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Russian state terror?

Apartment bombs

hmmm...looks familiar

pre-election train bombs

very fishy...

Moscow Theatre Siege

Twin Air crash

Beslan school atrocity

state terror blamed on Chechen rebels???


When, in 1933, the Reichstag is burned, Hitler blames Dutch communists for the blaze (though Nazis themselves started it) and pointedly labels them 'terrorists.' Once he becomes chancellor, Hitler uses the threat of 'terrorism' to justify the suspension of virtually all civil rights, including freedom of the press. With the populace frightened and vulnerable, the Nazis are able to perpetuate the idea that love of country equals love of Hitler, and that to criticize the Fuehrer in such perilous times is ipso facto unpatriotic.

Putin: Prophet or Provocateur? - Islam the enemy in the year 2000

During an April 2000 visit to England, Putin [ex KGB] reiterated his warning:

"The West must wake up... war with Islam is coming."

In light of current U.S.-Russian collaboration in a global "war on terrorism," Putin's words seem nearly prophetic. At a summit meeting with European Union leaders following the Black Tuesday attack, Putin reiterated the theme that Russia and the West share a common enemy.

He drew a specific parallel between that atrocity and the September 1999 bombings in Russia, insisting that Moscow possesses "objective proof" that bin Laden-connected Chechen radicals were responsible for the terrorist assaults. - source

'Terrorism' in Russia

2004: - Sept. 1: More than a dozen attackers carrying guns and reportedly wrapped in suicide-bomb belts seize an elementary school in the Russian region of North Ossetia, taking hundreds of hostages, including some 200 children.

- August 31: Car blows up outside a Moscow subway stop, killing at least 10 people. Federal Security Services blame a female suicide bomber, according to news reports.

- August 24: Two airliners crash within minutes of each other after taking off from the same airport, killing a total of 90 people. Officials say explosive traces were found in the wreckage and President Vladimir Putin calls the crashes terrorist acts.

- May 9: Bomb rips through a stadium in the Chechen capital, Grozny, during a Victory Day ceremony, killing provincial President Akhmad Kadyrov, the Kremlin's point man for efforts to control separatist violence in the war-wracked region. As many as 24 people are killed. A Chechen warlord claims responsibility.

- Feb. 6: Explosion rips through a subway car in the Moscow metro during rush hour, killing 41 people. Authorities suspect a terrorist attack.


-Dec. 9: Female suicide bomber blows herself up outside Moscow's National Hotel, across from the Kremlin and Red Square, killing five bystanders.

- Dec. 5: Suicide bombing on commuter train in southern Russia kills 44 people. Putin condemns attack as bid to destabilize the country two days before parliamentary elections.

- Sept. 16: Two suicide bombers drive a truck laden with explosives into a government security services building near Chechnya, killing three people and injuring 25.

- Aug. 1: Suicide bomber rams truck filled with explosives into a military hospital near Chechnya, killing 50 people, including Russian troops wounded in Chechnya.

- July 10: Russian security agent dies in Moscow while trying to defuse a bomb a woman had tried to carry into a cafe on central Moscow's main street.

- July 5: Double suicide bombing at a Moscow rock concert kills the female attackers and 15 other people.

- June 5: Female suicide attacker detonates bomb near a bus carrying soldiers and civilians to a military airfield in Mozdok, a major staging point for Russian troops in Chechnya, killing at least 16 people.

- May 14: Woman blows up explosives strapped to her waist in crowd of thousands of Muslim pilgrims, killing at least 18 people in an apparent attempt on the life of Chechnya's Moscow-backed chief administrator, Akhmad Kadyrov, now the region's president.

- May 12: Suicide truck-bomb attack kills at least 60 people at a government compound in northern Chechnya.

- April 3: Passenger bus hits remote-controlled land mine in the Chechen capital, killing at least 8.

2002: - Dec. 27: Suicide truck-bomb attack destroys headquarters of Chechnya's Moscow-backed government, killing 72 people.

The war in Chechnya

Here is a summary of attacks outside conventional battle zones in Chechnya since Russia sent in troops in 1994 to crush a post-Communist drive for independence.

June 1995 - Chechen rebels seize hundreds of hostages in a hospital in the southern Russian town of Budennovsk. More than 100 are killed during the rebel assault and a botched Russian commando raid.

Jan 1996 - Chechen fighters take hundreds hostage in a hospital at Kizlyar in Dagestan, then move them by bus to Pervomaiskoye on the Chechen border. Most rebels escape but many hostages are killed after Russian forces attempt a rescue.

Jan 1996 - Hijackers seize the Russian ferry Avrasya sailing from the Turkish Black Sea port of Trabzon. The incident ends peacefully.

Sept 1999 - Bombs destroy apartment blocks in Moscow, Buynaksk and Volgodonsk. More than 200 people are killed. Moscow blames Chechens who in turn blame Russian secret services.

Oct 23-26, 2002 - 129 hostages and 41 Chechen guerrillas are killed when Russian troops storm a Moscow theatre where rebels had taken 700 people captive three days earlier. Most of the hostages are killed by gas used to knock out the Chechens.

July 5, 2003 - Two women suicide bombers kill 15 other people when they blow themselves up at an open-air rock festival at Moscow's Tushino airfield. Sixty are injured.

Aug 1, 2003 - A suicide bomber driving a truck packed with explosives blows up a military hospital at Mozdok in North Ossetia bordering Chechnya. The blast kills at least 50.

Dec 5, 2003 - An explosion tears through a morning commuter train just outside Yessentuki station in Russia's southern fringe. Forty-six people are killed and 160 injured.

Dec 9, 2003 - A suicide bomber kills five other people near the Kremlin. At least 13 people are wounded.

Feb 6, 2004 - A suicide bombing kills at least 39 people and wounds more than 100 on an underground train in Moscow.

June 22, 2004 - Rebels seize an interior ministry building in Ingushetia, near Chechnya, and attack other points in lightning attacks. At least 92 people are killed including the acting regional interior minister, Abukar Kostoyev.

Aug 24, 2004 - Two Russian passenger planes are blown up almost simultaneously, killing 90 people. One Tu-134, flying to Volgograd, goes down south of Moscow. Moments later a Tu-154 bound for Sochi crashes near Rostov-on-Don.

Aug 31, 2004 - A suicide bomb attack in central Moscow kills 10 people and injures 51.

Sept 1-3, 2004 - 331 hostages - half of them children - died in a chaotic storming of School No.1 in Beslan, after it was seized by rebels demanding Chechen independence.

Sept 17, 2004 - Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev claims responsibility for the Beslan siege.

March 8, 2005 - Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov is killed by Russian troops in a village just north of Grozny.

May 29, 2005 - Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev says his rebels attacked an electricity substation, triggering a major outage in Moscow on May 25 which left 2 million people without power. He said that militants under his control also burned down the Stanislavsky Theatre in Moscow on May 27.

Oct 13, 2005 - Around 150 rebels attack the town of Nalchik, capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria region. Moscow radio said the dead included 20 members of the security forces. At least 40 people have been wounded. - reuters

Kremlin's man wins Chechnya vote, faces battle

The Kremlin's candidate has won Chechnya's presidential election but faces an uphill struggle to subdue a resurgence of a separatist rebellion that has frustrated Russian leaders for a decade.

With nearly 85 percent of votes counted by 0400 GMT on Monday, Alu Alkhanov, 47, handpicked by President Vladimir Putin for the role, won nearly 74 percent of votes in Sunday's polls, more than enough for an outright victory.

But the career policeman Alkhanov faces a battle to garner some of the standing enjoyed by his hard-nosed predecessor Akhmad Kadyrov, assassinated in May, and to bring stability to a region where separatists are becoming more audacious in their attacks. source

Russian losses aeronautics.ru

The conflict PBS news special

Russia's conflict in Chechnya is a highly specific and focused affair. Begun almost five centuries ago when the northern Caucasus were on the southern edge of the expanding Russian Empire, it is essentially a war of independence and continues to be one to this day. It involves a former imperialist power and its recalcitrant subject turned republic on its territorial fringes playing out a common historical theme: foreign power vs. suppressed ethnic minority. Chechens remember when Stalin deported them by the hundreds of thousands to Central Asia during WWII because he thought they were Nazi sympathizers.


However, what is now occurring, to Putin's benefit, is the "terrorization" of the battle for Chechnya; the last decade's gory war of attrition has found an increasing number of Chechen guerrillas associated with Middle Eastern and Central Asian militants as the Chechen cause has become increasingly internationalized. The last ten years of fighting reveals a grim trail of executions, rapes, mass graves, destroyed infrastructure, and extensive loss of civilian life. Many of the atrocities are laid at the Russian military's doorstep, and human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have expressed their concern with the behavior of the Russian military in Chechnya. Putin has occasionally been scolded by other leaders for his military's conduct. PINR

Russia's FSB Chief Reports Maskhadov's Death to Putin

08.03.2005 - Nikolai Patrushev, the head of Russia's FSB domestic security service, reported the death of Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov to Vladimir Putin on Tuesday evening.

Patrushev confirmed earlier reports saying that Maskhadov, one of Russia's most wanted men, was killed during a security raid in the town of Tolstoi Yurt in Chechnya. His body had been identified.

Patrushev said that Russian security forces suffered no casualties during the raid. On his part, President Putin instructed Patrushev to carry out additional expert examinations. 'Should those reports be confirmed, all the participants of the operation are to be put forward for state awards,' he said.

Russia's NTV network broadcast footage of the shirtless body of a man it identified as Maskhadov lying on the ground amid debris.

