Spectacolul ideilor pe hartă

02/apr/2010 O tragedie rusească: „The Economist” despre atentatul de la Moscova

After the Moscow bombings. Another Russian tragedy

Two horrifying terrorist metro bombings in Moscow, but still there is a need for a new approach to the north Caucasus

Mar 31st 2010 | MOSCOW | From The Economist print edition

BY EARLY evening on March 29th Moscow’s metro was functioning normally. It was emptier than usual and some people crossed themselves as they boarded. Blood stains, pieces of shattered glass and flowers marked the sites where 12 hours earlier two bombs had killed at least 39 people. The first explosion struck just before 8am at Lubyanka station, near the headquarters of Russia’s security service, the FSB. Within 40 minutes a second bomb went off at Park Kultury. Both bombs, say the authorities, were detonated by young female suicide bombers. They put the blame on the north Caucasus, a mostly Muslim region. Some Russian reports say the Moscow police may have had a warning. Yet terrorists can slip through any net, especially given the woeful state of the Russian police.

The security services soon identified the two suicide bombers and their minders on security cameras as they boarded their trains. The response of the emergency services was fast and efficient, evacuating people, providing access to ambulances and setting up a special headquarters. Indeed, in large measure the city coped well with the attacks.

That may be because Moscow’s metro has had several terrorist attacks in the past two decades. The deadliest was in 2004, when 41 people died. That black year saw two bombs on the Moscow metro, two lost aircraft and, worst of all, the siege of a packed school in Beslan, North Ossetia.

Since then Moscow has had no terrorist attacks and has lived in relative comfort, insulated from the simmering violence of the north Caucasus. The war in Chechnya was over and the republic appeared relatively calm under its strongman president, Ramzan Kadyrov. This former rebel had secured elements of autonomy, and massive subsidies, for Chechnya from Moscow.

However, in recent years, violence has spread from Chechnya throughout the region. (Alexander Bortnikov, head of the Russian security service, was careful to identify the sources of the Moscow bombing as the north Caucasus, not Chechnya.) Russia’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, has described the situation in the north Caucasus as Russia’s biggest domestic political problem. Two days after the Moscow attacks, a pair of bombs exploded in Dagestan, which neighbours Chechnya, killing many and injuring scores.

Arbitrary killings, disappearances, torture, inter-clan warfare and corruption have become normal in the region. As Russia’s own officials have admitted, some of the money and weapons come from corrupt bureaucrats who pay off terrorists. The corruption and brutality of those who identify themselves as representatives of the state have also helped the terrorists to recruit radicalised youths.

Last month Doku Umarov, a terrorist leader and the self-proclaimed emir of the north Caucasus, warned that war was coming to Russia’s cities. Several high-ranking leaders of militant organisations led by him have been killed in counter-terrorist operations in recent weeks. Some observers see the Moscow bombings as an act of revenge. Others say they would have been in preparation for months.

Few Russians outside the north Caucasus pay attention to the violence in the region. Although it is part of the Russian Federation, few Muslims from the region feel comfortable and welcome outside their home. Yet as the Moscow metro bombings show, the north Caucasus is part of Russia—and changing the situation there requires reforms in the whole country.

Even after the Moscow attacks, there is little public discussion about the roots of the violence in the north Caucasus. Instead, politicians and commentators have talked up the explosions to their own political advantage. Apologists for the Kremlin blame the civilian deaths on liberals who destabilise the country with their criticism of the authorities. The government has used previous terrorist attacks to justify scrapping independent television broadcasts and cancelling regional elections. This makes the apologists’ pseudo-patriotic slogans of unity with the Kremlin all the more alarming. Yet the Kremlin’s opponents, just as worryingly, all but accuse it of orchestrating the attacks as an excuse to grab more power.

Few Russian public figures rose above immediate political concerns. An exception was Lyudmila Alexeyeva, a veteran human-rights defender, who was one of only a few to agonise over whether to join an anti-government protest on March 31st. In the end, as she wrote in her blog, she decided to pay her respects to the dead instead. Depressingly few politicians or other public figures in Russia even recognised her dilemma.


2 aprilie 2010 - Posted by | Geopolitica, Intelo | , ,

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