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Russian apartment bombings


Russian apartment bombings

Russian apartment bombings
Location Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk
Date 4–16 September 1999
Target Apartment buildings
Attack type
Time bombings
Deaths 293
Non-fatal injuries
More than 1,000

The Russian apartment bombings were a series of explosions that hit four apartment blocks in the Russian cities of Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk in September 1999, killing 307 and injuring more than 1700 people and spreading a wave of fear across the country. The bombings, together with the Dagestan War, led the country into the Second Chechen War.

The blasts hit Buynaksk on 4 September, Moscow on 9 September and 13 September and Volgodonsk on 16 September. A similar explosive device was found and defused in an apartment block in the Russian city of [3] Thirty-six hours later, three FSB agents who had planted this device were arrested by the local police. The incident was declared to be a training exercise. These events led to allegations that the bombings were a "false flag" attack perpetrated by the FSB in order to legitimize the resumption of military activities in Chechnya and bring Vladimir Putin to the presidency.[4][5]

Parliament member Yuri Shchekochikhin filed two motions for a parliamentary investigation of the events, but the motions were rejected by the Russian Duma in March 2000. An independent[6] public commission to investigate the bombings was chaired by Duma deputy Sergei Kovalev. The commission was rendered ineffective because of government refusal to respond to its inquiries.[7][8] Two key members of the Kovalev Commission, Sergei Yushenkov and Yuri Shchekochikhin, have since died in apparent assassinations.[9][10] The Commission's lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin was arrested.[11]

The official Russian investigation of the bombings was completed in 2002 and concluded that all the bombings were organized and led by Achemez Gochiyaev, who remains at large, and ordered by Islamist warlords Ibn Al-Khattab and Abu Omar al-Saif, who have been killed. Five other suspects have been killed and six have been convicted by Russian courts on terrorism-related charges.

Yury Felshtinsky, Alexander Litvinenko, Boris Berezovsky, David Satter, Boris Kagarlitsky, Vladimir Pribylovsky, and the secessionist Chechen authorities claimed that the 1999 bombings were a false flag attack coordinated by the FSB in order to win public support for a new full-scale war in Chechnya, which boosted Prime Minister and former FSB Director Vladimir Putin's popularity, and brought the pro-war Unity Party to the State Duma and Putin to the presidency within a few months.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23] This theory has been criticized by Robert Bruce Ware, Henry Plater-Zyberk, and Simon Saradzhyan.[24][25][26]


  • Previous threats and bombings 1
  • Bombings 2
    • Overview 2.1
    • Moscow mall 2.2
    • Buynaksk, Dagestan 2.3
    • Moscow, Pechatniki 2.4
    • Moscow, Kashirskoye highway 2.5
    • Moscow, attempted bombings 2.6
    • Volgodonsk 2.7
    • Ryazan incident 2.8
  • Related events 3
    • Ryazan incident controversy 3.1
      • Official explanation of the Ryazan incident 3.1.1
      • Explosives in Ryazan 3.1.2
      • The type of explosives controversy 3.1.3
      • A military storage with RDX disguised as "sugar" 3.1.4
    • Incident in Russian Parliament 3.2
    • Sealing of all materials by Russian Duma 3.3
    • Arrest of independent investigator Trepashkin 3.4
    • Claims and denials of responsibility for the blasts 3.5
    • Evidence that the bombings were staged 3.6
  • Investigations and theories 4
    • Criminal investigation and court ruling 4.1
      • Court ruling on events in Moscow 4.1.1
      • Court ruling on events in Buinaksk 4.1.2
      • Court ruling on events in Volgodonsk 4.1.3
      • Sentences 4.1.4
      • Suspects and accused 4.1.5
        • Moscow bombings
        • Volgodonsk bombing
        • Buinaksk bombing
    • Attempts at independent investigation 4.2
    • Theory of Russian government conspiracy 4.3
      • Other investigations 4.3.1
      • Statements in support 4.3.2
      • Criticism 4.3.3
        • Officials
        • Scholars
        • Analysts
    • Theory of Ibn Al Khattab's involvement 4.4
    • Recent theories 4.5
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • Bibliography 7

Previous threats and bombings

A bomb detonated in a crowded market in Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia–Alania on 19 March 1999, killing 62 and injuring many.

A Finnish journalist who in mid-August 1999, before the bombings, traveled to the village of Karamakhi in Dagestan, interviewed some villagers and their military Commander General Dzherollak. The journalist wrote:

"The Wahhabis' trucks go all over Russia. Even one wrong move in Moscow or Makhachkala, they warn, will lead to bombs and bloodshed everywhere."