Meanwhile, Ramzan Kadyrov, deputy prime minister in the pro-Moscow Chechen government and son of the late president of Chechnya Akhmad Kadyrov, said Tuesday that Maskhadov's death was an accident. Security forces had planned to capture him alive, Ekho Moskvy radio station reported citing Ramzan Kadyrov. Kadyrov said Maskhadov was killed mishandling a weapon. MosNews>

1999 - The Russian explosions- pre-empting [or inspiring?] 'the war on terror'

The former KGB officer said U.S. and Russian intelligence agencies routinely shared information about potential terrorist attacks and efforts by terrorists to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

In a concession to Putin, Bush listed Chechnya, a breakaway Russian republic, as a battlefront in the war on terrorism. Putin deeply resents international criticism over Russia's alleged human rights violations in its war against Islamic separatist rebels in Chechnya.

"Terrorists must be opposed wherever they spread chaos and destruction, including Chechnya," Bush said, adding that peace there would require an end to terror as well as free elections and respect for human rights.

Putin rebuffs Bush's requests

The Apartment bombings:

watch the documentary 'The Assasination of Russia' [ram. file]

strange days in Russia :

The timing of the announcement by high-ranking officials of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, struck many diplomats and foreign journalists here as highly convenient.

Only days before, Russia's acting president, Vladimir Putin, had been forced in an interview to dismiss mounting domestic and international speculation that Russian security agents had been behind the deadly explosions last fall in Moscow and in two other Russian cities that left nearly 300 people dead and 500 injured.

"Delirious nonsense!" the Russian leader had declared with his trademark firmness. "There are no people in the Russian secret services who would be capable of such a crime against their own people."

And then all of a sudden in late March some of the culprits were identified. Within days of the Putin interview FSB investigators announced six suspects had been charged with the gruesome Moscow apartment bombings. They claimed the hexagen explosive used in the blasts was produced in the Chechen city of Urus-Martan, and a cache of the same type of explosive had been discovered after the city fell to Russian troops. - Insight mag

FAS analysis


Russia Releases Former Intelligence Officer Behind Probe of 1999 Bombings

31.08.2005 - A court in the city of Nizhny Tagil has released former FSB officer Mikhail Trepashkin. As a former intelligence officer and lawyer, Trepashkin led a probe into the 1999 apartment bombings - attacks that claimed the lives of over 200 people in Moscow. His supporters claimed Trepashkin was punished for his attempts to reveal the truth.

The court released the former FSB officer on parole, his defense lawyer, Yelena Lipster said Wednesday. Trepashkin returned home today, she said adding that the court ruling was absolutely unexpected for him and his defense team.

A Moscow military court sentenced Mikhail Trepashkin to four years in a penal colony for possessing an unregistered weapon and disclosing state secrets, the lawyer recalled.

Trepashkin and his supporters said that the charges against him were politically motivated - the former FSB agent led a lone investigation into the 1999 apartment bombings that were blamed on Chechen separatists.

Later the Supreme Court upheld the sentence handed down to Trepashkin.

Trepashkin's supporters said his only crime was to have exposed evidence that pointed to government complicity in the killing of more than a hundred civilians during the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow. Shortly before he was due to present this evidence in court, police stopped him on the road and claimed they found a gun in the trunk of his car. - mosnews

very fishy...

Former FSB Officer Behind 1999 Apartment Bombings Probe in Custody Again

18.09.2005 - Former FSB officer, Mikhail Trepashkin, was taken into custody Sunday after a Russian court overturned his early release. Trepashkin had won the support of human rights activist for his efforts to investigate alleged government complicity in the country's 1999 apartment bombings that claimed over 200 lives. Mikhail Trepashkin, was taken back into custody on Sunday, his wife informed the Interfax news agency.

On Sunday morning Trepashkin himself told Interfax that his house was surrounded by some 20 police officers who had arrived there to arrest him.

On Friday, Mikhail Trepashkin, sentenced earlier to four years in prison for possessing an unregistered weapon and disclosing state secrets, was ordered by the Sverdlov regional court to remains in custody, after the prosecutor's office protested a lower court ruling to release him on parole, his lawyer, Yelena Liptser said.

In late August, a Nizhny Tagil court ordered the release of the former FSB officer on parole.

Trepashkin and his supporters said that the charges against him were politically motivated - the former FSB agent led a lone investigation into the 1999 apartment bombings that were blamed on Chechen separatists.

Trepashkin's supporters said his only crime was to have exposed evidence that pointed to government complicity in the killing of more than a hundred civilians during the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow. Shortly before he was due to present his evidence in court, police stopped him on the road and claimed they found a gun in the trunk of his car.

On Sunday, Trepashkin's lawyers denounced their client's arrest saying that by overturning an earlier sentence the higher court had not, however, sanctioned his arrest but merely ordered a retrial of his case.

Pending retrial Trepashkin was to stay at large, Yelena Liptser told Interfax. - mosnews

Flashback: Moscow theatre seige

Heavily armed Chechen rebels holding nearly 1,000 people hostage inside a Moscow theatre for the second day on Thursday set a seven-day deadline for Russia to end military operations in Chechnya and completely pull out its troops, failing which they threatened to blow up the building.

As efforts were on to negotiate with the rebels, believed to be numbering 40-50 and armed with automatic weapons, grenades, explosive belts, mines and canisters of gasoline, they demanded foreign mediators including western diplomats and representatives of the Red Cross be sent to talk to them, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said. - source

Heavy Handed tactics or deliberate 'theatre' to emotionally manipulate?

According to official reports, 129 hostages died as a result of the October theatre siege in Moscow. All but two of them died of poisoning with what was called ''a special gas'', used to disable the hostage-takers during the storming of the theatre building on Dubrovka Street.

In its answer to the parliamentary inquiry, the Health Ministry failed to name those who had placed the data about the gas on a secret list, but said such decisions were outside the ministry?s competence. Similar inquiries, according to Yushenkov, have been sent by the deputies to the other agencies that were involved in the Nord-Ost operation ? the Interior Ministry and the Federal Security Service. However, neither of them has given any answers to the questions posed by the deputies.

Yushenkov explained to Gazeta.Ru that the participants of the counter-terrorist operation have violated Article 41 of the Russian Constitution, which bans state officials from concealing facts and circumstances posing hazards to human health and life. What is more, in the deputy?s opinion, the law on state secrets has also been violated, because information that may shed light on circumstances connected with damage inflicted to human health cannot be classified as secret.

According to the politician, the special services should have informed doctors and all those tending the victims of the type of gas used, of its possible effects, and which antidotes had to be used.

And if the substance used by the special services in October was a secret gas, then, in line with the law on countering terrorism, the authorities did not have the right to use it against civilians in the first place.

Furthermore, international treaties explicitly ban the use of combat gas. ''Only the Germans used mustard gas during World War I, and during World War II they used gas in concentration camps. And only in our country has gas been used against our own citizens, as Tukhachevsky did when he suppressed the insurrection of the Tambov peasants,'' the deputy fumed.

As the State Duma deputy told Gazeta.Ru, they will now await answers to their inquiries from other governmental agencies. ''Then we will address the Prosecutor General?s Office, or, on behalf of the aggrieved, the courts, so that those guilty of concealing information about the gas be found and punished. It is important for us, that things like this do not happen again.''

- More from: justice for the moscow Theatre hostages

Russia 'ignoring' plight of siege poison victims

very fishy...


After six months of work, investigators said Thursday they still believe Chechen rebels may have been behind the apartment building explosions in Moscow, Buinaksk and Volgodonsk, but they have no evidence to prove it.

And of the 26 people on the list of suspects, none is an ethnic Chechen.

The explosions in September, which killed some 300 people, were immediately blamed on rebels from Chechnya and used to help win public support for the military offensive.



Russian 'suicide' blast kills 40

Investigators found unexploded grenades in the train

5 December, 2003 - An apparent suicide bombing has killed at least 40 people and injured some 170 on a crowded commuter train in southern Russia, close to the Chechen region. The blast struck the train just outside the spa town of Yessentuki during the morning rush hour and many of the victims are said to be young students.

A Russian minister said the attack bore the hallmarks of Chechen rebels. President Vladimir Putin described it as a bid to destabilise the country days before its parliamentary election.

"International terrorism, which has now thrown down a challenge to very many countries throughout the world, remains a serious threat to our country too " - Putin

Justice Minister Yuri Chaika suggested evidence at the scene pointed to "Chechen terrorism" as a possible theory for the blast.

The director of the Federal Security Service (FSB), Nikolai Patrushev, said a male suicide attacker and three women accomplices appeared to have carried out the attack. Two of the female attackers leapt from the train seconds before the explosion while the third woman was, he added, seriously injured and unlikely to survive. Mr Patrushev said hand grenades attached to the legs of the male suspect indicated he had been a suicide attacker.

No claims of responsibility for the blast were reported in the immediate aftermath, but a string of similar attacks in recent years have been blamed on Chechen separatist rebels.

The Stavropol area, where the blast occurred, has declared Monday a day of mourning.

Student dead

The explosion ripped through the second carriage from the front shortly before 0740 local time (0440 GMT) on Friday, 400 metres (yards) outside Yessentuki. Investigators said a bomb appeared to have been left under a seat and a railway official quoted them as saying it had had the explosive force of 30 kilos (66 pounds) of TNT.

Many of those hit by the blast were students as young as 19 from the town of Kislovodsk who were on their way to study in Pyatigorsk, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency reports. An incomplete list of the dead published by the authorities in Stavropol suggested the ages of the victims ranged from 16 to 68. Such was the power of the blast that it tore the carriage in two, knocking it on its side and sparking a fire. At least 15 people were killed at the scene, with more dying of their wounds in hospital. Three hours after the explosion, rescuers were still working at the scene, managing to extract one passenger alive but badly injured.


Mr Putin described the attack as "international terrorism" and said it was a clear attempt to destabilise the situation before Sunday's State Duma election.


15 Sept: At least two killed at Russian security HQ in Magas, Ingushetia
3 Sept: At least four killed on Mineralniye Vody train
25 Aug: At least three killed at Krasnodar bus stops
1 Aug: 50 killed at Mozdok hospital
5 July Chechen suicide bombers kill at least 14 at a rock concert near Moscow

"The crime perpetrated this morning bears witness to the fact that international terrorism, which has now thrown down a challenge to very many countries throughout the world, remains a serious threat to our country too." Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov vowed to track down the "animals" behind the explosion. "The ground will burn under their feet. These animals will never be able to feel safe," he told a gathering of war veterans.

September's train explosion came on the first day of campaigning for the poll and coincided with a visit by Mr Putin to the southern city of Rostov for a meeting of the country's State Council. The president has long claimed to have the situation in Chechnya under control.

But with another blast having struck the same train line where people were killed just three months ago, serious questions will be raised about how stringent security measures are, the BBC's Sarah Rainsford reports from Moscow. - bbc.co.uk

[extract 1]..."Putin, speaking after the attack, called for new action to halt "terrorists," saying they were trying to undermine Russia's economic and democratic development.

"The actions of criminals, terrorists which we have to confront even today are aimed against all that," he said.

[extract 2]..."Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 8, 2003 hailed as a step toward democracy the poll that stacked parliament with his allies but Western observers called it 'overwhelmingly distorted' and Washington expressed concern. The fourth such election since the Soviet Union's collapse crushed Putin's Communist and liberal opponents -- prompting warnings of a return to authoritarian rule -- and effectively guaranteed him a second term in March's presidential poll ."

Suicide Bombing Kills Five in Moscow Tue December 9, 2003 Reuters

Just like Madrid?

August 2004...2 Russian passenger Jets crash, interesting links...

89 Die as 2 Flights From Moscow Crash Simultaneously

Russian authorities investigating Tuesday's almost simultaneous airliner crashes that killed 89 people are focusing on two female passengers with Chechen sounding names - one on each flight. Officials say the women purchased tickets at the last minute and are the only victims whose families did not step forward to claim the remains.

Several suicide attacks in Russia in recent years have been blamed on widows of Chechen separatist fighters.

An Islamic group calling itself the Islambouli Brigades claimed responsibility for the plane crashes, citing solidarity with Chechen rebels.

On Friday, investigators at one of the crash sites reported finding traces of a high explosive, hexogen, used in the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow that Russia blamed on Chechen separatists.

The planes went down just days before Kremlin-sponsored elections in Chechnya Sunday. - Voice of America [PSYOPS]


CBS news

breaking in the Examiner

Russian media are reporting that the suicide bombers on board the two passenger jetliners downed Tuesday detonated their charges in rear lavatories, next to aircraft engines.

According to this Pravda graphic (left) of the unfolding event on the larger, Tu-154 aircraft, a passenger thought to be Chechen and known only as S Dzhebirkhanova, had been seated to the rear of the aircraft. In flight, she entered a lavatory and detonated her explosive charge in close proximity to one of the three aircraft engines, causing it to fail.

Early reports that ruled a bombing out appear to have been based largely on the crash pattern and the fact that the fuselage of both aircraft were largely intact.

New evidence suggests that the particularly powerful explosive used -- known as hexogen or RDX -- could have caused major structural damage in even small amounts. One investigator said 200 grams or less, used in a well-informed way, could have produced an explosion capable of breaking the aircraft tail away, which is what appears to have happened. - Nat. Business review

RDX or Cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine

R.D.X., also called cyclonite, or composition C-1 (when mixed with plasticisers) is one of the most valuable of all military explosives. This is because it has more than 150% of the power of T.N.T., and is much easier to detonate. It should not be used alone, since it can be set off by a not-too severe shock. It is less sensitive than mercury fulminate, or nitroglycerine, but it is still too sensitive to be used alone. R.D.X. can be made by the surprisingly simple method outlined hereafter. It is much easier to make in the home than all other high explosives, with the possible exception of ammonium nitrate.

Also referred to as hexogen, RDX is a white crystalline solid usually used in mixtures with other explosives, oils, or waxes; it is rarely used alone. It has a high degree of stability in storage and is considered the most powerful and brisant of the military high explosives.

RDX compositions are mixtures of RDX, other explosive ingredients, and desensitizers or plasticizers. Incorporated with other explosives or inert material at the manufacturing plants, RDX forms the base for the following common military explosives: Composition A, composition B, composition C, HBX, H-6 and Cyclotol.

Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine, commonly known as RDX (Royal Demolition eXplosive), is a hexacyclic ring containing six nitrogen atoms. RDX is a synthetic product that does not occur naturally in the environment. RDX is also known as cyclonite and hexagen. RDX is widely used by the military. In 1972, 102,000,000 pounds of RDX was produced in the United States.

RDX can enter the environment through the manufacturing process or improper handling and disposal methods. It has been estimated that up to 12 mg/liter of RDX may be discharged into the environment through process wastewater used in RDX manufacturing. Alternatively, RDX can contaminate water and soil from spills orleaks at hazardous waste disposal sites. Airborne contamination of RDX occurs when it is disposed of by burning.

Cyclic nitramine explosive compounds have been proven to be toxic. Acute health effects of inhaling or eating RDX are seizures. Chronic health effect from long-term exposure to low levels of RDX have not been determined in humans. However, RDX has been shown to decrease body weight and damage the liver and kidneys of rats and mice. The effects of RDX on reproduction are not known yet.

It has a cyclic structure with a six-membered ring of alternating CH2 groups and nitrogen atoms, with each nitrogen being attached to a NO2 group. It is made by nitrating hexamine, C6H12N4, which is obtained from ammonia and methanal.

Irish Government gives FSB lesson on IRA bomb making techniques

Human rights groups have expressed concern about the Irish government's decision to reveal IRA bomb-making techniques to Russian security agents.

The Glasnost Foundation, Moscow's Helsinki Watch and the Memorial group, claim that training the KGB's successor agency to defuse bombs manufactured by terror groups such as the IRA could be highly dangerous.

The three human rights groups say suspicion hangs over the Russian FSB's role in a series of bombings in Moscow three years ago, which the authorities claimed were the work of Chechen terrorists.

Twelve FSB officers are nearing the end of a six-week training course with the Irish Defence Forces' Ordnance Corps. The Russians are in Ireland at the invitation of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to learn from the Irish army's experience in dealing with 'improvised' IRA and loyalist bombs.

The Irish Defence Forces and the British Army are world experts in dealing with sophisticated 'improvised' bombs after 30 years of terrorism in Northern Ireland.

But Sergei Grigoriants, the president of the Glasnost Foundation in Moscow, expressed doubt about the wisdom of the training project.

'This kind of project can be useful only if there is a guarantee that the newly acquired expertise will be used solely for peaceful purposes,' he said. 'But we have no such guarantee. If used wrongly by the FSB, this kind of knowledge could be very dangerous.' - Guardian

Deja Vu?

The investigation into the recent spate of terrorist attacks took a confusing twist Thursday when the Interior Ministry in Chechnya announced that the suspected suicide bomber of a Tu-134 airplane was alive and well and that her passport found at the crash site was forged.

A Chechen Interior Ministry spokesman told Rossiiskaya Gazeta that Amanat Nagayeva, the main suspect in the Aug. 24 bombing of the Moscow-Volgograd flight, was alive and selling toys in the Rostov region. Officials: Tu-134 Suspect Is Alive

Beslan School Hostage situation

School Hostage situation

Armed attackers, some wearing suicide-bomb belts, seized a school in a Russian region bordering Chechnya on Wednesday and were holding hundreds of hostages, including 200 children.

The assault came a day after a suicide bomber killed 10 people in Moscow.

The seizure began after a ceremony marking the first day of the Russian school year, reports said, when it was likely that many parents had accompanied their children to class.

Both the school attack and the Moscow bombing appeared to be the work of Chechen rebels or their sympathizers, but there was no evidence of any direct link. The two strikes came just a week after two Russian planes carrying 90 people crashed almost simultaneously in what officials also say were terrorist bombings.

- source

Moscow Suicide bombing 1st Sept 2004

Distraught Moscow residents laid flowers Wednesday outside a subway station where a suicide bomber killed 10 people, while a militant Muslim group that claimed responsibility for the crash of two Russian airliners last week said it was also behind the latest attack.

Police promised heightened security on the sprawling city's transit system, one of the world's busiest and relied on by many of the city's estimated 10 million people. But the attack was only the latest in a string of violence in the capital and elsewhere that the government has appeared helpless to prevent.

Most of the violence has been blamed on rebels in the breakaway republic of Chechnya or their sympathizers. Underscoring Russia's vulnerability, more than a dozen attackers, some wrapped in suicide belts, seized a school in the region of North Ossetia Wednesday morning and were holding hundreds of hostages, including some 200 children, news reports said. The region borders Chechnya. - source

Both the above stories carry this quote:

"In essence, war has been declared on us,
where the enemy is unseen and there is no front,"

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said, according to the Interfax-Military News Agency.

The armed group who are holding hundreds of hostages in a school in North Ossetia have demanded independence for neighbouring Chechnya.

This was reported by the North Ossetian president, Alexander Dzasokhov, as the siege entered its third day.

Authorities are not considering the use of force to resolve the standoff, Mr Dzasokhov added.

Latest reports suggest that 1,000 hostages may be held in the school, rather than the official figure of 354. - BBC

1345: More than 100 bodies found in school gym - Interfax
1330: Security services say their assault on school was not planned
1322: More than 400 people injured, officials say
1125: Security forces attack house where some rebels thought to be hiding - reports
1115: All hostages reported out of school
0958: Special forces enter school
0930: School roof said to have collapsed
0905: Explosions and gunfire heard. Soldiers run to building
[ more detailed Timeline]

Would it really take 3 days to get trained troops
to completely seal off an area?

"Our main task is to save the life and health of those who have ended up as hostages,"

Putin said in nationally televised comments from the Kremlin. "All the actions of our forces ... will be devoted to solving this task," a stern-looking Putin said during a meeting with visiting Jordanian King Abdullah. - source

Russian Troops Storm School as Hostages Break Out

Russian troops stormed a school in the country's south, after hostages started fleeing the building where armed terrorists had been holding as many as 1,500 people captive for two days in Beslan, North Ossetia.

More than 200 wounded were taken to hospitals, Interfax said, citing Lev Dzugayev, spokesman for North Ossetia's government. Russian broadcasters NTV and Rossiya showed children escaping and gunfire and explosions could be heard during the broadcasts.

Russian forces haven't taken the area fully under control and gunfire can be heard coming from near the gym where the hostages were held, Sky News reported from the scene. Interfax earlier reported that the area was almost under control.

``Most of the children who had been taken hostage are still alive,'' NTV television reported from the scene. ``There are very many wounded.''

Russian soldiers opened fire at terrorists who tried to flee among the hostages, state-owned Itar-Tass said. Tank fire was heard near a house where some of the terrorists were holed up after fleeing the school, Interfax reported. The building was surrounded by Russian forces, the news service said.

At least one hostage-taker was captured and five killed, Itar- Tass reported. - Bloomberg

At least 100 bodies have reportedly been found in a school in southern Russia where Chechen separatists had been holding hundreds of hostages. Heavy gunfire and loud explosions were heard throughout the morning as Russian troops stormed the school, in the town of Beslan in North Ossetia.

There is confusion as to why the Russian forces went in, as the operation seems to have been unplanned.

Hundreds of children were freed in the seizure, though some are badly injured.

Several of the hostage takers are also reported to have died in exchanges of fire with troops as they tried to escape, Reuters reports.

Some are reported to have blown themselves up, but others appear to have got away, says the BBC's Jonathan Charles.

Itar-Tass news agency said a group were holed up in another building in the area.

Russian security officials said they had still been intending the negotiate with the hostage-takers.

"I want to point out that no military action was planned," said regional Federal Security Service chief Valery Andreyev. "We were planning further talks."

Security forces had opened fire to save the lives of hostages who were being fired on by gunmen, he said. - BBC

High strangeness: Arms stored in the
school in the summer, for construction work...?

Around 1,000 hostages had been crammed into the school's small gym for almost three days, before the stand-off came to a bloody end. Russian authorities said hostages began to flee after militants set off some of their crude explosives - possibly by accident - as emergency workers entered the school to collect the bodies of slain hostages.

As children and adults began to run to their freedom, the kidnappers opened fire - sparking the order for troops to storm the building. Bombs were later found strapped to the crumbled ceiling of the sports hall and hanging from basketball hoops. source

BESLAN, Russia, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Explosives and arms used by the gunmen who seized a Russian school and took hundreds of hostages were smuggled into the building well in advance, Interfax news agency said on Saturday.

"The explosives, weapons and military equipment were taken into the school in summer ... when building work was being carried out," an unnamed regional security source was quoted as saying by the agency. - source


An arsenal was found under the assembly room floor in the Alkhazurovo village school, Urus Martan district in Chechnya, announced the federal Interior Ministry interim press centre based in Khankala near Grozny.

Men of the organised crime squad reported a grenade-thrower, seven Kalashnikov automatics, 14 hand-grenades, 100 grams of plastique, 200 grams of TNT, an antipersonnel mine and a large stock of cartridges found. source

Bombs strapped to the ceiling? Why didn't any FSB, who were trained by the
Irish government in IRA bomb making techniques [see story above],
see them through the windows?

Think about it...

A huge number of landmines
or explosives are strapped
all over the floor and ceiling,
according to reports, the Terrorists had
threatened to blow up the school building

Would you Storm the building?

Did the FSB deliberatly withhold vital information from locals?

Lockdown In Beslan:

On Saturday at 12 noon near the building of the Palace of Culture a meeting was held. At first they said that people should take the bodies of their dead children to Vladikavkaz, and put them on the main square outside the Regional administrative HQ so that Dzasokhov would have to confront the reality of his success. But Beslan was a closed town in a state of emergency- no one comes in, no one goes out. For the first time people were asked for their papers on entry or exit. Local government HQ had its security system reinforced. People came in droves to the square outside the Palace of Culture. No less than 1000 gathered there. They were those who had been unable to find their loved ones in the hospitals and morgues and processing points in Beslan. By morning 250 dead had been identified. By Saturday evening- 320. There were 100 unidentified bodies. Women- weeping told of headless corpses of children lying unidentified in morgues. Others had had their arms, or legs blown off. But most died of gunshot wounds. The officials from the Ministry of Emergencies said that on Saturday over 140 bodies had been found in the rubble of the school, and that there was a minimum of 300 more still to remove. It is claimed that the hostage takers used these kids as a human shield. Equally likely- they were simply caught in the crossfire, caught in the rain of bullets that began when the Russian special forces opened fire.

Details emerge: the terrorists had taken weapons and ammunition into the school prior to the event. In August there was a warning of a future terrorist attack on the town- that the local authorities chose to ignore. In spite of all this- officials claim the assault a success. The head of the local Secret Police (FSB) had only one regret that more Spetsnaz troops died than had been predicted. Someone in the audience of the meeting- which no local or federal government official attended- shouted: and what about the hostages? But there was no time for questions. The FSB man got up an left. - ELENA MILASHINA

[Part 1] [Part 2]

Misinformation which helps foster ethnic war

MOSCOW, Sept. 5 -- The Russian government admitted Sunday that it lied to its people about the scale of the hostage crisis that ended with more than 300 children, parents and teachers dead in southern Russia, making an extraordinary admission through state television after days of intense criticism from citizens.

As the bereaved families of Beslan began to lay their loved ones to rest Sunday, the Kremlin-controlled Rossiya network aired gripping, gruesome footage it had withheld from the public for days and said government officials had deliberately deceived the world about the number of hostages inside School No. 1.

"At such moments," anchor Sergei Brilyov declared, "society needs the truth."

The admission of an effort to minimize the magnitude of a hostage crisis that ensnared about 1,200 people, most of them children, marked a sharp turnabout for the government of President Vladimir Putin. In previous crises with mass fatalities, such as the sinking of the nuclear submarine Kursk in 2000 and the 2002 siege of a Moscow theater, officials covered up key facts as well, but afterward never acknowledged doing so.

"It doesn't suit our president," a Kremlin political consultant, Gleb Pavlovsky, said on the broadcast. "Lies, which really acted in the terrorists' favor, did not suit him at all. Lies were weakening us and making the terrorists more violent." - Yahoo News

The rally, organized by a pro-government trade union, was conducted with military precision. The speeches began when the clock on the Kremlin's Spassky Tower struck 5 p.m.

Over-all, it was an impressive show of unity. But there was one instance of police trying to rip away a few banners that were out of sync with the officially-approved messages, including one that lamented a lack of free speech.

And it was not difficult to find people whose anger at the massacre in Beslan was also directed at the Kremlin.

"I'm not excusing the terrorists, but we've been lied to from the start," shouted Termorass Bestayev, 50, to a small circle of people.

"Since Putin's arrival there has been more terrorism and more fear, and the country is becoming more totalitarian."

"Who's paying you?" a man asked, noting that Bestayev is an ethnic Ossetian. "You're not one of us, get out of here." source

United in their ignorance Russians remain in dark about hostage drama Even basic details about crisis have been withheld

One senior official said that 20 militants were killed, 10 of them "from the Arab world", but that figure could not immediately be confirmed.

News agencies later spoke of eight gunmen killed, three arrested and four still at large. - source

10 from the Arab world?!

Let's play a game...it's called Spot the Non-Russian

which one is Not Russian

Answer: ALL of them are Russians

Now, can you spot the Muslim in the photo below

Answer: They're all Muslims. - photo source

In a country as huge as the Russian federation, one which spans Eastern Europe,
Central / Eastern Asia & Siberia how could this assertion be made?

Do we really live in a world where all light brown people are 'Arabs',
and all Black people are 'Africans'?

The Russian authorities blamed the attack on extremist rebels with the support of foreign financing, in line with Mr Putin's claim that the fighters in Chechnya were linked to an international terrorist network.

Mr Andreev said during the evening that 10 of the hostage-takers who had been killed were foreign - nine of them "Arabs" and one African.

Other local security officials said Shamil Basaev, the rebel Chechen warlord, and Abu Omar As-Seif, a radical Islamic Wahhabite financier, had backed the operation, which was led by Magomed Yevloyev. - Financial Times

Story changes: Perpetrators now an 'International brigade'!

"We're talking about an entire international organization here," Fridinsky told Interfax. "Among the bandits there are Chechens, Ingush, Kazakhs, Arabs and Slavs." Whether the two militants not included in Fridinsky's body count had been detained or were still at large was not immediately clear. Moscow Times

Photo: AP

Two Minute Hate

Russian television showed footage today of an unshaven and heavily guarded man, described by a top prosecutor as a member of a Chechen rebel group which held more than 1000 people hostage in a school last week.

