Chechen Rebel claims bombing responsibility

(Moscow Times) Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for the deadly Moscow metro explosions in a short video posted on a rebel web site late Wednesday, hours after two new suicide bombings killed at least 12 people in Dagestan.

The authorities had blamed Umarov for the Moscow bombings on Monday, which killed 39 people and injured 85 others, and they promised Wednesday to boost security on transportation, including the introduction of metal detectors in the Moscow metro.

Umarov said in a 4 1/2-minute video clip that the bombings were carried out on his personal orders in retaliation for an attack on impoverished Ingush and Chechens who were gathering wild garlic outside the Ingush village of Arshty on Feb. 11. He said Federal Security Service commandos intentionally attacked the civilians with knives and then made fun of the corpses.

Senior Russian officials had suggested that the Moscow attacks were in retaliation for FSB operations in the North Caucasus that killed two senior Chechen militants in recent weeks.

“As you all know, two special operations were carried out to destroy the infidels and to send a greeting to the FSB on March 29 in Moscow,” Umarov said in the video published on the Kavkaz Center web site.

One bombing occurred in the Lubyanka metro station near the FSB’s headquarters.

Umarov, who said the video was recorded Monday, promised that the attacks would continue.

Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev vowed that Umarov would be “neutralized” but said capturing him depended on a host of factors, “including the weather.”

More Russian suicide bombs – 12 deaths

North Caucasus, Russia – It was all too familiar. Two suicide bombers. Explosions. This time the blasts killed at least twelve people and injured 18 others in the southern Russian province of Dagestan this morning. Nine of the twelve deaths have been reoprted as police officials.

This morning’s attack come in the town of Kizlyar near Dagestan’s border with Chechnya. Regional Interior Ministry officials say the suicide bomber detonated explosives in a car after being pulled over by traffic police.

As investigators and residents gathered at the scene the second bomber wearing a police uniform approached and set off explosives, killing the town’s police chief among others.

Moscow remembers Metro bomb victims

The death toll rose to 39 as Moscow observed an official day of mourning on Tuesday. Commuters were returning to the Metro albeit a nerve racking experience for some. 

(photo: picturesofmoscow.com) Lyubanka Metro station.

Across the city flags flew at half-mast, and somber Muscovites laid flowers and lit candles at the Lyubanka and Park Kultury Metro stations hit by the blasts on Monday morning. Makeshift memorials were set up at both stations.

A young injured woman died early on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 39. The number of victims hospitalized is at 71.

(photo: http://moscowdailyshot.blogspot.com) Memorial at Park Kultury Metro station.

At Park Kultury, people left red carnations and tied white ribbons to a stand on the platform close to where the bomb went off. Some commuters made the Orthodox sign of the cross when passing the stations.

Federal and Moscow police were out in force especially at the city’s metro stations, and security was tightened on the networks in cities from St. Petersburg to Novosibirsk according to the President’s Security office. services for the dead were held at Russian Orthodox churches and other places of worship nationwide.

Moscow suicide bombers likely “black widows”

According to reports in the Moscow Times the two female suicide bombers who killed at least 38 people in the Moscow metro on Monday were likely avenging the death of a Muslim convert who was slain by FSB commandos earlier this month.

Over 900 Russians have died since the first female suicide bomber blew herself up in 2001. Known as “black widows” female suicide bombers have participated in two-thirds of the rebel attacks since the war with Chechnan rebels began after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

As the Moscow Times chronicles, after a series of horrific attacks from 2001 to 2004, a four-year lull was broken in late 2008 with a spate of bombings linked to Muslim convert born as Alexander Tikhomirov but known in Islamic circles as Said Buryatsky.

In his own diaries posted on rebel web sites, Buryatsky told of how he had convinced suicide bombers to take part in bombings last year. Federal Security Service commandos killed Buryatsky in a special operation in Ingushetia on March 2. The FSB said at the time that 30 suicide bombers trained by him remained at large.

Moscow bomb blasts, update

(Moscow: 05:30am Tuesday, 30 March)

With 38 dead and 73 persons hospitalized from two explosions in the capital yesterday, the Ministry of Health published on Monday evening the list of victims hospitalized was published to aid those seeking information on family members who were present on trains during the blast.

Meanwhile messages of solidarity began to arrive from Embassies of foreign countries around the world. Lawrence Cannon, Foreign Minister of Canada, spoke on behalf of many countries saying that the event was a “cowardly terrorist attacks” that must be investigated and the guilty punished. Cannon also consoled the families of victims and injured and called on the world community to rally in the struggle against the international terrorism.

