Skip to comments.Terror-99 (Russian Reporters/Former FSB Agents Accuse FSB of Russian Apartment Bombings)
Posted on 10/09/2004 6:04:14 PM PDT by FearGodNotMen
The Terror of 9/99: Fact Sheet
September 1999 was the month of terror in Russia. Several bombs went off within days of each other, killing nearly 300 and injuring more than 550.
On August 31st, 1999, a bomb exploded during rush hour at the Manezh shopping mall in the center of Moscow. Forty people were injured, one person died.
On September 4th, a truck exploded in the military housing complex in the city of Buinaksk. Sixty-four people died under the ruins of a five-story building, 23 of them children. 133 were injured.
On the night of September 9th, a powerful blast destroyed an apartment building on Guryanov Street in Moscow. Ninety-four people died, 164 were injured.
On September 13th at 5a.m. - another blast on Kashirskoye Shosse in Moscow killed 119 people in their sleep.
Three days later, on September 16th, an apartment building in Volgodonsk went up into the air. Seventeen people died under the ruins of the building, 72 were injured.
On September 22nd, an imminent explosion was averted in the city of Ryazan. Sacks of white substance and a detonator were found in the basement of an apartment building. Experts determined that the white powder was hexogen, a powerful explosive. The residents were evacuated, and soon congratulated by government officials with having been saved from a deadly explosion, as the bomb was supposed to go off at 5:30am.
The Ryazan local police got on the trail and, within 48 hours, arrested the suspects. Much to the surprise of the arresting officers, the terrorists produced identification from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), a successor of the KGB. Faced with a national scandal, the government changed the story and claimed that the incident in Ryazan was not an averted terrorist act, but FSB's 'readiness exercise'. Nikolai Patrushev, director of the FSB, said that the sacks contained sugar and the detonator was a dummy.
The Ryazan incident led to widespread speculations about the involvement of Russian secret services in all previous explosions. But the FSB classified all Ryazan evidence "top secret" for reasons of "national security". (Full Ryazan story)"
The War and Putin's Presidency
The government blamed the explosions on Chechen separatists, swaying the public opinion in favor of the new war. On September 23, 1999, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered air strikes against Chechnya. The nationalist hysteria set off by the bombings helped Mr. Putin win Presidential elections in 2000.
But the quick, victorious war that the new President promised to the Russian people turned out to be a bloody quagmire. Thousands of Russian soldiers, and tens of thousand of Chechen civilians have been killed, and many more lost their homes, making Chechnya a humanitarian catastrophe. Atrocities penetrated by the Russian army - unsurpassed in Europe since World War II - prompted accusations of genocide.
As for the bombings of September '99, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, "questions about those attacks, like Russia's conduct in Chechnya, continue to follow Mr. Putin like a shadow", and indeed put the very legitimacy of the government in question. According to opinion polls, about half of the Russians believe that the FSB may have been complicit in the bombings.
Over the years, the authorities have been desperately trying to prove a Chechen connection to the bombings.
In the aftermath of the blasts, the police picked up Timur Dakhilgov, a native of Chechnya, who confessed to the bombings under torture, only to be released a few weeks later without charges. By the end of 2001, five Chechen rebels had been accused by the FSB of the Moscow attacks, but the charges were dropped for lack of evidence.
In December 2003, two Chechen rebels, Adam Dekkushev and Yusuf Krymshamkhalov, went on trial for complicity in the bombings. Their trial was closed to the press and the public. According to unofficial reports, no evidence linking the defendants to the Moscow blasts was presented. Dekkushev pleaded innocent on all counts. Krymshamkhalov admitted involvement in the preparation of the Volgodonsk bomb. But he said that he later came to suspect the organizers -- who had told him that the bomb was for a Russian military target -- of being FSB plants.
According to the FSB, the main suspect in the Moscow bombings is Achemez Gochiyayev, who is believed to be hiding in Georgia. The FSB says he personally rented the basements in the Moscow apartment houses where the bombs were planted.
A Note from the Prime Suspect: What Gochiyaev told Litvinenko
In July 2002, Alexander Litvinenko, an ex-FSB agent who has been granted political asylum in England, and has co-authored a book about the bombings, published a letter from Achemez Gochiyayev, the main suspect, sent from his hideout.
