Staunton, January 1 – In the week leading up to the new year’s holiday, more than 50 sites in 30 Russian cities, including five airports and some government offices were evacuated following bomb threats that later proved to be false. These latest evacuations mean more than three million Russians have been forced to leave buildings since these calls began in September.
TASS and other Russian outlets reported that anonymous telephone callers said that 53 objects in 30 cities, including Khabarovsk, Vladivotok, Anadyr, Magadan, Makhachkala, St. Petersburg, and Moscow, had been mined, forcing officials to evacuate those in them (tass.ru/proisshestviya/4854654 and kavpolit.com/articles/informatsija_o_minirovanii_torgovyh_tsentrov_v_ros-37018/).
More seriously, various outlets reported that several hours before the beginning of the new year, officials were forced to evacuate five Russian airports for the same reason, disrupting transportation of celebrants (rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/5a491c8b9a7947a9fd11a392?from=main and babr24.com/irk/?IDE=169084).
Despite a massive manhunt, only one arrest was made this past week (nakanune.ru/news/2017/12/31/22494097/), but Vladimir Putin did sign into law a new measure that will increase penalties for such telephone terrorism to as much as ten years in prison (lenta.ru/news/2017/12/31/nakazanie/).
For background on this wave of forced evacuations, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2017/10/telephone-terrorism-continuing-pushing.html and newsru.com/russia/27nov2017/miny.html.