An Emergency Situations meeting was held at the Kremlin. President Medvedev chaired the meeting at which FSB Director Alexander Bortnikov, Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu, Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika, Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, and Transport Minister Igor Levitin, among others.

President Medvedev leads the Emergency Situations meeting in a moment of silence for the victims.

President Medvedev concluded the meeting by saying, “One final point I want to make is that we will continue our efforts to stamp out and combat terrorism in our country. We will continue our counterterrorist operations with unflinching resolve until we have defeated this scourge. I want all of you, the heads of our law enforcement and security agencies, to remember this and make it your guiding principle – we will act unflinchingly and not stop until terrorism is defeated.”

Explosions in Moscow Metro, death toll rises

Shocked Russian commuters pondered the meaning of the latest bomb attacks after two bombs shook the Moscow Metro, causing carnage on the network’s busiest line.

Moscow police assist families in identifying victims. (photo: Moscow Times)

The explosions were triggered by female suicide bombers in trains at two central underground stations. The first explosion hit the Lubyanka Metro as passengers were getting on and off the train. The second blast rocked the Park Kultury metro station about 40 minutes after the first explosion.

Russian medics help a passenger who was injured by the explosion at the Park Kultury metro in Moscow. (photo: France24)

Both stations are on the Red Line, which runs close to the Kremlin and is one of the busiest in Moscow, near the ex-KGB headquarters and Gorky Park. Two female suicide bombers, reportedly in Muslim dress, blew themselves up on the packed trains at the height of Moscow’s morning rush hour.

As news reports of at least 38 deaths reached commuters, traffic was jammed in the morning rush hour with increased car traffic. Reports say that taxi drivers were doubling prices and mobile-phone systems quickly overloaded as commuters tried to to make sure loved ones were safe and reach employers to explain they would be late. 

Muscovites could be seen calling relatives for rides to work and many took local gypsy cabs, sorting out alternate routes to work. There was no immediate claim of responsibility from the blasts that killed dozens in the worst attack on the Russian capital since February 2004.

Russia drops 2 time zones, 10 remain

(Moscow) The largest country in the world will lose two time zones this weekend. President Dimitry Medvedev has signed into law the action which will reduce the number of time zones to 10.

The President also questioned the need for daylight savings time but that discussion will be delayed to another time apparently. Five regions located to the west of Moscow will find themselves closer to the capital by an hour after the change and regional officials say that this will make it easier to communicate with Moscow.

As a result of the changes Chukotka and Kamchatka in Russia’s far east, south Siberian Kemerovo, as well as Samara and Udmurtia further west, will find themselves one hour closer to the capital by simply not moving their clocks forward an hour. This will leave nine time zones between Moscow and the Pacific Ocean, and a tenth zone remains in the Kaliningrad region on the Baltic Sea.

President Medvedev sits in his Gorki office while examines Russia's new time zone map. (photo: Presidential Press Service)

President Medvedev had suggested the changes during his state-of-the-nation address last fall when saying the country should reduce its time zones and rethink the logic of daylight saving time. The President maintains that the change will stimulate business growth and make it easier for Moscow to govern regions so far away.

As a result of the changes Chukotka and Kamchatka in Russia’s far east, south Siberian Kemerovo, as well as Samara and Udmurtia further west, will find themselves one hour closer to the capital by simply not moving their clocks forward an hour. This will leave nine time zones between Moscow and the Pacific Ocean, and a tenth zone remains because of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea.

President Medvedev had suggested the changes during his state-of-the-nation address last fall when saying the country should reduce its time zones and rethink the logic of daylight saving time. The President maintains that the change will stimulate business growth and make it easier for Moscow to govern regions so far away.

The only significant opposition so far has been in the Samara region however more changes may be coming in the future. Both the President and Prime Minister are concerned about the time differences in relation to governance from Moscow. Mr Medvedev understands that Russia stretches all the way from Kaliningrad, next to Poland, to more than 5,500 miles to the eastern tip of Chukotka, across the Bering Strait from Alaska.

This time difference means that when the Kremlin’s bell tower on Red Square tolls 9 a.m. at the start of the day in Moscow, it’s already 6 p.m. in the farthest part of Russia’s Far East. As less than a quarter of Russia’s 142 million people live east of the Urals, the boundary between Europe and Asia, Moscow would like to cut the time zones even further – down to 4.

Opponents argue that such changes would impose great lifestyle changes on the people who live in those areas.