Gochiyayev claimed that he had nothing to do with the bombings, but had been framed by a business associate, whom he later suspected of being an FSB agent. The man, he said, had rented the basements in four residential buildings, ostensibly as storage space for their company. Notably, Gochiyayev said that after the second blast, before going into hiding, he tipped off the police about the two other bombs. The authorities never explained how these bombs were found.
A Lawyer in Jail: The Findings of Mikhail Trepashkin
Mikhail Trepashkin, a lawyer representing a victim's family, was arrested in Moscow on a fabricated charge a week before he was to take part in the bombings trial of December 2003. At the trial, he planned to present new evidence linking the FSB to the Moscow blasts.
After Trepashkin's arrest, a Moscow newspaper published his report. He found the landlord of one of the bombed buildings who identified the man who had rented the space. This was not Gochiyayev, but an undercover agent of the FSB who specialized in infiltration of the Chechen groups, and who was killed in a hit-and-run car accident some months after the blasts.
Trepashkin is held for illegal arms possession, but he says that a gun has been planted by the FSB in his car in order to prevent him from appearing in court.
Three Suspicious Incidents
Over the years, three other suspicious incidents came to light, which were never investigated or explained by the authorities:
- On September 14, 1999, Gennady Seleznev, the speaker of the Duma known for his close links with the FSB, announced a terrorist attack on the previous night. But he made a mistake -- instead of referring to the bombings at Kashirskoye Shosse in Moscow, he spoke about a building blown up in Volgodonsk -- three days before it actually happened.
- Shortly after the Moscow bombings, a soldier, Pvt. Pinyaev, has discovered sacks marked "sugar" at a military warehouse he was guarding. He took some to sweeten his tea only to discover that the substance was anything but sweet. An investigation ensued establishing that the sacks contained hexogen, the explosive used in the bombings. The story was leaked to the press and led to the FSB's investigation of the "breach of national security" and the transfer of Pvt. Pinyaev.
- In March 2002, Nikita Chekulin, the Deputy Director of Moscow Explosives Research Institute, requested asylum in the U.K. He disclosed documents demonstrating that large quantities of hexogen have been illegally transferred from military depots to several front companies, which he suspected were set up by the FSB. An investigation of these transactions initiated by the police has been suppressed by the FSB.
Unofficial Investigation: Two Lawmakers Dead
The pro-government majority in the State Duma has blocked the initial efforts of a parliamentary investigation into the 9/99 blasts. An independent Public Commission for investigation of the bombings headed by human rights activist Sergei Kovalev has been formed in Moscow, but its activities have been hampered by lack of official cooperation.
A member of Duma, Sergey Yushenkov, who called for parliamentary inquiry and who was the driving force of the Public Commission has been assassinated. His colleague, Yuri Shchekochikhin, was apparently poisoned three months later. Another member of the Commission, Yuli Rybakov, has lost his seat in the Duma in what observers called a rigged election. After the lost of its three most prominent members, the activities of the Public Commission have come to a hault.
Journalistic Investigations: A TV Program, Four Books and Two Films
Early investigations into the Ryazan incident were conducted by Novaya Gazeta and by the independent TV Channel NTV. The report on NTV was broadcast in March 2000, on the eve of Presidential elections. This broadcast was the reason for the eventual closing of NTV by the Kremlin, and the banishment from Russia of its owner, Vladimir Gusinsky.
Over the years, journalistic investigations of the apartment bombings have produced four books and two film documentaries, all of which strongly argue for the FSB's role in the attacks:
Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within (Liberty Press, New York, 2001) - a book co-authored by Litvinenko and American Russian historian Yuri Felshtinsky detailing the events of 9/99. An attempt to deliver the book to Moscow resulted in a police raid on a highway truck and confiscation of 4,500 copies as "anti-government propaganda". The book is available in English and in Russian from this site.
FSB - the Lubyanka Criminal Grouping (in Russian, Grani Press, New York, 2002) - an autobiography of an ex-FSB officer detailing corruption in the security service, with one chapter dedicated to the Moscow bombings. The book is available in Moscow and can be ordered at this site - Russian only.
Darkness at Dawn: the Rise of Russian Criminal State (Yale University Press, 2003) by David Satter, the former Moscow correspondent of The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Much of this review of Russia's recent political history is devoted to the '99 bombings.
