Thursday, January 27, 2011

Window on Eurasia: Russia Losing War on Terrorism Because Moscow isn’t Doing What is Necessary, Commentators Say

Paul Goble

Vienna, January 27 – Unlike other countries which have suffered a major terrorist attack and then blocked further ones, Russia continues to suffer ever more of them, an indication that regardless of whether such violence is criminal or ideology, Moscow is “losing the war,” according to an increasing number of Russian analysts.
What makes this especially troubling, Roman Popkov writes in “Osobaya bukhva” today is that the Russian people should that “in exchange for freedom [they would get] security, but instead, [they] have received terrorism” (
While the population at large is not yet posing questions to the powers that be about this, many in the blogosphere are already raising them and suggesting some disturbing answers, Popkov says. “The majority of bloggers,” he says, are already talking about “the crying inadequacy of the special services which have not been able to prevent terrorist acts.”
Moreover, he continues, the criticism in the blogosphere increasingly concerns “not only the Interior Ministry but the FSB, the institution which recently has been able to avoid major scandals” but which one blogger says is staffed by people more interested in having a dacha than in protecting the people.
As one blogger put it, “the terrorists have come out of the outhouses [Putin promised to drown them in] and feel themselves quite comfortable in the heart of the country. It is understandable that terrorism is a serious question, and it is obvious that in any country, it is difficult to struggle with it.”
“But the question is simple,” he continues, “is what is going on [in Russia] a struggle against it? Show the entire country your dachas, apartments, cars and bank accounts. And we will be convinced who is working for the country and who is serving the Motherland, and who has rank only for the solution of his own needs. No one should be beyond question.”
“Unfortunately,” another blogger said, “nothing particularly unusual [or unexpected] took place in Domodedovo.” People need to recognize that “we are at war” and that since 1985, a civil war has been taking place. And still no end to that is visible.” Instead, one must say, that any end appears to be receding.
If Russian bloggers have been critical of the security services, Popkov continues, they are also very critical of the Russian media, noting that almost the only valuable information comes from social media like Twitter and the Internet rather than the conventional electronic or print outlets.
An even more sweeping denunciation of the security services and hence of the powers that be behind them was offered by the editors of the site, the portal of opposition leader Gary Kasparov, who suggested that Domodedovo showed Moscow is engaged in “an imitation of a struggle with terrorism” (
The powers that be, the editors of the portal say, have engaged in “absurd forms of the total imitation” of normal practices and “the distortion of the meanings” that these things have for all people. That began with the imitation of political competition and civil society, but now it has extended to an imitation of a struggle against terrorism.
Because everything is an imitation, they suggest, no one is ever held responsible for the failures of the security agencies to protect Russians and Russian cities. Instead, those at the top of “the power vertical” choose whom to blame in an effort to distract attention from their own failures to fight terrorism in an effective way.
“It is possible to accuse the airport management of a section of the militia for failing to maintain the demands of security,” they say. “But airports do not struggle with terrorist. The local department of the militia fulfills an assisting role, [while] the main work must be conducted at the level of the Interior Ministry, the FSB, and the National Anti-Terrorist Committee.
Indeed, they conclude, “the power vertical is wisely constructed. Having been established for the defense of citizens from terrorist acts, it covers those who are above from the threat of responsibility for any shortcomings,” just one of the ways in which the current Moscow struggle against terrorism has become an imitation of what a real struggle should be.

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