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Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Was Moscow Market Blast Racism, Terrorism, Kremlinism or Gangsterism?

When seeking to explain the recent bomb blast in a crowded Moscow marketplace, killing at least 10 and injuring dozens of others, four possible theories arise:

1. Racism
(the marketplace was full of dark-skinned vendors)
2. Terrorism
(the marketplace is an ideal target for Chechen revenge attacks)
3. Gangsterism
(the markets are controlled by the forces of organized crime)
4. Kremlinism
(the Kremlin might act to whip up hysteria and support crackdowns)

The initial thoughts were along the lines of choice #3, but now the Turkish Press reports that #1 is being explored as well. The main point being, of course, that the mere fact that all four are 0bviously possible shows just how uncivilized Russia really is.

A blast at a crowded Moscow market that killed 10 people and wounded dozens is being investigated as a possible racist attack, the Moscow prosecutor's office said.

Monday's blast was initially thought to have grown out of a dispute between criminal groups, but the city prosecutor now considers a racist attack to be "basically the main version," a spokeswoman for the prosecutor told AFP.

Five of the 10 people killed at the market, known as "Eurasia," were Chinese nationals and one was a Vietnamese citizen. Investigators are still identifying the others.

Several Russian newspapers suggested the attack was motivated by racism.

Vremya Novostei said that one of the two suspects detained on Monday was a member of a "nationalist or fascist group" and that explosives had been found at the home of one of the suspects, without citing sources.

Business daily Kommersant quoted an anonymous source in the Federal Security Service (FSB) as saying that the suspects were being questioned by a branch of the service devoted to investigating extremism and terrorism.

An informed source in Moscow law-enforcement was quoted by ITAR-TASS late Monday as saying that the suspects were two young men who belonged to a far-right nationalist group.

Russian Prosecutor General Yury Chaika said Tuesday that a criminal dispute and terrorism were the most probable versions of events being analysed by investigators.

"At the present moment these versions are the main ones. Two people have been detained in the case," Chaika said, speaking during a visit to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe.

UPDATE: Now the Moscow Times reports the arrest of racist ultranationalists. It appears the bombing was in fact racially motivated.

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