Der Krieg im Schatten ("The War in Shadows"), (in German, Edition Surhkamp, Frankfurt am Main 2003) edited by Florian Hassel, the Moscow correspondent of the Frankfurter Rundschau, the book presents evidence suggesting that Kremlin manipulations, not Chechen terrorism, were behind the start of the Chechen war in 1999. It has contributions from German, Russian, Chechen, British and American authors.
Assassination or Russia (a film by Jean-Charles Deneau, Transparencies Productions, Paris, 2002) - a documentary co-produced by exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, which explores the Ryazan incident. The film has been banned in Russia, and activists of Berezovsky's Liberal Russia Party who tried to organize private screenings have been beaten up.
Disbelief (a film by Andrei Nekrasov, Dreamscanner Productions, 2004) - a feature length documentary about the sisters Tatyana and Alyona Morozov who lost their mother in the Guryanov street bombing in Moscow. Selection of the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.
Most experts agree that the acceptance or rejection by the Russians of the "FSB" theory of the bombings will depend on the economic situation and the historical perspective rather than on hard evidence.
Western opinion has been cautious about the controversy of the 9/99 explosions. While the evidence for the FSB complicity is inconclusive, the stakes are high. After September 11, the "Chechen" theory has been cited by the Putin administration to justify to the hesitant public Russia's participation in the US-led campaign against international terrorism.
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Terror-99 websites (both English and Russian language versions) are supported by Grani.ru, a Moscow-based online daily.
The mission of Terror-99 sites is to present infomation about the events in Russia in 1999 and to support the ongoing discussion of these events.
Grani.ru, a major Russian-language online media project, has been an important source of information and comment on Russian and world politics since December 2000.
To read about a separate but related incident, here is a translated letter from Svetlana Gubareva to President of Kazakhstan. Svetlana was one of the Moscow Theater hostages who accuses the FSB of possible complicity in what ultimately led to the gassing-deaths of 129 hostages--including Svetlana's family:
To: President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Mr. N. A. Nazarbaev From: RK Citizen Svetlana Nikolaevna Gubareva
Honored Nursultan Abishevich,
On October 23-26 of 2002 I and my family were among the hostage audience at the musical "Northeast" in the Moscow theater at Dubrovka. As a result of an action by Russian special services my family perished. It is awful to fall asleep, holding a live and healthy daughter by her hand, and to come to when your child is already dead.
I am extremely thankful to all of our embassy employees in Moscow who helped me and supported me with their attention and sympathy.
Many correct words at the time were expressed about support and help for those suffering from the terror act, about the necessity of fighting terrorism. But what has really occurred?
For over two months I lay in Moscow city hospitals. The firm for which I worked paid sick leave from the tenth lowest calculated level (noticeably lower than my average monthly pay) - not as if it the damage to my health were due to forces outside my control, but as if I had negligently gotten my feet wet and became ill.
Upon finding out that we were among the hostages, my sister R.N. Ishchenko flew to Moscow on October 26th, 2002. At first the city administration of Karaganda promised to pay for her trip. Returning after the funeral of my daugher Aleksandra Letyago, my sister went to the city Akimat for the promised help. A bureaucrat there refused to pay, since she was not a close relative such as my mother - though both my parents died about ten years ago. In answer to her question regarding the help which you, Nursultan Abishevich, promised to me as a former hostage, she was told that all which was possible had already been done by the Kazakhstan embassy in Moscow, and that it was now Russia's turn.
My offical request for help from Mr. G.M. Prezent, managing director of OJSC Ispat Karmet, to whose office I presented myself in person, has still received no reply.
An investigation carried out by Kazakhstan secret services led to eavesdropping on my telephone conversations and an inquiry into my past. Employees of Kazakhstan intelligence went to my neighbors, asking about my moral state, comparing me to a kind of prostitute or terrorist.
I went to the Kazakhstan ministry of foreign affairs with questions about this investigation, but I was sent from office to office until in the end they recommended that I make an inquiry with the government of Russia in Moscow.
I have tried to return to work, but due to my physical and psychological condition I had to resign.
While investigating the terror act at Dubrovka, the Russian government has not even tried to maintain a semblance of law. There is obvious criminal negligence by the Russian special forces, who were guilty in allowing the seizure of the hostages in the first place, and negligent in organizing their liberation - especially their evacuation and first aid. Even after more than a year, this negligence has yet to be brought before a criminal court.
