Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Telephone Bomb Threats in Moscow Force More than 25,000 to Evacuate 200 Sites

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 5 – Telephone bomb threats have now come to Moscow in a big way, so major that the main Russian news agencies and government outlets cannot ignore this plague. As of mid-day on the east coast of the US, more than 200 schools, hospitals, stores, and government offices have been targeted and more than 25,000 people evacuated.

            Those are the figures Kommersant gives on its site (kommersant.ru/doc/3874431). There is every reason to believe that these numbers will rise over the coming hours and days: typically, such “telephone terrorism” as the Russian media and Russian law describe it focuses on one or another place with numerous repeat calls.

            (For background on telephone terrorism across the Russian Federation since it began in September 2017, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/01/telephone-bomb-threats-again-forcing.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/01/telephone-bomb-threats-return-to-moscow.html,  and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/09/more-than-million-russians-have-been.html and the Russian sources cited therein.)

            In Moscow today as in other cities that have been targeted, officials say that the calls came from abroad, typically now suggesting from Ukraine, that none of the bombs has been found but that the authorities have no choice but to evacuate people lest one of the calls prove to be true.

            Where there have been such calls in the past, people have become edgy, fearful of what all this means and concerned that the siloviki do not seem to have any way to protect them or prevent such calls for being repeated.  And more thoughtful commentators have suggested that false bomb threats could easily be a cover for a real one.

Such fears typically have been territorially limited because the central media typically ignore bomb threats beyond the ring road. But now that the threats are hitting Moscow, the powers that be have no choice but to cover them, something that will likely intensify fears throughout the population and even lead to more copycat crime.

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