RA’s Daily Russian News Blast – March 31, 2010


TODAY: Second bomb attack in Dagestan kills 12 more, public debate turns to anger; Kyiv to install surveillance cameras; state TV defends poor coverage of bombings; Luzhkov praises Muscovites whilst Putin makes sewer references; FSB concerned about further attacks; Chelyabinsk rebel captured; Yukos prosecution concludes presentation of evidence. 
Two further blasts have gone off in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan, both suicide bombings close to the Interior Ministry, killing 12 people (including 8 policemen and the city’s police chief).  Public debate has shifted into angry questions about whether or not the state should have been able to prevent Monday’s bombs, says the Washington Post, with some questioning why equipment for detecting explosives was not installed after the last Moscow subway bombing six years ago.  Kyiv wants to install video cameras on its subway trains.  A spokesperson for government-run Channel 1 is defending the station’s failure to provide in-depth reporting on Monday’s attack: ‘The majority of people who are not journalists leave the house before 9 in the morning. After that, the majority of people who watch TV are housewives.‘ The bombings have still not been claimed.

Moscow Mayor Yury Lukhkov has praised Muscovites for their ‘restraint and understanding‘ following the attack.  Vladimir Putin said that those responsible would be ‘dragged from the bottom of the sewers‘, as he was criticized by a United Russia deputy for showing no interest in ‘spearheading a response to the bombings‘.  The Times says, ‘The ability to endure adversity is one of the great Russian traits‘.  Yulia Latynina writes on the playing-down of terrorist attacks that take place outside of major cities.  
The FSB are concerned that Monday’s suicide bombers ‘were part of a 30-strong suicide squad trained by a Chechen terrorist leader‘, and are warning of further possible attacks.  The Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism says that it isn’t ‘global jihad‘ that drives Chechen suicide bombers, but ‘foreign military occupation‘.  The FSB captured a high-profile rebel leader in Chelyabinsk yesterday in ‘one of the largest raids against suspected militants in recent years‘. 
An intriguing development in the Yukos case this week, whereby ‘each of the prosecution’s 51 witnesses failed to testify that the accused are guilty as charged‘ and the team concluded their year-long presentation of evidence, meaning that Mikhail Khodorkovsky will finally be able to take the stand when the trial reconvenes on April 5. 
PHOTO: A man lays flowers in memory of the victims of the suicide bombing at Park Kultury station. (Vladimir Davydov/Reuters)