Staunton, September 19 – Every day for the last two weeks, tens of thousands of Russians have been evacuated from shopping malls, government offices and other facilities in response to anonymous telephone calls saying that bombs have been planted in these places (takiedela.ru/news/2017/09/19/zvonki-po-uprave/ and themoscowtimes.com/news/bomb-scares-continue-across-russia-costing-authorities-more-than-5-mln-58980).
Moscow officials have been unwilling to acknowledge that Russia is “under a terrorist attack” or even report about it, Rosbalt blogger Anatoly Nesmiyan points out. But regional and local media are filled with stories about this, and they highlight that Moscow clearly doesn’t know what to do (rosbalt.ru/posts/2017/09/19/1647114.html).
“This by the way,” he continues, is “a quite bad sign,” one that suggests that “the authorities obviously are not capable of getting involved and influencing the situation.” They aren’t even talking about tightening the screws or taking some other propagandistic measures to address they situation: they are simply remaining silent, he says.
And the Russian people can see this perhaps more clearly than ever before given that local and regional media and numerous Internet sites are giving dry reporting about what is going on, the kind that is especially frightening because it is understated rather than hyperbolic and alarmist.
For Russians, it is clear that “such massive and coordinated attacks are something that the country had not known or scene before” and that it constitutes a test of ability of the system to warn about and oppose. But as of today, “no real opposition to the terrorists is yet being observed.”
And that raises even more questions about the powers that be than it does about who may be behind this new and all too real terrorist wave.