Terror Strikes Moscow’s Lubyanka and Park Kultury


(Photo from Associated Press, via Financial Times)

Another senseless and outrageous terrorist attack has gripped Moscow today, this time striking the Metro stations of Lubyanka and Park Kultury, as apparently two separate female suicide bombers (raising memories of the black widows) blew up two train cars, claiming the lives of more than 40 innocent people during the morning rush hour.  The potential consequences are unlikely to be positive:  a re-invigorated military campaign in the North Caucasus, wider mandate for authorities to restrict liberties, and a deepening sense of public insecurity … of course it is much to early to speculate.  After the cut are some links and excerpts which piece together the attacks.

On Kremlin.ru, President Dmitry Medvedev is exceedingly pragmatic and unemotional:

The Prosecutor General’s Office and theInvestigative Committee must continue collecting evidence and conductinga thorough investigation, though without hampering traffic in the metrosystem, of course. Traffic must resume as soon as the investigationswork has been completed, so as not to cause problems for the city.  (…)

One final point I want to make is that we willcontinue our efforts to stamp out and combat terrorism in our country.We will continue our counterterrorist operations with unflinchingresolve until we have defeated this scourge. I want all of you, theheads of our law enforcement and security agencies, to remember this andmake it your guiding principle – we will act unflinchingly and not stopuntil terrorism is defeated.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is still much better and giving the people what they want, at least rhetorically, and has very succinctly promised blood.

The Obama administration certainly didn’t get much time to celebrate the victory of its latest treaty with Russia to replace START-1, but were quick to get this statement out:

I send my deepest condolences to the people of Russia after the terribleloss of life and injuries resulting from the bombings on the MoscowMetro. The American people stand united with the people of Russia inopposition to violent extremism and heinous terrorist attacks thatdemonstrate such disregard for human life, and we condemn theseoutrageous acts. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost lovedones, and I wish all who sustained injuries a successful recovery.

The eyewitness accounts collected so far point to diverse reactions.  From Reuters:

“It was very scary. I saw a dead body,” saidValentin Popov, a 19-year-old student traveling on a train to the ParkKultury station, told Reuters.

“Everyonewas screaming. There was a stampede at the doors. I saw one womanholding a child and pleading with people to let her through, but it wasimpossible.”

From the Moscow Times:

“I was in the middle of the train when somewhere in the first orsecond carriage there was a loud blast. I felt the vibrationsreverberate through my body,” an unidentified man who was on the trainat Park Kultury told RIA-Novosti in a video interview.

“People were yelling like hell,” he said. “There was a lot of smoke,and in about two minutes everything was covered in smoke.”

“I was moving up on the escalator when I heard a loud bang, a blast. Adoor near the passage way arched, was ripped out and a cloud of dustcame down on the escalator,” a man named Alexei told state-run Rossiya24 news channel.

“People started running, panicking, falling on each other,” he said.

According to one witness interviewed by the Financial Times, there were some hardened Muscovites who seemed oddly accustomed to these kinds of attacks:

One witness, who was in a train carriage at Park Kultury during thesecond blast, told journalists: “We heard a not very loud pop and didn’tunderstand what it was. Then when we understood it was a terrorist act,everyone started to leave the carriage. But there was no panic.” Hesaid the acrid smell of burning plastic was in the air.

Some raw footage from Associated Press of the aftermath, mostly cribbed from RT: