And it's easy to life here - the state is working hard on it [...].

And here is what LJ user z-abdullaeva - a Moscow-based woman, too, whose "roots" (RUS), however, are in Dagestan, and who grew up in Grozny, Chechnya - wrote right after the news of the Jan. 24 attack began to appear:

35 people [dead]

On blogs, they are talking about 70.

I'm waiting.

I don't feel like reading anything.

Our [folks from the Caucasus] will now turn out [to be responsible for the attack] again.

Suitcase - train station - Canada?

* Mood: pessimistic

And a couple more comments from the same blogger and one of her LJ friends:


Here they're always eager to have us, people from the Caucasus, to bear the collective responsibility...



Tell me, how do they immediately recognize a North Caucasian appearance on a thoroughly blown-up person? He must have left a Quran with Russian translation somewhere nearby, right? And a passport with Grozny registration.

Will have to move stealthily around the city again for a while.


[...] I'd also like to make some noise about this issue, but I know that my fellow countrymen are capable of this. Alas. I don't have any illusions about it...

Shura Burtin writes more (RUS) on the issue of "anonymous bombs" on his blog at the Russkiy Reporter news magazine, explaining that it's now crucial to get "people to start talking, not shooting" at each other:

I had already expressed this seditious idea - that it's necessary to negotiate with rebel fighters. The answer was ["No"]. I feel that this is a completely irresponsible type of morality, and people who talk this way couldn't care less about those who were killed and their families. Moreover, it's nothing but a substitution of notions, because the original meaning of this principle is that the terrorists' demands shouldn't be met - in order not to encourage new acts of terror. But the problem here is that it's been a long time since suicide bombers from the Caucasus demanded anything from us.

We should realize that a civil war has been going on for many years in our country, in the North Caucasus - almost like in Afghanistan or Iraq. And it's not a metaphor. According to the data from open sources, 1,710 people were killed and wounded in armed confrontations in 2010. And these figures have been deliberately understated [...].


The Russian society has to decide what we want: war or peace. If we want peace, then the process of making peace has to begin. And there's only one way to make peace - which is to start making peace. [...] The state has to stop thinking in the "us vs them" terms, it has to recognize this conflict as social insanity that has to be treated. It's important to understand that all parties in this war are Russian citizens. The reason for this war isn't the mythical international terrorism, but our own domestic conflict. This is a tragedy, a mistake, a result of the lack of dialogue and mutual understanding between segments of our society. All parties in this conflict have their own truth - and the task is to help them reach a consensus. [...]

Olga Allenova - LJ user allenova, a special correspondent for the Kommersant daily, author of Chechnya is Close: War Through the Eyes of a Woman (RUS), a collection of the 1999-2007 war reportage from Russia's North Caucasus region - has not yet written anything about the Domodedovo tragedy on her blog. But she returned from a trip to Dagestan on Jan. 21, just a few days before the airport blast, and posted a short entry (RUS) about the oppressive atmosphere there and how the local people are coping with it:

I'm back from Dagestan, feeling as if I was at a war - but didn't get to see the war itself. I saw people who had someone [from the family] killed. Saw machine guns in the hands of plainclothes special forces officers. I was shocked by a story told by my good acquaintance Timur: his friend Magomed's brother, a riot police officer, had been killed, and on the day his brother's body was brought home, Timur's neighbors were also awaiting a body - of the man who had killed Magomed's brother. Timur says he feels that the ring keeps narrowing, and the war is now right outside his house.

But if you are driving around the republic, everything looks quiet. People are selling things at the market, go shopping, get married, have children. Perhaps, this is the meanest type of war, when you don't see the actual threat.

What shocked me most was that people remained human even in such conditions. Hospitable, polite, well-mannered - most of the people I met were like this. Even those not very educated - village police officers, for example - but they were still very friendly.

I asked one - "How do you live here, why aren't you leaving?" (he does have a place to go). He replied: "Sooner or later we'll all die, and it's better [to die] at home while trying to do something [good], rather than somewhere far away, like a vegetable."

There is something to learn from the Dagestanis.

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