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Explosions At St. Petersburg Subway Stations Kill At Least Ten

St Petersburg Subway Bombing

Two subway stations in St. Petersburg, Russia were rocked with explosions this morning, killing at least ten people and injuring dozens:

MOSCOW — Explosions at two subway stations in St. Petersburg killed at least 10 people on Monday afternoon, as President Vladimir V. Putin was in the city, Russia’s second largest, for a meeting and a speech, officials said.

Andrei Kibitov, a spokesman for the St. Petersburg governor, told the Rossiya-24 news channel that the explosions had killed about 10 people and wounded at least 50 others.

The subway system was shut after the attacks, which occurred around 2:45 p.m. at the Sennaya Square and Technology Institute stations, in the city center. Both stations are important transit hubs and are normally crowded with passengers, though the explosions occurred before the start of the evening rush.

Mr. Putin, in a televised statement less than an hour after the explosions, said he had spoken with the heads of the special services, including the F.S.B., as well as with law enforcement officials, who he said “will do everything to find out the causes of what had happened.”

Speaking from the Constantine Palace in the Strelna district of St. Petersburg, about 12 miles west of the blasts, he added: “The government, both on the city and federal levels, will do everything to support families of the victims and injured.”

Images circulated on social media showing a damaged subway car and several people lying on a subway platform, apparently with injuries.

The two stations are adjacent on the No. 2 subway line, which runs north-south through St. Petersburg. Both of the stations are transfer points with other subway lines.

Mr. Putin was in St. Petersburg for a meeting with the president of Belarus, Alexander G. Lukashenko, a traditional ally who has recently feuded with the Kremlin, and to give a speech at the All-Russia People’s Front, a political group started by the president.

This isn’t the first time that there’s been an attack on public transportation systems in Russia. In 2010, subway stations in Moscow were hit by bombings that resulted in the deaths of dozens of people. This attack was later linked to terrorists supporting rebels in Chechnya, the Muslim region in southern Russia that has been the subject of intermittent fighting many times over the past twenty years since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Chechnya is also the region of Russia from which the Tsarnaev brothers, who perpetrated the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon, originated from and there were reports that elder brother Tamerlan visited the region and met with terror groups during his visit to Russia in the years before the nomination. Moscow’s subway had also been hit twice before in February 2004 and September 2004 in bombings that resulted in the deaths of more than 40 people between the two incidents. Additionally, Russia has seen many other serious attacks of terrorism such as the bombing of apartment buildings in Moscow that resulted in nearly 300 deaths and more than 1,000 injuries, a 2004 hostage crisis at a theater in Moscow and resulted in more than 170 dead and more than 700 injuries, and, perhaps most infamously, a siege and shooting at a school in Beslan in the North Caucasus region that resulted in hundreds of deaths and more than 750 injuries. These attacks were also carried out by attacker sympathetic to the cause of Chechen independence.

While it hasn’t been officially called a terrorist act yet, it seems clear that what happened in St. Petersburg today was an act of terror, it certainly seems to fall within the pattern that has been established in Russia in the past. As for potential suspects, one must again look to the Chechens as the most likely source of the attack since they’ve done things like this before and they would seem to be the ones most likely to have a beef with Russian government policy. At the same time it is worth noting that there have been reports in recent years of ISIS moving into areas of southern Russia and forming alliances among the Chechen and other rebel groups that have sprung up among Russia’s Muslim population. It’s possible that they played a role in this, or that this is meant as revenge for Russia’s role in aiding Syria in the civil war that includes fighting against ISIS and its allies in that nation. Additionally, the fact that this happened while Putin was in town suggests a level of planning and a deliberate slap at Russia’s President that could be expected from ISIS given their actions in the past.

Photo via CNN

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    There’s considerable speculation that this might have been the act of Chechens. Entirely reasonable, given that–as you point out–the Chechens have been responsible for so many recent terror attacks against Russia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  2. grumpy realist says:

    Those poor people. I hope they got any injured to hospitals in time.

    Brings it home to me because I know that train station rather well having used it on visits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  3. bandit says:

    Terror murders – finally something for the OTB psychos to be happy about.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 24

  4. Gustopher says:

    In this era of fake news, it’s worth noting that there are still a lot of questions about who did the 1999 Russian Apartment Bombings.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_Russian_apartment_bombings

    With no strong functioning independent news organizations operating in Russia, I don’t think we will ever know who is responsible for this bombing, just who the Russian government blames for it (which may actually be who is responsible).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  5. CSK says:

    @bandit:

    I notice no one taking pleasure in this news except, perhaps, for you, shrivel-souled little creature that you are..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  6. KM says:

    @bandit:

    What the hell is wrong with you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  7. Surreal American says:

    @bandit:

    Indeed. You look happy enough.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @bandit:
    Sniffing the lead-dogs ass has finally sent you around the bend.
    What a pathetic person.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  9. Slugger says:

    This evil, stupid, and gratuitous act does remind us of the shining courage of the citizens of this city. I strongly recommend The 900 Days: The Siege of Leningrad by Harrison Salisbury. This truly epic tale shows us that violence and intimidation can not win.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. Ig'nint in Daejeon says:

    @bandit: I take it that you’re speaking for yourself and from experience, yes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. Paul Hooson says:

    I don’t want to see any country a victim of terrorist violence. All people have the right to live in peace and security. However, Russia will never join the fight against ISIS in any meaningful way unless ISIS attacks Russians in some way. For some reason this terrorist group avoids picking a fight with Russia, instead targeting Western and other Muslim targets. – In the case of this particular terror attack in Russia, it appears that other Terrorists and not ISIS is involved.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0