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Posts Tagged ‘Volgograd

Umarov Wins (Again)

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Umarov has done what he set out to do.  He has proven that he is capable of carrying out some kind of attack.  And he has already done that.  Or rather, he has proven that Riyad-us-Saliheen is still operational, and capable of infiltrating Russia proper. 

Now all Umarov has to do is sit back and wait.  Because anything that happens in the next month or so will be blamed on the North Caucasian insurgency (aka: Caucasus Emirate).

The murder spree in Stavropol this week is a prime example.  The authorities now allege the crime was committed by men from the Zolksy Jamaat (a militant group) from Kabardino-Balkaria in revenge for the fact that they were nearly wiped out back in October.  This sounds a little too cut-and-dried to me.  There are too many unknowns about the Jamaat system for the cops to make that claim with any authority.  Therefore, I am not ready to dismiss the organised crime theory.  

Meanwhile, it took the authorities 2 weeks to round up six suspects in the car bombing in Pyatigorsk.  And they are still looking for the organisers of the twin bombings in Volgograd.  

So Umarov wins (again).

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Written by Nina Jobe

January 11, 2014 at 9:55 AM

Pyatigorsk & Volgograd2

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With just 40 days until the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, a suicide bombing took place this afternoon in Volgograd, Russia.  Media reports 18 dead and 60 injured so far, but that number is expected to rise.  It appears that the perpetrator of the attack was a female, keeping in line with previous attacks of a similar nature.  The suicide attack on a Volgograd bus in October was also committed by a woman.

On Friday evening, a car bombing took place in Pyatigorsk, Stavropol.  I expect we will know more about how the bomb used in the Pyatigorsk attack was constructed and what it was made with in the next few days.  While they did manage to blow out quite a few windows and killed 3 men, the act itself appeared to be amateur.  Caucasian Knot reported [ru] that the location chosen did not experience high traffic, with a local saying that she thought the attack was against the police and not civilians.  However, if the goal of Pyatigorsk was psychological (and it appears that it was), the amount of physical damage inflicted was immaterial.

These people are not strategists, neither are they experienced.  Even so, the likelihood of similar acts in the next 6 weeks is very high.  The goal is psychological – striking fear into the hearts of the authorities, and making them panic.  Unfortunately, what that means is that there is no way to predict the next target.  The selection of Volgograd and Pyatigorsk seems to indicate that the terrorists cannot manage to travel much farther than that.  Either due to problems with papers, or not enough money to bribe their way through checkpoints.  Or maybe they’re just not trying.  Maybe being closer to Sochi is the goal rather than a strike in Moscow.

I am on the road for the rest of the day.  Here are some links to follow for updates on Volgograd:

RT’s liveblog (in English): http://rt.com/news/volgograd-suicide-bombing-updates-940/

A Twitter list: https://twitter.com/rm867/lists/sochi-2014

Written by Nina Jobe

December 29, 2013 at 6:15 AM

Security vs Corruption at Sochi

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With a little more than 100 days to go until the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Sochi, security has become a central focus.  Any security system has its weak spots, but as two incidents this week have shown, there are too many holes in Russia’s system. 

The first incident was a bus bombing in Volgograd on Monday afternoon [http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2013/10/a_suspected_black_wi.php].  A female suicide bomber boarded a bus and blew it up.  As I wrote over in my Global Voices column [http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/10/23/in-wake-of-suicide-bombing-russians-question-their-security/], some in the Russian blogosphere were quick to point out that after 14 years of Putin, Russia’s security apparatus still cannot protect its citizens. 

The second incident actually took place last month, but came to light only yesterday.  RIA Novosti [http://en.ria.ru/crime/20131023/184311460/Passenger-Skips-Russian-Airport-Checks-for-Bribe-Worth-47.html] reported that a man in Yakutsk bought a domestic plane ticket on a discount, using a false passport.  When he arrived at the airport, he bribed a security officer to let him through “pre-flight inspection” with a bottle of cognac and a box of chocolates worth approximately $47.  The police arrested the culprit before boarding the plane, but the fact that he got as far as the departure lounge is worrying.

Two stories, two different outcomes, but both reveal the single greatest threat to security surrounding the Winter Olympics in Sochi.  There has been a lot of outrage about the security system put in place by the Russian security services for Sochi 2014.   A report [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/06/sochi-olympic-venues-kremlin-surveillance] by security experts Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan “found that phone and Internet networks in Sochi have been retrofitted with a surveillance system, known by its Russian acronym Sorm, which allows the FSB to eavesdrop on phone and data communications in the city [Sochi]” [http://www.themoscowtimes.com/olympic_coverage/article/all-communications-traffic-to-be-monitored-at-sochi-olympics-report-says/487352.html]. 

But what good is a state of the art security system if a man can bribe his way onto a plane for under $50? 

Written by Nina Jobe

October 24, 2013 at 2:57 AM