A suspected hostage-taker seen in this image shown on Russia's Channel One, who was referred to not as a suspect but as one of the attackers. - Sydney morning herald

A suspect arrested by the authorities -- almost all the hostage-takers are believed to have been killed -- was paraded on Russian state television where in a slurred statement he linked the actions to notorious Chechen warlord Shamil Baseyev and rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov.

"They gathered us in a forest, a person known as 'commander', and they said that we must seize a school in Beslan. They said this task was ordered by (Chechen rebel leader Aslan) Maskhadov and Basayev," the dark-haired young man said haltingly.

The detained suspect, who said there were Uzbeks, Arabs and Chechens among the hostage-takers, added that he had been told the aim of the raid was to "provoke a war across the Caucasus". - channel News Asia

'Russia school seizure was bid to start war'

September 07 - A militant detained in the bloody school seige in Southern Russia has said that "the task had been set" by former Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov and separatist warlord Shamil Basayev to unleash a regional war.

"A man nicknamed Colonel gathered us in the forest, and they said: 'you must seize a school in Beslan'. They said that this task had been set by Maskhadov and Basayev," the detained man said in his testimony broadcast by state-run Rossiya television channel last night.

"When we asked Colonel why we had to do this and what the objective was, he, Colonel, said: 'because is it necessary to unleash a war across the entire Caucasus,'" he was quoted as saying by Interfax. - source


Under this headline, the Russians news agency KMNews.ru today carries an unsigned commentary, laying the blame for the Beslan events at the doorstep of U.S. and British agencies, in rather explicit terms.

Its point of departure is that Shamil Basayev, the brutal Chechen field commander, has been linked to the attack (something that Putin advisor Aslambek Aslakhanov yesterday said was known to the Russian FSB).

The article plays up the recent rapprochement of London and Washington with key representatives of Aslan Maskhadov: Britain's giving asylum to Akhmad Zakayev (December 2003) and the USA doing the same for Ilyas Akhmadov (August 2004).

KMNews writes: "In early August, ... `Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Chechen Republic-Ichkeria' Ilyas Akhmadov received political asylum in the USA. And for his `outstanding services,' Akhmadov received a Reagan-Fascell grant, including a monthly stipend, medical insurance, and a well-equipped office with all the support services that might be needed, including the possibility of meetings with people from political circles and leading U.S. media.... - source

here come the Think-Tanks...

"It appears to be a deliberate provocation to reignite the conflict between Ingushetia and North Ossetia, to extend the range of the chaos," said Fiona Hill, a scholar at the Brookings Institution in Washington who was among a group of Westerners that met with Putin on Monday.

"It's very easy to stir up the region if you want to, and somebody wants to. This is a wake-up call. The whole of the Caucasus is going to go up at this rate."

Putin raised the specter of the region breaking apart from Moscow during a meeting with Hill and other visiting Westerners late Monday. "There's a Yugoslavia variant here," he said, according to notes taken by Eileen O'Connor, a participant. "It would be difficult to imagine the consequences for the rest of the world. Bear in mind Russia is a nuclear power."

The four leaders inside the school represented the spectrum of the region's ethnic groups: a Chechen, a Russian, an Ingush and an Ossetian, according to tentative identifications by Russian officials. What remained unclear was the extent of the involvement of Arab fighters, if any. Russian officials initially said 10 of the hostage-takers were Arabs, but surviving hostages said in interviews that they saw no Arabs and not one was identified as a leader to outside negotiators. - msnbc

Ethnic Koreans Among Hostage Takers in Russia [!?]

It has been confirmed that among the terrorists who took hostages at a school in North Ossetia, Russia, there were some Korean-Russians (Goryeo-in in Korean), greatly shocking expatriate Koreans residing in Russia and the Korean-Russian community. Anxiety is increasing among them that they may become victims of terrorism targeting non-Caucasians committed by skinheads and gangs.

Although they were not Korean citizens, as they were ethnic Koreans, we are taking additional measures such as requesting their precise identity from authorities."

Russian news agency RIA Novosti, quoting Sergei Fridinsky, deputy prosecutor general for the Southern Federal District, reported Monday afternoon (local time) that, The attackers are composed of diverse nationalities and there were Chechens, Tatars, Kazakhs and even Koreans among the attackers - Chosun

An eye for an Eye?

Russia took Chechen rebels' relatives hostage

It was 6am when Russian soldiers hoisted themselves over the wall, crashed through the window and broke down the front door.

Shouting, shoving and kicking, the soldiers pushed 67-year-old Khavazh Semiyev and his wife into a truck waiting outside, then went back for the others - his two sons and two nephews, his son's wife, his 52-year-old sister. Then - and Mr Semiyev could not believe his old eyes - they went back for his grandchildren: Mansur, 11, Malkhazni, 9, and Mamed, 7.

The family, all in their nightclothes, were driven through the empty streets of the small Chechen town of Znamenskoye to the Russian Army's command centre at Khankala. There, the men were forced to their knees. Sacks were pulled over their heads, and their hands tied behind their backs. For the next 24 hours, anyone who moved from that position got kicked.

One day into the seizure of more than 1000 hostages by suspected Chechen separatists in the town of Beslan, Russia now had its own hostages. About 40 family members of senior Chechen rebel leaders were assembled at Khankala on Thursday, a day after the hostage seizure in Beslan, until Saturday, the day after it ended.

Mr Semiyev's daughter, Kusama, is the wife of the Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov. Around him were assembled the extended families of Mr Maskhadov, the former Chechen president, and of the Chechen warlords Shamil Basayev and Doku Umarov.

"We figured they wanted to exchange us for the hostages in Beslan," Mr Semiyev said once back home.

The Russian Government says it was protecting the families' lives. A statement from operations headquarters in the Northern Caucasus said Russian forces obtained intelligence that rebel leaders planned to kill several of their own relatives and then accuse Russian law-enforcement agencies of murdering them. - source

No Chechens Identified

Russia hasn't identified any Chechens among the terrorists in Beslan, the country's Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told Western academics at a meeting today, Harvard University's Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies associate director Marshall Goldman said on Radio Echo Moscow. Goldman participated in meetings with Ivanov and President Vladimir Putin.

``Putin did talk extensively about Chechnya and he's worried that if it goes, then. . .the country may disintegrate,'' Goldman said.

Fewer than half of killed terrorists have been identified so far, and there are no Chechens among the identified corpses, a ministry spokesman Igor Kastyshin said. The security services have said 32 terrorists were killed in Beslan.

``We are dealing with the direct intervention of international terrorism against Russia, a full-scale war,'' Putin told the nation in a televised address Saturday. ``The mobilization of the nation in the face of the common danger is the most important thing.'' - source

Mourning Russians vow revenge

...the afternoon soon turned into an impromptu town meeting, held in the blackened gymnasium where many of the hostages died. A few voices in the crowd called for calm, but many insisted that the deaths of so many of Beslan's children had to be avenged.

"Let's gather up all of the men in the villages and fight!" shouted one man. "If we don't act now, when we calm down we'll end up not doing anything at all," yelled a middle-aged woman, shaking her fist in the air.

Nikolai Betiyev, 52, urged restraint. "Let's bury the bodies first before we think of doing anything. We need to calm down!"

"We won't ever forget this," shouted back Taimuraz Metsiyev, a broad-chested, 33-year-old Ossetian who lost several friends and relatives in the siege. "So don't say that in time we'll learn to accept this, and that we have to concentrate on burying our children."

"The people who don't want to fight say, 'So many innocent lives will suffer if we take up arms,"' Metsiyev continued. "Well, we've already suffered enough. It's time to fight." - The Age

Putin - No to Public enquiry

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, last night refused to order a public inquiry into how the Beslan school was captured by gunmen and then ended with such a high death toll, and told the Guardian that people who call for talks with Chechen leaders have no conscience. - source

Putin goes 'BUSH' - NO to diplomacy...

Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected any dialogue with Chechen separatists, blamed for at least 335 deaths in the school hostage siege, as hundreds of thousands joined rallies against terrorism.

"Why don't you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give it to him so he leaves you in peace?" Putin said in a meeting with foreign journalists late on Monday.

"You find it possible to set some limitations in your dealings with these bastards, so why should we talk to people who are child-killers?" he said, ruling out a public inquiry into the operation to retake the school.


Anti-terrorism rallies, which started on Monday to accompany the two days of official mourning for the victims of the Beslan siege, will culminate in a mass event outside the Kremlin.

But opposition politicians said the rally was intended to parry criticism of the Kremlin's handling of the crisis and Putin's failure to ensure security for ordinary Russians.

Pressure on the media to toe the line increased on Monday with the sacking of the editor of the respected daily Izvestia, which splashed harrowing pictures in its Saturday edition.

"There is a need for a political protest, but the slogans which are being prepared do not reflect what needs to be done to avert a repetition of the tragedy," liberal politician Irina Khakamada told Ekho Moskvy radio

"The rally will only reflect state ideology." - source

Russia forced to rethink US ties

In his first post-Beslan interview, Putin, in a tone reminiscent of President George W Bush's post-September 11 behavior, has declared Russia to be in a "war" with enemies that his defense minister, Sergei Ivanov, has branded as "unseen" and "borderless".

Cognitively then, the mass killings in Russia, including the victims of downed Russian airplanes and Moscow subway commuters, have seemingly spurred a politico-ideological turn around vis-a-vis the US, viewed with suspicion by the Kremlin for exploiting the September 11 tragedies for geopolitical gains at Russia's doorsteps in Central Asia and elsewhere in the Middle East, prompting Russian policy-makers to rethink their cynical gaze at the US war on global terrorism, eg, the same Ivanov has been on record for making paranoid statements about a post September 11 "dense ring of military and intelligence gathering installations belonging to the US".

