Staunton, April 29 – Russian security agencies frequently report that they have prevented terrorist actions by arresting or killing those who were planning them, but a Novaya gazeta investigation concludes that Russians have no way of assessing the accuracy of such claims because the agencies involved provide little or no follow-on information.
Aleksandr Taranova of the Moscow paper says she and her colleagues monitored reports about blocked terrorist actions in Russia between November 2015 and November 2017. During that period, the FSB, Interior Ministry, and other government agencies reported nearly 6,000 such cases but provided information about the terrorists in only 30 cases (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2018/04/27/76328-upolnomocheny-promolchat).
The FSB, for example, made 3505 declarations to the media about blocking terrorist acts; but there is information available about only 13 sentences and 14 arrests, the journalist says. (In her article, she documents what is known about this limited number of cases, although that is not her main concern.)
The absence of such publicly available information about those involved makes it “impossible to assess the extent of the threat and the effectiveness of the special services” and to distinguish from real cases as opposed to those based on “fabricated accusations.” And that in turn has consequences for Russian society.
Such reports add to fears and aggressiveness in Russian society that may or may not be justified, Taranova says. This implication of her article is that the security services may very well be claiming that they have blocked terrorist attacks when there have not been any to block and that therefore their reports are more political than factual.