Staunton, February 16 – A new wave of bomb threats forced authorities to evacuate shopping centers and other facilities in Moscow and St. Petersburg over the last 24 hours. No suspicious materials have been found, but the danger that they could be has left the powers that be with no choice but to respond as they have.
The only differences from similar threats in the past which have forced more than 1.5 million people to evacuate schools, government buildings and shopping centers across Russia is that some of these threats came via mail rather than phone and that in some cases the authors of these threats identified themselves as “Putin” (newsru.com/russia/16feb2019/putinalert.html).
The authorities have not yet announced any arrests and have not offered their usual explanations that the threats came from abroad, typically from Ukraine. But it is entirely possible that they will do so soon. But their inability to stop this plague will only further increase fears among the population that the situation is spinning out of control.
It is of course possible that the powers that be will seek to exploit this situation to impose even more draconian controls on Russian society; but it is more likely that unless the authorities can show some real progress in combatting such phone calls, ever more Russians will question the efficacy of their government.Meanwhile today, the justice ministry announced that its list of terrorists inside Russia has now passed the 7500 mark, with 817 new names having been added over the last year (fedsfm.ru/documents/terrorists-catalog-portal-act and newtimes.ru/articles/detail/177171). That figure too will intensify fears of disaster among Russians.
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