According to the journalist, the Wahhabis had told him, "if they start bombing us, we know where our bombs will explode."[27] In the last days of August, the Russian military launched an aerial bombing of the villages.[27]



Five apartment bombings took place and at least three attempted bombings were prevented.[5] All bombing had the same "signature", judging from the nature and the volume of the destruction. In each case the explosive RDX was used, and the timers were set to go off at night and inflict the maximum number of civilian casualties.[2] The explosives were placed to destroy the weakest, most critical elements of the buildings and force the buildings to "collapse like a house of cards".[5] The terrorists were able to obtain or manufacture several tons of powerful explosives and deliver them to numerous destinations across Russia.[5][28]

Moscow mall

On 31 August 1999, at 20:00 local time (8:00 p.m.), an explosion took place in "Okhotny Ryad" shopping center on Russian: Освободительная Армия Дагестана) claimed responsibility for the explosion and threatened to continue terrorist acts until Russian Army left Dagestan.[31] According to FSB, the explosion was ordered by Chechen leader Shamil Basayev who had financial disagreements with the owner of "Okhotny Ryad" shopping center, Chechen businessman Umar Dzhabrailov.[32]

Buynaksk, Dagestan

On 4 September 1999, at 22:00 (10:00 p.m.), a car bomb detonated outside a five-story apartment building in the city of Buynaksk in Dagestan, near the border of Chechnya. The building was housing Russian border guard soldiers and their families.[33] Sixty-four people were killed and 133 were injured in the explosion.[2][34] Another car bomb was found and defused in the same town.[33][35] The defused bomb was in a car containing 2,706 kilograms (5,966 lb) of explosives. It was discovered by local residents in a parking lot surrounded by an army hospital and residential buildings.[36]

Moscow, Pechatniki

Bombing at Guryanova Street. One section of the building completely collapsed.

On 9 September 1999, shortly after midnight local time, at 20:00 GMT,[37] 300 to 400 kilograms (660 to 880 lb) of explosives detonated on the ground floor of an apartment building in southeast Moscow (19 Guryanova Street). The nine-story building was destroyed, killing 94 people inside and injuring 249 others, and damaging 19 nearby buildings.[37] A total of 108 apartments were destroyed during the bombing. An FSB spokesman identified the explosive as RDX.[5] Residents said a few minutes before the blast four men were seen speeding away from the building in a car.[38]

Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered the search of 30,000 residential buildings in Moscow for explosives.[39] He took personal control of the investigation of the blast.[28] Putin declared 13 September a day of mourning for the victims of the attacks.[37]

Moscow, Kashirskoye highway

Rescuers diging for survivors after Kashira road bombing.

On 13 September 1999, at 5:00 a.m., a large bomb exploded in a basement of an apartment block on Kashirskoye Highway in southern Moscow, about 6 kilometres (3.7 mi) from the place of the last attack. This was the deadliest blast in the chain of bombings, with 119 people killed and 200 injured. The eight-story building was flattened, littering the street with debris and throwing some concrete pieces hundreds of meters away.[2][40]

Moscow, attempted bombings

According to FSB public relations director Alexander Zdanovich and Oksana Yablokova of The Moscow Times, official investigators defused explosives on Borisovskiye Prudy street in Moscow 14 September 1999.[11][41] Yuri Felshtinsky and Alexander Litvinenko added a site in the Liublino district and another in Kapotnya to the list of caches.[42] Satter wrote that three attempted bombings were prevented.[43]

According to the messages received by Felshtinsky and by Prima News agency from someone claiming to be Achemez Gochiyaev, on 13 September 1999, a bomb was defused in a building in the Kapotnya area. A warehouse containing several tons of explosives and six timing devices was found at Borisovskiye Prudy. The author of the messages wrote that he called the police and warned about the bombing locations, which helped to prevent a large number of further casualties.[44] Gochiyaev or his impersonators claimed that he was framed by his old acquaintance, an FSB officer who asked him to rent basements "as storage facilities" at four locations where bombs were later found.[45][46]


Volgodonsk bomb partially destroyed an apartment block.

A truck bomb exploded on 16 September 1999, outside a nine-story apartment complex in the southern Russian city of Volgodonsk, killing 17 people and injuring 69.[5] The bombing took place at 5:57 am.[47] Surrounding buildings were also damaged. The blast also happened 9 miles (14 km) from a nuclear power plant.[47] Prime Minister Putin signed a decree calling on law enforcement and other agencies to develop plans within three days to protect industry, transportation, communications, food processing centres and nuclear complexes.[47]

