Staunton, September 8 – Today, as they have for many of the last 21 years, the victims and relatives of victims of the September 1999 apartment bombing in Moscow assembled to remember those who were lost and those who are still suffering from that explosion and from three other apartment bombings elsewhere in Russia that week.
Their meeting was tinged with anger because despite their efforts singly and together with other victims of terrorism in the Russian Federation, they have not received special assistance from the government and only two months ago, the powers pulled from consideration a draft law that would have given them some (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/353930/).
These apartment bombings, which Vladimir Putin blamed on the Chechens and exploited to power his rise to the presidency, remain a matter of dispute. Most independent experts abroad have concluded that the FSB was behind them, something that strongly suggests Putin himself gave the order for the deaths of hundreds of Russian citizens.
But investigations in Russia have refused to go beyond the Kremlin’s claims of Chechen complicity or have concluded that the available evidence does not permit any final conclusion. And as a result, these horrific acts increasingly are ignored in the single stream of Russian history Putin has been promoting.
That is bad enough, but it is especially disgusting that Putin’s government has not taken action to help the victims, many of whom still suffer from physical and mental disabilities as a result of the explosions. The Kremlin leader has sometimes suggested that their plight should be investigated, but in July, proposals to do so with a new law were withdrawn.
Consequently, it seems likely that the Putin regime which used these explosions to re-launch its vicious war on Chechnya has now used the attention Russians are naturally focusing on the coronavirus pandemic as an occasion for sweeping the 1999 events further under the carpet.
By doing so, the Kremlin leader is compounding his crimes of that year. Any failure to hold him accountable both for his role in orchestrating the explosions and for his unwillingness to help those the explosions harmed so much can only be described as despicable.