They took away my daughter's primary right - her right to live, and took from me my purpose in life, my happiness, my health, and my hope for a happy old age. My Sasha died on the territory of a neighboring government, not from terrorists' bullets or from an explosion, but from the actions of chemical weapons which were used by the Russian special forces during the storming of the theater.
How could it happen, that the special forces of Russia, in the middle of their own capital, could let terrorists into the theater? Who were the organizers of this terror act, and who financed it? Why was the decision made by the Russian authorities to use gas and storm the theater at the very moment that there was a real chance for freeing the hostages by negotiation? How legal was the usage of narcotic drugs in this situation?
Why were the victims' causes of death on the death certificates listed as an "aggregate of factors", such as dehydration (a crude lie!), lack of food, stress, serious chronic illnesses, and "long-term uncomfortable positioning", while the "special drug" was not seriously examined as a cause of injury ("it has but a moderate connection with the cause of death"), and haven no experts been allowed to examine the data on its presence in the victims?
Of what gas "safety" does Mr. V.V. Putin speak, when in the opinion specialists the usage of the pharmacologicals in this gas leads to disturbances of liver, kidney, and lung functions, as well as chemical hepatopathy and a great probability of death if an antidote is not quickly used?
Why was there no medical aid made ready for the victims before the special operation, which led to the deaths of 130 people? Why were all the terrorists - who could have given information on the organization of the terror act - killed without exception, and not simply arrested and held for investigation?
Why did not a single terrorist set off a bomb, despite the fact that the action of the sleep gas took longer than ten minutes? Were there even any explosives in the theater?
Why did the Russian powers hide the fact that also taking part in the seizure of the theater was one Khanpash Terkibaev - an agent of the Russian FSB, and who afterwards supposedly died in an automobile accident? These are but a few of the questions to which I would like the right to receive answers.
On July 16th of this year my daughter would have been fifteen, but SHE WILL ALWAYS BE THIRTEEN. Who is at fault? Who is responsible? Will the Republic of Kazakhstan take some actions because of the death of Citizen Aleksandra Letyago? Will my government protect my rights and interests?
Svetlana Gubareva, citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan, former hostage
Thoughts on Svetlana's letter?
(Was there a similar outpouring of rubels in the wake of the Moscow Theatre incident so poorly handled, as it turned out, by the FSB?)
Here comes the tinfoil hat brigade.
=== Here comes the tinfoil hat brigade.
Or those who believe that it's ridiculous even to entertain this line of thinking just because terror, including the bombing of one's own police stations and such was such an instrumental facet of militant atheist communism that Trotsky, Lenin, et al. couldn't help but repeat ad infinitum: THE REVOLUTION MAKES NO SENSE WITHOUT TERROR.
What a difference a day makes, eh? Who knew that the "former Soviets" would be the ones to show the world how extraordinarily easy it is to break bad habits overnight and never return, like a dog, to their vomit.
So you've settled your mind on it then hm?
Do you think the Russians did Belsan, the theater, the subway, and those two planes as well? Did Russia somehow fake the invasion of Daegestan from Chechnya by Baseyev, which killed over 1000 Russians? I'd compare the whole line of speculation with dog vomit. It's about as absurd as those who say Israel did 9/11.
I guess the only interesting aspect of the discussion, is what mentality predisposes you to believe in such talk. Why is the theory so appealing to you? It fills some gap somehow? If the theory didn't exist, would you have to make it up? You talk about the theory as if it must be true -- how shocked would you be to find out that it is totally unfounded and bogus?
=== Did Russia somehow fake the invasion of Daegestan from Chechnya by Baseyev, which killed over 1000 Russians?
Oh, the "conversion" of Dudayev, perhaps. But that didn't take as well as they thought else we'd never have been brought in to "help" make sure he was offed once his usefulness (or hypnotic willingness to serve as not-so-sincere agent of the revolution) was over.
I think those who -- like you -- base the fact that less than 1% of Americans feel any guilt for the deaths inflicted before World War II by German camps or German and Austrian physicians (as part of the Good Death push to cleanse the nation of defectives) or the forced repatriation of White Russians and packing off of millions of Poles and other dysgenics AFTER the War on anything but RANK AMERICAN IGNORANCE of the facts regarding our complicity and the hand-in-glove operation of the media and government to bend reality is really not well-positioned to argue what is and is not possible or likely where concerns Continuing strategies and means deployed by the Usual Suspects.
