Copyright © 2021

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Experts say the Kremlin may have been behind the St. Petersburg terrorist acts

The terrorist act in the St. Petersburg metro took the lives of at least 15. Photo:
Experts say the Kremlin may have been behind the St. Petersburg terrorist acts
This article was originally published on Kyiv Post, and is republished with permission.

The terrorist acts in Saint Petersburg were likely organized by the Russian special services. This is according to member of the bureau of the Federal Political Council of the “Solidarity” movement, close advisor of the murdered politician Boris Nemtsov, Leonid Martynyuk in an interview with our publication.

Martynyuk calls attention to the fact that before the tragic events in the Metro the mass media in Russia were focused on the unexpectedly huge protests against corruption and the speeches of long-haul truckers, and therefore it was quite convenient for the Russian authorities to change the news of the day.

“Besides, the pretext of terrorist acts made it possible for the authorities to turn public sector employees toward support of Putin ‘against terror’ and unite them against the opposition. Several ‘experts’ on Russian TV channels already have begun to assert that the terrorist acts may have been the work of ‘the Ukrainian Fascist Underground,’ that unity is required because ‘the whole world is against Russia,’ including the terrorists, Ukraine, and the West, and consequently the pro-western opposition inside the country,” he notes.

Leonid Martynyuk did his own investigation of the tragic events and noted some oddities that in his words indicate with a high degree of certainty that the Russian Special Services organized the terrorist act.

“First, from the beginning, Russian mass media reported two explosions because they relied on information from the Ministry for Emergencies and the Investigative Commission. I find it difficult to imagine that such organizations could mistake one explosion for two. Subsequent information revealed that there was no second explosion and that a bag containing explosives was found (on Rebellion Square) and was disarmed. It would seem that the Investigative Commission and the Ministry for Emergencies knew beforehand that there were supposed to be two explosions but only after the fact learned that the second device malfunctioned,” concludes Leonid.

The Russian dissident also finds odd the identities of the people who disarmed the second device.

“According to the first media version the bag was discovered by a member of Zolotov’s Russian Guard (National Guard) who by a happy coincidence knew all about this type of explosive device and possessed the skill required to disarm it. This information appeared in particular on the Zvezda and Moskovskiy Komsomolets TV channels. Later the Russian Guard spread a second version according to which they send four men in response to a normal call. But these versions are mutually exclusive. The TV screens displayed a member of the Russian guard, for some reason wearing a mask, who improbably described how he himself disarmed the device in tones reminiscent of the bad actors from soap operas on the First Channel,” enumerates the expert.

Separately Leonid Martynyuk comments on the identities of the “terrorists” that also changed during the course of the day.

“In the beginning, they named a certain Ilyas Nikitin as a suspect, a man of typically Muslim appearance – a black coat and hat and with a beard. Obviously, the presenters decided he had perished in the explosion and that no one could dispute them. However, he turned out to be alive, went to the airport, wanted to take a flight but frightened passengers would not let him board the plane. Then Ilyas went to the police and said he was innocent,” says Leonid.

The second “terrorist” was supposedly a certain Maksim Aryshev.

“His name appeared in “Fontanka” and this version lasted all of an hour and a half. Then Maksim’s parents and relatives denied it. It was sufficient that the photo published by the media was not that of Aryshev,” recalls Martynyuk.

The third and thus far the last “terrorist” became a certain Akbardzhon Dzhalilov. He was declared dead, “Rosbalt” journalists confirm that they managed to reach him on his cell phone after the explosion, and he told them that there must be “some sort of mistake.”

“After this, no journalist could reach him, and the cell phone number ceased to exist. Dzhalilov is now likely dead and unable to deny the accusation. In this respect, Andrey Piontkovskiy advanced the suggestion that the terrorist act was arranged in a hurry in response to the 26 March meetings and therefore the Special Services ‘selected’ several different candidates for the role of the terrorist. The Kremlin obviously did not anticipate such a flood of protests and understood that the situation was out of control,” suggests the expert.

In Leonid’s opinion, the Russian authorities did little to prevent Aleskey Navalny from making his film about Dmitri Medvedev inasmuch as Putin might be planning to replace the Prime Minister before the end of his elected term.

“It is entirely possible that there was a tacit agreement between them that Medvedev would remain in his post until the next elections, but Putin wanted to replace Dmitri Anatolyevich with someone more suited to the crisis situation. However, in accordance with his standing rule that ‘we do not give up our own,’ he could not simply dismiss Medvedev. Therefore it is possible that Putin decided to provoke his assistant to voluntarily retire and did not interfere with Navalny’s film or organize meetings. However, the result was not what he expected inasmuch as in St. Petersburg the loudest slogans were directed not against Medvedev, but against Putin himself. Therefore the authorities had to take rapid action,” suggests the dissident.

A similar opinion is held by sociologist, analyst and publicist Igor Eydman, who by the way is a cousin of the murdered Boris Nemtsov.

“The authorities could not have known beforehand about the second bomb that they prematurely thought had exploded unless they themselves were the organizers of the terrorist act. The criminals gave themselves away,” he says.

American journalist and publicist David Satter who conducted a detailed study of the 1999 apartment bombings in Moscow is more cautious in his evaluation, but also does not exclude the possibility that the Russian Special Services played a role in the tragedy.

“Their participation in an act of terror is always possible, but in this case we cannot confirm this with any certainty. It goes without saying that it is very suspicious that the tragedy occurred immediately following the protest demonstrations, and now we are seeing individual members of the State Duma call for a ban on meetings following the terrorist act. No less suspicious is the initial announcement of two explosions rather than one and the accusation against an innocent person. The way in which the terrorists worked is dissimilar to that of suicide bombers. They usually act simultaneously at different places. They don’t bomb the Metro in one place and only leave a device in a second,” noted the American expert in an interview with our site.

Nevertheless, David Satter emphasizes that for the time being there is insufficient information, and it is therefore advisable to refrain from categorical accusations.

“We have hard evidence of the participation of Russian Special Services in the 1999 bombings, and I would not wish to discredit them by drawing similar conclusions in the absence of equally serious proof. However, as I said already, there are many suspicious circumstances here that demand an explanation. It is also very important to observe how the Russian authorities will use the incident,” concluded David Satter.

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here