In the light of the severity of the Chechen-led terrorist attacks, reportedly with participation by members of al-Qaeda, Ivanov and other like-minded people around Putin are likely more apt to make similar statements about the threat of Islamist terrorism.

[snip][note:who stands to gain?]

Putin has vowed to reorganize Russia's anti-terror system and to set up a new crisis-management system, indeed a remedy too late for the Beslan victims and their relatives, who may have benefited from a more patient counter-terrorist strategy which proved rather successful in 1996 when the Chechen rebels invaded the Dagestan towns of Kiziliar and Pervomaiska and held some 2,000 hostages. whom they freed after two weeks of negotiations. Instead, the Beslan tragedy turns out to be the recycling of another botched rescue attempt - in June 1996 when some 150 hostages held by Chechens in a hospital in Budennovsk were killed. - source

The first casualty at Beslan- The Truth

"The whole kind of propaganda machine of the Russian state, which controls most of our media and other ways of communication, has been activated. Also, people in Moscow have received unsolicited SMS messages on their phones from their company providers to come to the demonstration, and of course the provider companies have been under orders from the Kremlin to send these messages. Russian television is fully controlled by the government and the government has called on people to turn out. So, this is government-organised." - source

Thousands of people were due to rally in the Russian capital in an officially-sanctioned expression of grief over the Beslan school hostage tragedy, as families pressed on with an agonising search for loved ones still missing.

Organisers of the "protest against terror", who included the Kremlin, said that more than 100,000 people would turn out for the demonstration, which comes at the end of a two-day official mourning period for the 335 people killed in the siege.

"A Country in Mourning," headlined the daily Izvestia, picturing a girl with her head in her hands kneeling amid a sea of flowers.

Over 400 wounded, including more than 200 children, are still being treated in hospital.

However many have expressed regret that Russians were only turning out to remember the dead four days after the bloody end to the siege, and in a rally blessed by the Kremlin rather than a spontaneous outpouring of grief.

"We did not go out onto the streets on September 1 (the day the crisis started) nor at the weekend (after it ended). People wanted to wait until the authorities called a well organised meeting," said the Vedemosti daily.

"Because people have realised the authorities must not be irritated, questions must not be asked about Chechnya, otherwise the president will get annoyed," it said.

However there was little chance that the Moscow rally would contain any expressions of anger against government officials. All participants were obliged to undergo security checks and arrive two hours in advance. - source

Former Ingush Leader Aushev Claims Locals Sparked Hostage Tragedy

A woman who rushed out of the school after the explosion said one of the gunmen hit a wire accidentally and caused the explosion, Aushev told. We asked them to stop the firing. We called (the terrorists by mobile phone). They said, ?We have stopped shooting, you are shooting.? We gave the command to stop the shooting. But a stupid third force occurred there, I do not know how they appeared there, we are investigating this. Some 'militia' with assault rifles decided to free the hostages themselves. And they opened fire at that school! Aushev was quoted by the paper as saying. The terrorists thought it was an assault by Russian troops and blew up their explosives that caused the school roof to collapse. After that, the troops started the assault. - source

Critic of Putin Poisoned

Alarm bells are ringing in Russian media circles after the alleged poisoning of Anna Politkovskaya, one of the most outspoken critics of Vladimir Putin's policy on Chechnya, and the apparent sacking of the editor of Izvestia today. Politkovskaya, who writes for the current affairs magazine Novaya Gazeta, was on her way to the siege in Beslan from Moscow when she collapsed mysteriously. According to the Moscow Times today, "Politkovskaya was flying from Vnukovo Airport to Rostov-on-Don and fainted on the plane. Immediately after landing, she was taken to a local hospital, where doctors found she had been poisoned, Novaya Gazeta editor Dmitry Muratov told the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists." Guardian

As darkness fell, with no end to the siege in sight, the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, was embroiled in the worst crisis of his presidency. The attackers are thought to be Chechen but their demands were unclear. Officials said they had tossed a video tape from a window in which they demanded the release of "comrades in arms", captured in a series of attacks in neighbouring Ingushetia in June that killed more than 90 people. -The Independent

How did the tape reach NTV?

The only politician allowed to enter the school building after it was seized was Ruslan Aushev, the former president of Ingushetia. According to eyewitness accounts, he was led into the schools gymnasium by the rebels, one of whom was filming footage of plastic bottles with explosives hanging on a wire over the heads of the hostages.

Having completed his job, the cameraman handed the tape to Aushev. Some hostages believe, this was done so that Aushev could hand the tape to Vladimir Putin. What was on the tape apart from the footage showing exhausted children? Unfortunately, Ruslan Aushev could not be reached on the phone for comment. Neither was Murat Zyazikov available to clarify why he had ignored the attackers call for talks. - MosNews

Footage of hostage takers aired

Russia's NTV television has shown graphic footage shot by the militants who took more than a thousand hostages in a school in Beslan in the south of the country last week.

The pictures showed militants including a masked and heavily armed man and a woman in Arab-style black headdress, as well as hundreds of hostages sitting in the gymnasium which later became a battleground. At least 335 people, around a half of them children, died when Russian troops stormed the school.

Blood was smeared on the floor. Bombs hung from a basketball hoop and from a wire suspended across the room. Another lay on the floor in plastic container.

One militant squatted, apparently working on a bomb with tape and wire clippers. The few spaces left by the hostages, including women fanning themselves in the heat and children with their hands on their heads, were strewn with wires and what appeared to be bomb-making equipment.

One militant stood with his foot on a book which the commentary said contained a trip-switch to activate a bomb. Elsewhere a rocket-propelled grenade lay unattended.

The video lasted around a minute and ended with the sound of one of the hostage-takers murmuring into his mobile phone. He was not speaking Russian. - source

NTV Mir, the international broadcasting subsidiary of NTV television, and Nordic Satellite AB (NSAB), the operator of the SIRIUS Satellite System have signed a long term cooperation agreement that makes Russian NTV Mir available throughout Europe.

The NTV Mir signal is transmitted via the SIRIUS 2 satellite, which assures high quality reception of NTV Mir throughout Europe and the Middle East.

NTV Mir is one of the most popular Russian news and entertainment channels, which makes it very important to the relatively large Russian-speaking population throughout Europe.

The channel will make our already strong East European program bouquet of Russian, Ukrainian and Baltic channels even more attractive.?

NTV is transmitting on transponder 35, frequency 12 380 MHz, using Viaccess encryption. - NSAB

NTV Mir homepage

NTV now majority owned by state-run Gazprom energy giant. The station fell under control of Gazprom amid a dramatic year-long battle in 2001 by its journalists to keep NTV's independence.

Prior to the takeover, NTV was one of the only independent Russian sources on Putin's war in Chechnya and general corruption in government. - Russian News Anchor Sacked Over Chechnya Report

Government warning to NTV 2001-04-05

Russian Talk Show Faces Shutdown
Move Would Kill Last Independent Political Program

MOSCOW, July 7 -- The Kremlin loyalist appointed this week to run Russia's NTV television network decided to cancel the talk show "Freedom of Speech" in his first full day on the job, a move that would effectively leave the Russian airwaves without a single independent-minded political program.

On Monday, the state-controlled natural gas monopoly Gazprom, which took over NTV in 2001, fired the network's general director and replaced him with Vladimir Kulistikov, head of news programming at the state-run Rossiya channel, known for fawning nightly news coverage of President Vladimir Putin. - source

NTV links news site

Do Gazprom still own NTV?

This report is pretty sure!
Gazprom's NTV Take-over

April 18, 2001 - Fedorov said he does not doubt that the recent events between Gazprom and NTV are politicized, but he questioned the simplistic scenario of Putin giving a simple order to Gazprom, which it carries out. The reality is much more complex. It is not entirely logical that Putin planned to have this loud political scandal eclipse what Fedorov called "the best speech a Russian president has made in years." The situation benefits Gazprom more than it benefits Putin - the discussion has shifted from Gazprom's shady dealings and its inefficiency to NTV. Fedorov conjectured that someone is probably trying to be useful to President Putin, since Putin probably does have "a grudge" against Mr. Gusinsky.

Whoever's political decision this action was, it is not a purely business affair. If Gazprom was merely taking over a debtor, it would treat NTV as an investment, and attempt to preserve its value. Firing the journalists that make up the value of NTV is not a rational business tactic. No one at Gazprom wants to discuss the financial side of the affair, Fedorov said. He compared Alfred Kokh and Boris Jordan to mercenaries, hired to accomplish an immoral task. It was a mistake for the government to have allowed this situation to degenerate to this point, Fedorov stated. - Carnegie Endowment

This report says they sold the company...

12 October, 2001 - Russia's Gazprom has announced the sale of all its media assets, marking a strategic about-face at the world's biggest gas company. Gazprom, which is minority state-owned and close to the Russian government, has built up stakes in newspapers, magazine and broadcast media over the past few years.

Its most controversial acquisition was the takeover in April of NTV, Russia's only privately-owned nationwide broadcaster.

But Alexei Miller, Gazprom's new chief executive, said all the stakes would be sold, and announced the resignation of Alfred Kokh, the Gazprom executive who headed the firm's media subsidiary. - BBC

This report says Gazprom still owns NTV ...

Russian TV channel sacks anchor

Wednesday, 2 June, 2004 - One of Russia's most popular TV journalists has been sacked and his weekly news review programme axed. Leonid Parfyonov was fired by the NTV channel after his programme aired an interview with the widow of a murdered Chechen rebel leader.

He was a well-respected journalist and often criticised the government.

His sacking is the latest in a series of moves in recent years that have led some observers to conclude that censorship is creeping back in.

The BBC's Steve Rosenberg in Moscow says Mr Parfyonov was one of the few journalists allowed to be critical of the authorities.