Give the blades of your beanie a spin for me and tighten those chin straps with pride, Mount Athos. I have no time to waste with the likes of you.
Dude, did you forget your medication? You are angrily ranting in all caps about Poles and forced repatriation of White Russians -- what does that have to do with anything? No one is talking about these subjects, hello? Get well soon. Oh well, if you come up with any other entertaining conspiracy theories feel free to post.
=== Oh well, if you come up with any other entertaining conspiracy theories feel free to post.
Those aren't "conspiracy theories," they are cold, hard facts.
Facts which too often are overlooked in favor of Hollywood-produced mini-series and feature films from which most Americans learn their history these days.
Americans like you, it seems ... assuming you are American.
If you wish me to take you seriously, try an opening gambit other than "here comes the tinfoil hat brigade" and see if you can't come up with a fact or two to buttress your more faithbased convictions.
This is one report, that I want to know a lot more about.
The apartment bombings have always stuck out as different in the list of Chechen atrocities. They were so successful, they occurred at the right moment for Putin to consolidate power, and they haven't been repeated. Why not? If you're the Chechens, wouldn't it make more sense to continue with apartment bombings that kill hundreds of Russians without any Chechen casualties? The theater and Beslan operations cost the Chechens dozens of operatives. I know that the Islamists are obsessed with martyrdom, but wouldn't it help their cause more to keep on killing Russians without losing their own people? Saving them for other fights in Chechnya itself? Of course, one can never underestimate the stupidity of Islamists.
And it's not surprising that many Russians are suspicious at times of Putin. His first reaction to Beslan was to consolidate his power over other Russians, not to hit the Chechens harder. Sort of what the Democrats always erroneously accuse Ashcroft of doing with the Patriot Act.
Ms. Gubareva says she and the other Dubrovka hostages didn't get squat:
Well, in November of 2002 a representative of the industrialist and business union, Mr. Vol'skiy made the official declaration that they would provide for all those who suffered at Northeast. They had a list, and they calculated how much money, 50 thousand (rubles) for everyone who died, 25 thousand for being a hostage, but it all turned out to be a lie. I called and asked about the money, and they expressed their sympathy and at first acknowledged: "Yes, yes, come on over". But later, "Oh, sorry, we don't have enough money, we're going to give only to orphans." I have an acquaitance whose husband died, and is left with two children. She called over there and they also told her: "No, no, we don't have any money, and we can't pay you either". In the end they started in February to pay just those living in Moscow, but there wasn't enough money for everyone. Dasha Frolova's mother, for example, didn't get a thing.
"Here comes the tinfoil hat brigade."
Why do the "Putin for Dictator" crowd, always start out talking like Mount Athos?
"Just read through the thread, and it is quite stunning how Putin has reached the status of a saint....What is also interesting is that so many want to put a Christian frame around Putin."
Spread the word! This is definately a discussion the definately needs to happen here in the US. And if you find any related material, please post it and then ping me. Thanks--FearGodNotMen!
I am starting to realize why the "Putin for Dictator" crowd is so passionate. Most of them are linked to the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC). According to ROC doctrine, the Czar is supposed to head the Church. As such, all true ROC members, both inside and outside Russia, long for a return of the Czar. Then it should come as no surprise that these same people want to imput Czar-like qualities to Putin. Putin, for his part, is playing these unsuspecting ROC believers like a finely tuned fiddle. End Result?...Putin can do no wrong.
Message to ROC members...Putin is not the Czar.
The CIA carried out 9/11 as well......
"The CIA carried out 9/11 as well......"
Actually wasn't it the "wallbuilders" that prevented the CIA from crying out the alarm?????
"The CIA carried out 9/11 as well......"
Destro, if you're going to make an assassinine statement like that, you sure better be able to back it up! This my country you're talking about. Go back to Russia.
"Give the blades of your beanie a spin for me and tighten those chin straps with pride, Mount Athos. I have no time to waste with the likes of you."
This post is a a tin foil one on the same level as saying that the "The CIA carried out 9/11 as well......"
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