Volgograd, formerly known as the city of Stalingrad has been attacked twice in 48 hours and it is a city in a state of shock. It is believed, that an extremist Islamic group is responsible for the two attacks.
The attacks taking place in the last two days, one at the city’s central railway station and another on a bus killed dozens of people and raised anxieties about the safety of the Olympics.
Choosing Volgograd is a major rail hub in Russia and when travelling from Moscow or other parts of central Russia to Sochi, you travel through Volgograd. It’s also the rail station you travel through to get to and from the North Caucasus. The north Caucasus conflict goes back many years and has exacted a heavy toll on both sides. Chechens have laid claim to land in the Caucasus Mountains region for more than 5,000 years. The standard of living in the republics is poor compared with the rest of Russia. Unemployment is rampant and infant mortality is high. In addition, the Chechen population of about 1 million is mostly made up of Sunni Muslims, who maintain a distinctly different cultural and linguistic identity from Russian Orthodox Christians.
The Siberian Times named the so-called ”Black Widow” as Oksana Aslanova, 26. She was reported as having been married to two Islamic militant leaders killed by Russian forces in the North Caucasus. Chechen women bombers were named “Black Widows” by the Russian and international press when it became clear that many were acting in revenge for the deaths of their husbands, sons, and brothers. Chechnya’s notorious “Black Widows” have been active since June 7, 2000 when the first Chechen female suicide bombers drove a truck filled with explosives into the temporary headquarters of an elite OMON (Russian Special Forces). The attack resulted in two dead and five wounded. Since then Chechen female terrorists have been involved in more than twenty suicide attacks.
So What’s Next?
Terrorists have been interested in acquiring radioactive and nuclear material for use in attacks. For example, in 1995, Chechen extremists threatened to package radioactive material with explosives for use against Russia in order to force the Russian military to withdraw from Chechnya. While no explosives were used, officials later retrieved a package of cesium-137 the rebels had buried in a Moscow park. I believe that with the fact that radioactive material was found in the region (naming Georgia several times….) it is a very probable option.
Following the 9.11 attacks in the USA British authorities have disclosed that terror activists arrested in the USA and England have prepared a document known as the “Final Presentation” in which they have bought up the subject of using Radiological devices. During 2012 and 2013 US experts, UK Deputy Prime-minister and UN Nuclear chief, have warned that this may be a viable threat in the near future.
US officials said US and Russian authorities have engaged in extensive contacts regarding security preparations for Sochi’s Olympic Games. The United States is expected to share with Russia information it might collect about possible threats to the Games but we can see from this week’s events that damaging the Sochi Winter Olympics can be done by targeting other cities…
Happy “Old- New –Year”! счастливый старый новый год !