NTV - Russia's first independent television station - was taken over by state-run gas monopoly Gazprom in 2001. - BBC

PUTIN runs Gazprom and therefore runs NTV...
The Beslan school tape came from the Kremlin

Flashback: Kremlin man takes over at gas giant

Friday, 28 June, 2002: Russian gas giant Gazprom replaced its chairman with a Kremlin aide during its annual general meeting on Friday. The move is a crucial part of the government's efforts to clean up the country's largest company.

Gazprom is the world's biggest gas producer and source of more than a quarter of Europe's supplies, accounting for 8% of Russia's gross domestic product. But it is also widely seen as a lumbering, state-owned utility plagued with corruption.

Putin's man

The removal of Rem Vyakhirev as chairman had been largely expected. He had been at Gazprom since its inception in 1989 and had had good relations with president Boris Yeltsin. But after Vladimir Putin became president things became rockier for Mr Vyakhirev. A year ago he was sacked as chief executive officer amid allegations of asset-stripping. He was replaced by Alexei Miller, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, and given the less-influential post of chairman. The board has replaced Mr Vyakhirev with Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of president Putin's administration and himself a former Gazprom chairman. - BBC

Chechen Separatists Say Third Force Behind Terrorist Attacks

02.09.2004 - Akhmed Zakayev, a special envoy to Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov has said that a third force that brought Russian President Vladimir Putin to power is behind all the terrorist attacks committed in Russia over the past two weeks. London-based Zakayev said this in an exclusive interview with the Caucasus Times newspaper, printed in Prague, Czech Republic.

Zakayev said that Chechen resistance forces led by Ichkeria President Aslan Maskhadov have nothing to do with the hostage crisis in North Ossetia. He called the events a sad fact and condemned actions against Russian children and civilians.

Zakayev believes that the twin aircraft crash last week, the blast near Rizhskaya metro station on 31 August and todays events in North Ossetia are links in the same chain and that the same power that wants to destabilize the situation in the North Caucasus region is behind them.

A militant Muslim group called the Islambouli Brigades earlier claimed responsibility for downing two passenger plains and for the bomb blast in Moscow. The legitimacy of the group and the authenticity of such statements have not been verified. - Moscow News

a sign of the elites desperation?: the synarchy is global: bogeymen justify Russias 'War on terror'?

9/11 Conspirators Reveal Links with Chechen Fighters

The ring-leaders of the September 11 attacks in the United States had originally planned to travel to Chechnya to fight Russian federal troops in the breakaway region, before being waylaid into an al Qaeda plot to attack the United States instead, the September 11 commission disclosed in a report cited by The Washington Post.

The 9/11 commissions report on the investigations were published recently and cited previously secret interrogations of cell member Ramzi Binalshibh, revealing that the Hamburg radicals who carried out the attacks had been urged by a passenger on a German train to put off their mission to Chechnya. The mysterious passenger identified as Khalid Masri introduced them to Mauritanian businessman Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who later arranged a personal introduction to Osama bin Laden.

The Islamic radicals in the Hamburg cell that included chief hijacker Muhammad Atta had been planning to go to Chechnya and fight along with the Islamic separatist rebels there.

Slahi told the men that it was difficult to slip across the border into Chechnya. He encouraged them instead to go to Afghanistan. He assisted with their travel plans and arranged for them to meet operatives for al Qaeda in Pakistan, who in turn arranged a private meeting between Binalshibh and bin Laden in December 1999.

The Chechnya plot, meanwhile, was never realized.

Several terrorism experts have linked the al Qaeda terror network to Islamists fighting for independence in Chechnya. Numerous Saudi mercenaries are said to be fighting in Chechnya. - Moscow News


MOSCOW, March 24. (RIA Novosti)-Rizvan Chitigov, who was killed in the district center Shali in Chechnya on Wednesday and was the third most influential warlord after Shamil Basayev and Doku Umarov, had graduated from an elite U.S. subversion and reconnaissance school and had served on a contract basis in a U.S. Marine battalion, Kommersant reports.

Marine dog tags indicating his name, and date and place of birth, were discovered on his body.

In the early 1990s, Chitigov went to America using the assistance of an international Muslim fund, which had a mission in Chechnya. Returning to Shali in 1994, he told his compatriots that he could have forged a career in the U.S. Navy (and was subsequently called "the American" after that), but a warlord, Khattab, persuaded him to return to his native republic.

Chitigov initially fought under Khattab and commanded the only tank battalion the self-proclaimed Chechen Republic of Ichkeria had. He began the second Chechen campaign in Grozny but later escaped to the mountains and Georgia. Operational information acquired in summer 2001 said he was planning to use chemical and bacteriological weapons against federal forces. Soon "the American's" secret base with a batch of homemade ricin was found. This is when Chitigov received his second alias, "the Chemist."

Several days ago, the security services intercepted a mobile telephone conversation and established where Chitigov could be hiding after spending the winter in Baku. A three-room flat was checked three times, but nobody was found. But when the security service officers were leaving the flat the fourth time, they heard a noise.

It turned out that Chitigov had spent over three days in a small niche in a wall masked by tiles. The terrorist was in a hurry to leave the flat and dropped a tiled panel on the floor. He opened fire at the policemen who rushed back into the flat but missed and was killed by return fire. - source

Beslan's wounds stay raw as inquiry is hushed up (Filed: 18/06/2005)

Tamila was not yet two when her mother, Alyona, left for work last Sept 1. A language teacher at Beslan's School No 1, she was anxious not to miss the ceremony that marks the first day of the Russian school year. Three days later the blonde 28-year-old was dead, one of 333 hostages killed in crossfire or blown up after a ham-fisted attempt by Russia's security forces to free them from terrorist hostage takers. Today, Tamila lives with her maternal grandmother, Natalya Salamova, only a few minutes from the school where her mother died. Every time the doorbell rings she runs towards it crying "Mama, Mama". At other times she carries a large framed portrait of her mother around the flat with her.

"Alyona always wanted to be a teacher. She loved children," said Mrs Salamova, tears welling up in her eyes. "We still haven't told Tamila what happened - she's too young to understand."

Last week the worst school year imaginable finally ended in the small town in southern Russia. In the aftermath of the tragedy, millions of pounds of aid poured in, the wounded were cared for at the best hospitals in Europe and many surviving children had free holidays abroad. But nine months on, parents and relatives are still waiting to hear the truth about those terrible days. Despite the promise of an official investigation, the authorities have repeatedly postponed publishing its results. Far from taking responsibility for the tragedy - which appears to have resulted, at least partly, from incompetence on the part of the Russian security services - not one federal official has stepped down because of the attack.

The only official to resign at all, the relatively lowly local interior minister Kazbeg Dzantiev, has been given a cushy job in Moscow by Vladimir Putin. Many crucial questions about how the attack on Beslan was allowed to happen remain unanswered.

Locals want to know how the terrorists got through police checkpoints on the edge of their small republic, why tanks and flame-throwers were used against the school and, most of all, who gave the order to storm it.

Russian officials have a long record of cover-ups. A Kremlin investigation into the deaths of 130 hostages during a rescue operation in the 2002 Moscow theatre siege was quietly shelved. At Beslan, officials reported that there were less than 400 hostages in the school when locals knew there were at least 1,000.

The terrorists said they would let the children go if the authorities released imprisoned colleagues and began a withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya, but the Kremlin maintained that they had made no clear demands.

"The authorities lied to us from the very first moment," said Fatima Kelekhsayeva, a member of the Mothers' Committee of Beslan.

In the town itself, the scars of the siege are still visible. The school gym remains a burnt-out shell, with blast holes in the floorboards. Bottles of water and large bouquets, red, blue and violet, have been placed against the walls and on the floor. Decayed flesh shows where a Chechen suicide bomber blew herself up. Elsewhere there are signs of the anguish of relatives.

A man has written on one wall: "Your blood will never dry and nor will our tears. Please forgive us that we are still alive and you are not." Near the kitchen somebody has spray-painted thanks to the Russian special forces, who lost several soldiers when they stormed the building to try to save the hostages. Another has written: "Putin - you are the murderer of children."

Instead of shock and loss giving way to mourning and a long, painful healing process, there is growing fury and bitterness among many of the relatives.

"It's no good blaming the Chechens," said Zarema Dzutseva, 65. "So many of them died too. If Moscow has been bombed like they were, the Russians would have joined the death battalions.

"It's the authorities. They don't give us a single word of truth and when we protest they say we are too noisy."

In the absence of proper information, conspiracy theories abound. One of the most pernicious is that Lidya Tsalieva, the 72-year-old headmistress of the school, was in cahoots with the terrorists. Although wounded during the bloody conclusion to the siege when she returned from hospital in Moscow, she was vilified.

Speaking at her home, which she now rarely leaves, she said: "I can't judge those that hate me - they lost their children. They hate all the living. They think: 'Why did ours die and why not others?' But we must have the truth. Only when we know what happened can the healing begin."

- By Julius Strauss in Beslan [telegraph.co.uk]

Beslan hostage-takers were able to flee, soldier says

Russian authorities captured one of the men who masterminded and led the Beslan school siege and are interrogating him although he has been officially declared dead, a newspaper claims.

A man identified as Vassily K who says he was in the botched operation to free the hostages on 3 September has also said the authorities dramatically played down the number of hostage-takers and that many of the mostly Chechen militants were able to flee.


But Vassily K, who is a serving commando, said: "I saw Khodov being interrogated [by FSB security service officials]. At one point he produced a 50-rouble note and said, 'Thanks to that piece of paper, I passed through all the checkpoints and thanks to it again in two years from now I will be out of jail and I will again kill for cash'. - Beslan hostage-takers were able to flee, soldier says

Beslan Survivors Say Men in Police Uniforms Helped Hostage-Takers Flee

Created: 17.08.2005 12:12 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 12:57 MSK, MosNews

Many gunmen who had taken hundreds of schoolchildren and their parents hostage in the South Russian town of Beslan a year ago owe their escape from the school stormed by the security forces to people dressed in police uniforms, a former hostage, Inga Kharebova, told a court where the only hostage-taker detained by the authorities - Nurpasha Kulayev - is currently facing trial.

Formally, Nurpasha Kulayev is deemed the only surviving hostage-taker while all of his accomplices were reportedly killed by the security forces who stormed the school building after a 3-day standoff.

Kharebova told the court that after the school was stormed and the hostages were freed she met her mother who was waiting for her outside the school building, the Novye Izvestia newspaper reported Wednesday.

The two women then asked a man sitting in a passenger car parked nearby to drive them home. They got into the car. The man behind the wheel was wearing a police uniform but with no shoulder straps.

Immediately afterwards, another man got into the car and it started. The new passenger was dressed in black and unshaven. The women gave the driver their address but he ignored them, the witness said.

"It seemed they did not hear me and drove on in an opposite direction. The driver was like a robot. I repeated the address a bit louder; then the man in black turned to us and said: 'I do not know the place.' "My mother and I shot out of the car barely waiting for it to stop. After the shock I had been through I was not capable of sound reasoning but now I see things more clearly. I am sure, the terrorists had accomplices outside and a great many managed to escape," the former hostage said.

Earlier, other witnesses, too, claimed that many terrorists managed to escape unscathed. Former hostages also complained about the poor performance of fire-brigades during the security raid, the Kommersant Daily newspaper reports.

Thus, Zinaida Tsarakhova said that only one fire-engine arrived at the school. Moreover, the firefighters said they had not received orders to be there altogether. Meanwhile, the majority of hostages killed during the storming died in the blaze, buried under the roof of the building destroyed by fire, Tsarakhova said. - mosnews.com

Putin addresses Chechen parliament

GROZNY, Russia, Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the first session of the newly elected Chechen parliament Monday, calling for a clamp-down on insurgency. Putin arrived by helicopter in front of the parliament buildings in Grozny, and spent 30 minutes addressing the chamber.

He called for a rapid reconstruction of the city, damaged by several years of fighting by Islamic separatists, saying it should be completed by next year, the Itar-Tass news agency reported.

The Interfax news agency said Putin also urged the lawmakers to move to quell a large number of rebel-related kidnappings.

"You should do your utmost to put an end to abductions. You should find and punish people who breach the law, no matter who they are or what organizations they work for," he said, adding that the rebels must still be hunted down.

"It is also necessary to punish those who do not wish to lay down their arms, despite the opportunities they have been given to do so," Putin said. - science daily

No mistakes in handling of Beslan hostage crisis: prosecutor

Tue Dec 27,12:36 PM - Russia exonerated its security forces over the handling of last year's Beslan school hostage crisis, provoking angry reactions from victims' relatives who have accused authorities of incompetence.

"The expert analysis did not find mistakes in the actions of members of the crisis centre," Deputy Prosecutor-General Nikolai Shepel told a courtroom in the southern Russian city of Vladikavkaz, where the trial of suspected hostage-taker Nur-Pashi Kulayev is being held.

Victims' relatives have demanded that top Russian officials testify at the trial and claim investigators are covering up for a bungled attack on the school which they say resulted in loss of life that could have been avoided. According to the official version of events in early September 2004, a blast inside the school prompted an attack by Russian forces to free the hostages and 331 people were killed in the ensuing firefight, including 186 children and 31 hostage-takers.

"We believe the work of this committee was not objective.... The main aim was to cover up for top officials," Susanna Dudiyeva, head of the Beslan Mothers victim support group, told AFP.

President Vladimir Putin in September ordered prosecutors to open an inquiry into the hostage crisis after emotional protests by victims' mothers and criticism of Russian officers from the regional parliament. Relatives have accused Russian officials of lying about the number of hostages who were held at the school, using incendiary bombs in their attack and taking too long to rescue hostages as the crisis ended in chaos.

The report presented by prosecutors on Tuesday was drawn up by a committee of experts who analyzed the workings of a crisis centre that coordinated police, army and secret service during the siege between September 1 and 3 last year, Shepel said.

In the courtroom, relatives shouted at Shepel, asking: "Who was in this expert committee?", and "Why didn't they let us know the results?"

An interim report from a separate parliamentary inquiry looking into the handling of the Beslan crisis by authorities was expected to be announced on Wednesday. But the head of the inquiry, Deputy Federation Council Speaker Alexander Torshin, sought to play down expectations, saying "there will not be any sensations in the report." - news.yahoo.com

Two killed in south Russia blasts

Two people have been killed and several injured in three explosions in the city of Vladikavkaz in southern Russia, officials say. The blasts occurred within five minutes of each other at amusement arcades in the centre of the city. At least 13 people, most of them young, are said to have been injured in the explosions.

Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia, is in Russia's restive North Caucasus region near Chechnya.

Russian news agency Ria Novosti said that a man and a woman had been killed, citing North Ossetia health minister Aleksandr Reutov. One official said the authorities were treating the blasts as terrorism, but another suggested the blasts might be the result of a criminal dispute, AP news agency said.

Vladikavkaz is in the same region as Beslan, where more than 330 people died in 2004 when pro-Chechen gunmen seized hostages at a school. - BBC

Belarus KGB Says Opposition Planned School Bombings on Election Day

16.03.2006 - MosNews

Belarusian State Security Committee Chairman Stepan Sukhorenko has accused the opposition of conspiring to stage a coup, news agencies said Thursday. Sukharenko said he had evidence that the United States and Georgia were backing efforts to overthrow the country's current regime by force in Sunday's presidential elections.

Stepan Sukharenko showed a press conference in the Belarussian capital, Minsk, a video of an interview with a man he said was one of those involved in the plot, RIA Novosti reported. The man said he had been at a training camp in Georgia at which training was provided by "four Arabs [and] officers of the former Soviet army".

The man also said a colonel from the Georgian security services and American instructors had conducted examinations, and that the Americans had told them to bomb four polling stations at schools in Minsk during voting Sunday.

"The Americans told us to organize four explosions at schools. The place and time [of the attacks] were to be told [to us] later. Concrete locations were not indicated," the man said.

Sukharenko also showed video footage he said was of Georgian nationals confessing that they were to deliver money and "everything necessary" to create disturbances on March 19. He said it was possible other attacks were being organized.

"We know maybe only a part of what was being prepared," he said.

"We are in no way interfering with the rights of candidates, but we are obliged to state that an attempt to take power by force is being prepared in the country under cover of the elections," Sukhorenko said.

"Preparations are underway not for peaceful protests but for violent actions including the use of explosives and arson with the aim of sowing confusion," he said.

Sukhorenko said all attempts to destabilize the country in the run-up to Sunday's elections would be seen as terrorism.

"Anyone who will take to the streets in a bid to destabilize the situation will face terrorism charges," he warned.

President Lukashenko, labeled by Washington "the last dictator in Europe," is running for a third term on Sunday against three other candidates and is not expected to lose. - MosNews

Bomb kills seven in Russia's south

By Oliver Bullough 17th May 2006 MOSCOW (Reuters) -yahoo.com

A car exploded and killed seven people including a top Russian policeman in the southern Russian region of Ingushetia on Wednesday.

Among the dead was Dzhabrail Kostoyev, deputy head of the interior ministry in Ingushetia, two of his guards and four civilians, a police spokesman said.

Ingushetia borders Chechnya where separatist guerrillas have fought Russian rule for more than a decade. Rebels have pledged total war against police in the North Caucasus, saying they are collaborating with Russian occupiers.

Police initially said the car explosion in Nazran, Ingushetia's largest town, was a suicide bombing but later backtracked when the remains of a bomber could not be found.

"I cannot confirm this information because not a single body part has been found, only fragments of the car," said Nazir Yevloyev, spokesman for the local interior ministry, suggesting the bomb had been detonated remotely. "The jeep was thrown around 20 metres (yards) from the epicentre of the explosion and, sadly, a Zhiguli (car) coming the other way ended up under the jeep and four people died."

Television pictures showed scraps of twisted metal scattered along the road in Nazran. Burned out pistols and other weapons were scattered in the wreck of the jeep.

Islamist Web sites on Wednesday published comments from a rebel commander in Ingushetia, who pledged such attacks would increase.

"One of our clear duties is targeted work against specific individuals, and also preparation for appropriate military operations to destroy certain targets as an answer to the actions of the infidel," said Magomed Yevloyev, commander or "Amir" of the Ingush rebels, on www.kavkazcenter.com.


He said he had just returned from a meeting of rebel commanders with warlord Shamil Basayev, who has led the worst attacks on civilians in the 11 years of the Chechen war and tries to coordinate Islamist strikes across the Caucasus.

Fighting spread from Chechnya to the neighbouring regions of Dagestan and Ingushetia after Russian troops poured into de facto independent Chechnya in 1999, and is increasingly breaking out in the regions of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachayevo-Cherkessia further to the West.

Unknown gunmen killed the governor of a detention center in Karachayevo-Cherkessia, Interfax news agency reported on Wednesday. It said Khasan Zhanakayev, governor of the Cherkessk detention center, was shot dead in his car on his way to work.

A series of suicide bombings since 2000 have killed hundreds of people in Russia, targeting planes, trains, concerts, government buildings and other objects.

The last deadly suicide attack killed nine police officers in Chechnya in early 2005. One militant blew himself up without causing any other casualties in Dagestan in December.

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