Ryazan incident

At 20:30 (8:30 p.m.) on 22 September 1999, a resident of an apartment building in the city of Ryazan noticed two suspicious men who carried sacks into the basement from a car with a Moscow license plate.[36][48][49][50] He alerted the police, but by the time they arrived the car and the men were gone. The policemen found three sacks of white powder in the basement, each weighing 50 kilograms (110 lb). A detonator and a timing device were attached and armed. The timer was set to 5:30 AM.[2] Yuri Tkachenko, the head of the local bomb squad, disconnected the detonator and the timer and tested the three sacks of white substance with a "MO-2" gas analyser. The device detected traces of RDX, the military explosive used in all previous bombings.[5] Police and rescue vehicles converged from different parts of the city, and 30,000 residents were evacuated from the area. 1,200 local police officers armed with automatic weapons set up roadblocks on highways around the city and started patrolling railroad stations and airports to hunt the terrorists down.[5]

At 1:30 a.m. on 23 September 1999, the explosive engineers took a bit of substance from the suspicious-looking sacks to a firing ground located about 1 mile (1.6 km) away from Ryazan for testing.[51] During the substance tests at that area they tried to explode it by means of a detonator, but their efforts failed, the substance was not detonated, and the explosion did not occur.[51][52][53][54] At 5 a.m. Radio Rossiya reported about the attempted bombing, noting that the bomb was set up to go off at 5:30 a.m. In the morning, "Ryazan resembled a city under siege". Composite sketches of three suspected terrorists, two men and a woman, were posted everywhere in the city and shown on TV. At 8:00 a.m. Russian television reported the attempt to blow out the building in Ryazan and identified the explosive used in the bomb as RDX.[55] Vladimir Rushailo announced later that police prevented a terrorist act. A news report at 4 p.m. reported that the explosives failed to detonate during their testing outside the city[51][52][53][54][56][57]

At 19:00 (7 p.m.), Vladimir Putin praised the vigilance of the inhabitants of Ryazan, and called for the air bombing of the Chechen capital Grozny in response to the terrorism acts.[58] He said:[59]

Later, the same evening, a telephone service employee in Ryazan tapped into long distance phone conversations and managed to detect a talk in which an out-of-town person suggested to others that they "split up" and "make your own way out". That person's number was traced to a telephone exchange unit serving FSB offices.[60] When arrested, the detainees produced FSB identification cards. They were soon released on orders from Moscow.[61][62]

On 24 September, FSB director Nikolai Patrushev announced that the exercise was carried out to test responses after the earlier blasts.[63] The Ryazan FSB "reacted with fury" and issued a statement saying:[59]

FSB issued a public apology about the incident.[63]

Related events

Ryazan incident controversy

Official explanation of the Ryazan incident

The Russia's General Prosecutor's Office, answering a parliamentary inquiry about apartment bombings in 2002 reported that[1]

Explosives in Ryazan

The Russian Deputy Prosecutor declared in 2002 that a comprehensive testing of the samples showed no traces of any explosives, and that sacks from Ryazan contained only sugar.[64] However Yuri Tkachenko, the police explosives expert who defused the Ryazan bomb, insisted that it was real. Tkachenko said that the explosives, including a timer, a power source, and a detonator were genuine military equipment and obviously prepared by a professional. He also said that the gas analyser that tested the vapours coming from the sacks unmistakably indicated the presence of RDX. Tkachenko said that it was out of the question that the analyser could have malfunctioned, as the gas analyser was of world-class quality, cost $20,000, and was maintained by a specialist who worked according to a strict schedule, checking the analyser after each use and making frequent prophylactic checks. Tkachenko pointed out that meticulous care in the handling of the gas analyser was a necessity because the lives of the bomb squad experts depended on the reliability of their equipment. The police officers who answered the original call and discovered the bomb also insisted that it was obvious from its appearance that the substance in the bomb was not sugar.[5][65]

At a press conference on the occasion of the Federal Security Service Employee Day in December 2001, Tkachenko said that the gas analyser had not been used. He added that the detonator was a hunting cartridge and that it would not be able to detonate any known explosives.[66]

The type of explosives controversy

It was initially reported by the FSB that the explosives used by the terrorists was RDX (or "hexogen"). However, it was officially declared later that the explosive was not RDX, but a mixture of aluminium powder, nitre (saltpeter), sugar, and TNT prepared by the perpetrators in a concrete mixer at a fertiliser factory in Urus-Martan, Chechnya.[67][68] RDX is produced in only one factory in Russia, in the city of Perm.[5] According to Satter, the FSB changed the story about the type of explosive, since it was difficult to explain how huge amounts of RDX disappeared from the closely guarded Perm facility.

A military storage with RDX disguised as "sugar"

In March 2000, the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported the account of Private Alexei Pinyayev of the 137th Regiment, who guarded a military facility near the city of Ryazan. He was surprised to see that "a storehouse with weapons and ammunition" contained sacks with the word "sugar" on them. The two paratroopers cut a hole in one of the bags and made tea with the sugar taken from the bag. But the taste of the tea was terrible. They became suspicious since people were talking about the explosions. The substance turned out to be hexogen. After the newspaper report, FSB officers "descended on Pinyayev's unit", accused them of "divulging a state secret" and told them, "You guys can't even imagine what serious business you've got yourselves tangled up in." The regiment later sued publishers of Novaya Gazeta for insulting the honour of the Russian Army, since there was no Private Alexei Pinyayev in the regiment, according to their statement.[69] At an FSB press conference, Private Pinyayev stated that there was no hexogen in the 137th Airborne Regiment and that he was hospitalised in December 1999 and no longer visited the range.[66]

Incident in Russian Parliament

On 13 September, just hours after the second explosion in Moscow, Russian Duma speaker Gennadiy Seleznyov of the Communist Party made an announcement, "I have just received a report. According to information from Rostov-on-Don, an apartment building in the city of Volgodonsk was blown up last night."[70][71][72][73][74] However, the bombing in Volgodonsk took place three days later, on 16 September. When the Volgodonsk bombing happened, Vladimir Zhirinovsky demanded an explanation in the Duma, but Seleznev turned his microphone off.[70] Vladimir Zhirinovsky said in the Russian Duma: "Remember, Gennadiy Nikolaevich, how you told us that a house has been blown up in Volgodonsk, three days prior to the blast? How should we interpret this? The State Duma knows that the house was destroyed on Monday, and it has indeed been blown up on Thursday [same week]... How come... the state authorities of Rostov region were not warned in advance [about the future bombing], although it was reported to us? Everyone is sleeping, the house was destroyed three days later, and now we must take urgent measures..." [Seleznev turned his microphone off].[75]

Two years later, in March 2002, Seleznyov claimed in an interview that he had been referring to an unrelated hand grenade-based explosion, which did not kill anyone and did not destroy any buildings, and which indeed happened in Volgodonsk.[76][77] It remains unclear why Seleznyov reported such an insignificant incident to the Russian Parliament and why he did not explain the misunderstanding to Zhirinovsky and other Duma members.[76]

FSB defector Alexander Litvinenko described this as "the usual Kontora mess up": "Moscow-2 was on the 13th and Volgodonsk on 16th, but they got it to the speaker the other way around," he said. Investigator Mikhail Trepashkin confirmed that the man who gave Seleznyov the note was indeed an FSB officer.[78]

Sealing of all materials by Russian Duma

The Russian Duma rejected two motions for parliamentary investigation of the Ryazan incident.[79][80] The Duma, on a pro-Kremlin party-line vote, voted to seal all materials related to the Ryazan incident for the next 75 years and forbade an investigation into what happened.

Arrest of independent investigator Trepashkin

The commission of Sergei Kovalyov asked lawyer [83] Romanovich subsequently died in a hit and run accident in Cyprus. According to Trepashkin, his supervisors and FSB members promised not to arrest him if he left the Kovalyov commission and started working with the FSB "against Alexander Litvinenko".[84]

In a letter to RDX. Following that, Nikolai Patrushev's Directorate of FSB officers came to the GUVD headquarters, captured evidence and ordered the investigators fired. Trepashkin wrote that he learned about the story at a meeting with several RUOP officers in the year 2000. They claimed that their colleagues could present eyewitness accounts in a court. They offered a videocassette with evidence against the RDX dealers. Mr Trepashkin did not publicise the meeting fearing for lives of the witnesses and their families.[85][86]

Claims and denials of responsibility for the blasts

After the first bombings, Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov asserted that no warning had been given for the attacks.[29] A previously unknown group, protesting against growing consumerism in Russia, claimed responsibility for the blast. A note was found at the site of the explosion from the group, calling itself the Revolutionary Writers, according to the FSB.[87]

On 2 September, prior to the first bomb, Al-Khattab announced: "The mujahideen of Dagestan are going to carry out reprisals in various places across Russia.",[88] but Khattab would later on 14 September deny responsibility in the blasts, adding that he is fighting the Russian army, not women and children.[89]

On 9 September, an anonymous person, speaking with a Caucasian accent, phoned the Interfax news agency, saying that the blasts in Moscow and Buynaksk were "our response to the bombings of civilians in the villages in Chechnya and Dagestan."[28][90] In an interview to the Czech newspaper Lidove Noviny on 9 September, Shamil Basayev denied responsibility, saying: "The latest blast in Moscow is not our work, but the work of the Dagestanis. Russia has been openly terrorizing Dagestan, it encircled three villages in the centre of Dagestan, did not allow women and children to leave."[91] A few days later Basayev denied that Islamist fighters were responsible for the blasts, and instead were connected to "Russian domestic politics."[92] In a later interview, Basayev said he had no idea who was behind the bombings. "Dagestani's could have done it, or the Russian special services."[93]

From 9–13 September, Associated Press reporter Greg Myre conducted an interview with Ibn Al-Khattab, in which Al-Khattab as said, "From now on, we will not only fight against Russian fighter jets and tanks. From now on, they will get our bombs everywhere. Let Russia await our explosions blasting through their cities. I swear we will do it." The interview was published on 15 September.[94][95] In a subsequent interview with Interfax, al-Khattab denied involvement in the bombings, saying "We would not like to be akin to those who kill sleeping civilians with bombs and shells."[94][96]

On 15 September, an unidentified man, again speaking with a Caucasian accent, called the active measures" practised by the KGB in the past. David Satter stated, during his testimony in the United States House of Representatives,

"With Yeltsin and his family facing possible criminal prosecution, however, a plan was put into motion to put in place a successor who would guarantee that Yeltsin and his family would be safe from prosecution and the criminal division of property in the country would not be subject to reexamination. For "Operation Successor" to succeed, however, it was necessary to have a massive provocation. In my view, this provocation was the bombing in September, 1999 of the apartment building bombings in Moscow, Buinaksk, and Volgodonsk. In the aftermath of these attacks, which claimed 300 lives, a new war was launched against Chechnya. Putin, the newly appointed prime minister who was put in charge of that war, achieved overnight popularity. Yeltsin resigned early. Putin was elected president and his first act was to guarantee Yeltsin immunity from prosecution."[154]

In a 2002 interview to Echo Moskvy, Sergei Kovalyov referred to the theory of Felshtinsky and Pribylovsky as a "pure conspiracy", albeit stating that every theory should be checked.[12]

Other investigations

Maura Reynolds from the Los Angeles Times investigated Ryazan events by interviewing and quoting Alexei Kartofelnikov, one of the two residents who persisted in calling militia, Tatiana Borycheva, Tatiana Lukichyova, also residents, Lt. Col. Sergei Kabashov, Yuri Bludov, the spokesman for the regional FSB.[48]

Helen Womack from The Independent quoted Alexei Kartofelnikov's daughter Yulia, police officer Major Vladimir Golev, Lt. Col. of the Ryazan police Sergei Kabashov.[49]

John Sweeney a journalist at The Observer, later for BBC, quoted Vladimir Vasiliev, one of the two Ryazan apartment residents who tipped off the militsiya, an inspector from the local police Andrei Chernyshev, grandmother Klara Stepanovna, Tkachenko, head of the regional FSB Alexander Sergeyev and others.[50]

Statements in support

U.S. senator John McCain said that there remained "credible allegations that Russia's FSB had a hand in carrying out these [Moscow apartment bombing] attacks".[23]


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  88. ^ Ethnic War, Holy War, War O' War: Does the Adjective Matter in Explaining Collective Political Violence?, Edward W. Walker, University of California, Berkeley, 1 February 2006 (from “Chechen Guerrilla Khattab, Veteran of Anti- Struggle,” Agence France Press, 14 September 1999, distributed on the Chechnya listserv 14 September 1999)
  89. ^ Chechen president advocates joint action with Russia against terrorism, Newsline, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 15 September 1999
  90. ^ (Russian) The explosion of an apartment house in Moscow put an end to calm in the capital, A. Novoselskaya, S. Nikitina, M. Bronzova, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 10 September 1999 (computer translation)
  91. ^
  92. ^ a b AUTUMN 1999 TERRORIST BOMBINGS HAVE A MURKY HISTORY, Monitor, Volume 8, Issue 27, Jamestown Foundation, 7 February 2002
  93. ^ Rebel Chief, Denying Terror, Fights to 'Free' Chechnya, Carlotta Gall, The New York Times, 16 October 1999
  94. ^ a b c d (Sakwa 2005)
  95. ^ Al-Khattab: From Afghanistan to Dagestan, Reuven Paz, International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, 20 September 1999
  96. ^ Warlord Becoming Most Feared Man In Russia, Greg Myre, The AP, 15 September 1999
  97. ^
  98. ^ '’Islam in Russia by Shireen Hunter, Jeffrey L. Thomas, Alexander Melikishvili, J. Collins. P.91
  99. ^
  100. ^ The date of the article given by Satter is wrong, correct reference is: Blomgren, Jan, Ryssland inför viktiga val, Svenska Dagbladet, 10 July 1999. Satter's implication (by using quotes) that Blomgren mentioned terror bombings is also not correct, the actual text reads: Det tredje alternativet är att skapa en situation (till exempel terrordåd i Moskva som kan skyllas på tjetjener) där man "tvingas" utlysa undantagstillstånd och då enligt lagen har rätt att uppskjuta valet.
  101. ^ a b Darkness at Dawn, page 267
  102. ^ In an unnoticed reference in Svenska Dagbladet, the Swedish daily, on 6 June last year, the paper's Moscow correspondent Jan Blomgren wrote that one option being considered by the Kremlin and its associates was "terror bombings in Moscow which could be blamed on the Chechens". Satter's reference is wrong, however. The Swedish newspaper article was published on 10 July 1999 (See above). Mr Blomgren told the Independent that his sources, whom he cannot name, were familiar with discussions within the political elite. Russia 'planned Chechen war before bombings', The Independent, 29 January 2000, by Patrick Cockburn
  103. ^ Darkness at Dawn, page 63
  104. ^ a b (Russian) Results of the investigation of explosions in Moscow and Volgodonsk and an incident in Ryazan. The answer of the Russian state Prosecutor office to the inquiry of Gosduma member A. Kulikov, circa March 2002 (computer translation)
  105. ^
  106. ^
  107. ^
  108. ^ RUSSIA: THE FSB VOWS TO CAPTURE THE REMAINING CO-CONSPIRATORS IPR Strategic Business Information Database. 13 January 2004
  109. ^ Two life sentences for 246 murders, Kommersant, 13 January 2004. (Russian:"в бетономешалке изготовила смесь из сахара, селитры и алюминиевой пудры"
  110. ^ a b c d e f g h i j
  111. ^ a b c
  112. ^
  113. ^ Hexogen trail, Novaya Gazeta, 09.12.2002
  114. ^
  115. ^
  116. ^ a b c
  117. ^
  118. ^ Convicted Terrorists Sentenced to Long Prison Terms Archived 8 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  119. ^ Chechens rounded up in Moscow, The Guardian, 18 September 1999
  120. ^ a b ACHIMEZ GOCHIYAYEV: RUSSIA’S TERRORIST ENIGMA RETURNS Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  121. ^ Gochiyayev's wanted page on FSB web site
  122. ^
  123. ^
  124. ^ Karachayev terrorists found in the morgue, Kommersant, 8 June 2004.
  125. ^ Процесс о взрывах жилых домов: адвокат Адама Деккушева просит его полного оправдания
  126. ^ a b
  127. ^
  128. ^ Two life sentences for 246 murders, Kommersant, 13 January 2004.
  129. ^ A terrorist has imprisoned a policeman, Kommersant, 15 May 2003.
  131. ^ NEWS FROM RUSSIA",Vol.VI, Issue No.18, dated 1 May 2003
  132. ^ a b c Disrupting Escalation of Terror in Russia to Prevent Catastrophic Attacks
  133. ^ a b c d e f Buinaksk terrorists sentenced to life, Kommersant, 20 March 2001.
  134. ^ Suspect in 1999 Buinaksk bombing brought to Russia, Jurist, 13 November 2004
  135. ^ Jury acquitted a Buinaksk suspect, Lenta.Ru, 2006 Jan 24.
  136. ^ Jury acquitted a Buinaksk suspect again, Lenta.Ru, 2006 November 13.
  137. ^ Khattab said: Your task is small, Kommersant, 13 November 2006.
  138. ^
  139. ^ They should be blown up, not put on trial, Kommersant, 10 April 2002
  140. ^ Putin critic loses post, platform for inquiry, The Baltimore Sun, 11 December 2003
  141. ^ Russian court rejects action over controversial "anti-terrorist exercise", Interfax, 3 April 2003
  142. ^ a b (Russian) The bombing case. Victims ask the president to resume the investigation (Russian), RFE/RL, 2 June 2008
  143. ^ Chronology of events. State Duma Deputy Yushenkov shot dead, Centre for Russian Studies, 17 April 2003
  144. ^ Worries Linger as Schekochikhin's Laid to Rest, The Moscow Times, 7 July 2003
  145. ^ (Russian) В Москве жестоко избит Отто Лацис, NewsRU, 11 November 2003
  146. ^ (Russian) Скончался известный российский журналист Отто Лацис, 3 November 2005
  147. ^ Refutation, Novaya Gazeta, September 2009
  148. ^ (Russian) Tenth anniversary of the "black autumn" in Russia, Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr. interviews Mikhail Trepashkin and others, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 4 September 2009, computer translation
  149. ^ (Russian) FSB is blowing up Russia: Chapter 5. FSB vs the People, Alexander Litvinenko, Yuri Felshtinsky, Novaya Gazeta, 27 August 2001
  150. ^ Caucasus Ka-Boom, Miriam Lanskoy, 8 November 2000, Johnson's Russia List, Issue 4630
  151. ^ (Russian) Grigory Yavlinsky's interview, TV6 Russia, 11 March 2000
  152. ^ Russian crash: search for terrorist link, BBC News, 10 March 2000
  153. ^ (Russian) Presidential election is our last chance to learn the truth, Anna Politkovskaya, Novaya Gazeta, № 2, 15 January 2004
  154. ^ Satter House Testimony, 2007.
  155. ^ p. 304 (Klebnikov 2000)
  156. ^
  157. ^
  158. ^
  159. ^
  160. ^
  161. ^
  162. ^ "Assassination of Russia"- Film Screening and Panel Discussion, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 24 April 2002.
  163. ^
  164. ^
  165. ^
  166. ^ a b Origins of United Russia and the Putin Presidency: The Role of Contingency in Party-System Development
  167. ^ Re: 7727 #11, Jeremy Putley's review of "Darkness at Dawn" by D. Satter, by Dr. Kirill Pankratov, 10 August 2003
  168. ^
  169. ^
  170. ^ Access code (Yulia Latynina's radio program), September 2009
  171. ^ The Caucasus Emirate, by Yulia Latynina
  172. ^ "Spustya desyat’ let, ill o vzryvakh domov v Moskve,, 28 September 2009.
  173. ^ Darkness at Dawn
  174. ^
  175. ^ http://www.themoscowtimes.commap/free/2002/1/article/heat-turned-up-on-berezovsky/248924.html
  176. ^ a b c John Dunlop.The Moscow Bombings of September 1999: Examinations of Russian Terrorist Attacks at the Onset of Vladimir Putin's Rule. Ibidem. 2012. ISBN 978-3-8382-0388-1.
  177. ^ [Russia 'planned Chechen war before bombings'], The Independent, 29 January 2000, by Patrick Cockburn
  178. ^, no. 32, 2006


See also

The Russian political analyst and cousin of Boris Berezovsky, Stanislav Belkovsky, recalled in 2006:[178]

The use of crude language by Putin aroused the Russian public, already eager for revenge. A poll by VTsIOM on 27 September 1999 revealed a considerable hardening of public opinion. Approval of Putin as Prime Minister also began to soar, from 53 percent in September to 78 percent in November. This upsurge in Putin’s ratings had hardly been expected.[110]

In the spring of 1999, Yeltsin found himself in a similar situation to that in 1994. It seemed that the Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov would be able to make major gains in the parliamentary elections in December 1999 and then win the presidential elections in June 2000. War in Chechnya was intended to bring about a postponement of the 2000 Presidential Elections, but the Russian government needed a reason to justify it. But events took an unexpected turn. On 24 September, 11 days after the second Moscow bombing had occurred, Prime Minister Putin vowed publicly to the Russian public,[110]

As to a reason that such justification was needed, President Yeltsin had been told by his advisers in 1994 that a "short victorious war" was needed in order to reverse his faltering chances of being re-elected in the 1996 presidential elections. However, the December 1994 invasion of Chechnya only contributed to a worse political situation. In March 1996, Yeltsin considered banning the communist party, dissolving the Duma and postponing the elections. Eventually he was persuaded that the election could be won if the appropriate "technologies" were applied.[110]

As Patrick Cockburn pointed out:[177]

After being replaced as prime minister in August and before the presidential elections in March 2000, Sergei Stepashin, in separate discussions with three different journalists, made a number of references to the planning of the invasion of Chechnya by the Kremlin which started in March 1999. According to Stepashin, the aim in March 1999 was to place a sanitary cordon around Chechnya but in July this was broadened to seize territory north of the Terek. In other words, Russian forces would have entered Chechnya even if there had been no invasion of Dagestan and no acts of terrorism in Moscow.[110]

[176]Dunlop confirmed:

According to Kagarlitsky, Voloshin was concerned about the succession of power, the Luzhkov/Primakov alliance in particular. They had to be stopped and a conflict with an external enemy was required to achieve this. Basayev, on the other hand, was interested in power in Chechnya. With the influence of the legal president of Chechnya, Maskhadov growing, a small war was needed to change that. A larger conflict would have left Maskhadov in charge.[176]

In early August 1999, the investigative journal Versiya published a report that the head of the Russian presidential administration, Boris Kagarlitsky, those who arranged the meeting made one mistake; the security system blocked monitoring from the outside but provided perfect conditions for monitoring from the inside. French intelligence was able to listen in on everything that transpired.[176]

Alex Goldfarb, an ally of Berezovsky, claimed that a secret agreement had been reached in the spring of 1999 between Chechens Basayev and Udugov, and the Kremlin leadership for a short victorious war in the Caucasus. Russia would begin limited military action in Chechnya in response to the Wahhabis in Dagestan. The Upper Terek district of Chechnya would be returned to Russia, resulting in the fall of the Maskhodov regime, Maskhodov’s place being taken by Basayev and Udugov.[110]

During September 1999, transcripts of a number of alleged phone conversations conducted by Berezovsky with Udugov, Makhashev and other radical Chechens in Spring 1999 were published by a Moscow tabloid. The conversations were reportedly in a primitive code but it seemed to press commentators (such as Aleksandr Khinshtein) that Berezovsky was negotiating a price for an incursion by the rebels into Dagestan. It coincided with the leaking of tapes containing eavesdropping on confidential conversations made by FAPSI.[110]

Former MVD chair and deputy prime minister Anatoliy Kulikov found evidence that Berezovsky was channeling funds to Chechen extremists through the Russian Security Council. Berezovshy’s envoy, Badri Patarkatishvili was witnessed giving Shamil Basayev $10m, in the presence of Ingushetian President Ruslan Aushev and Vice President Boris Agapov.[110] The Russian government sponsored RT reports that Berezovsky was paying the ransoms of hostages captured by the Chechens, while he was deputy secretary of the security council.[174] Vyacheslav Izmailov, a retired army major who spent years brokering hostage deals in Caucasus, claims that militiary and intelligence officials were a party to this activity. Izmailov also stated that during 1997 and 1998, senior officials from the Interior and Defence ministries and from the FSB had maintained regular contact with Chechen leaders, such as Shamil Basayev.[175] Why were the Russians engaged in funding Chechen extremists? The late Paul Klebnikov wrote:[110]

Recent theories

[173] There are difficulties though, with this explanation. All four bombings that occurred had a similar "signature" which indicated that the explosives had been carefully prepared, a mark of skilled specialists. There is also no explanation as to how the terrorists were able to obtain tons of hexogen explosive and transport it to various locations in Russia; hexogen is produced in one plant in

Six months earlier Latynina had expressed a somewhat different view:[172]

In a March 2010 article, Yulia Latynina wrote:[171]

According to Islamic Djamaat, then this would explain the timing of the attacks, and why there were no attacks after the date on which fighting in Dagestan was concluded. It would explain why no Chechen claimed responsibility. It would account for Basayev's reference to Dagestani responsibility, and it would be consistent with Khattab's vow to set off bombs everywhere... blasting through [Russian] cities."[94]

Professor Peter Reddaway and researcher Dmitri Glinski described the involvement of the Liberation Army of Dagestan as the best explanation for the bombings.[166]

Paul J. Murphy, a former U.S. counterterrorism expert stated that "the evidence that Al-Khattab was responsible for the apartment building bombings in Moscow is clear".[26] Murphy also states "the findings by the Russian government prove that the Liberation Army of Dagestan, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, is the same as Al-Khattab's Islamic Army of Dagestan, which launched the invasion of Dagestan from Chechnya in August, 1999".[26]

Theory of Ibn Al Khattab's involvement

In 2009, Russian journalist and radio host Yulia Latynina, commenting on Scott Anderson's article "Vladimir Putin's Dark Rise to Power" noted that deaths of Sergey Yushenkov and Yury Schekochihin "in any case, had no relation to bombings in Moscow". Latynina opined that the version that FSB did the bombings was not only absurd, but purposefully invented by Berezovsky after he was deprived of the power. Her major argument was, that since Berezovsky was one of the key figures to push Putin into the power, he knew for certain the theory was wrong. If Berezovsky felt that "there are some people else beyond Putin, some fearsome siloviks who can explode houses, they [the Family] would throw Putin away, as a hot potato".[170]

Andrey Soldatov is sceptical about Trepashkin's awareness of the details of the Russian apartment bombings. According to Soldatov, the Russian government's suppression of the discussion of the FSB involvement theory reflects paranoia rather than guilt on its part. He points out that, ironically, the paranoia produced the conspiracy theories that the government was keen to stamp out.[169]


Security and policy analysts Simon Saradzhyan and Nabi Abdullaev noted that Litvinenko and Felshtinsky did not provide any direct evidence to back up their claims about FSB involvement in the bombings.[168]

Kirill Pankratov, in a 2003 letter to the Johnson's Russia List, spoke against Satter's and Putley's theory. He noted that 1) there was no need for "another pretext for military operation in Chechnya at the time of the 'Ryazan incident'", but there were already a "plenty of reasons for decisive military response", 2) the FSB or other security service was institutionally incapable of such a conspiracy after years of decline in the 1990s, 3) the conspirators were not actually trying to blow a building up in Ryazan; however, their sloppy actions are "consistent with the 'training exercise' version of events", 4) the FSB did not have to declare the incident a "training exercise", but "it was much easier to show great relief... and continue trying to find the 'perpetrators' of the bombing attempt."[167]

According to Robert Bruce Ware of Southern Illinois University, "The assertions that Russian security services are responsible for the bombings is at least partially incorrect, and appears to have given rise to an obscurantist mythology of Russian culpability. At the very least, it is clear that these assertions are incomplete in so far as they have not taken full account of the evidence suggesting the responsibility of Wahhabis under the leadership of Khattab, who may have been seeking retribution for the federal assault upon Dagestan's Islamic Djamaat."[94]

According to Henry E. Hale of Harvard University, one thing that remains unclear about the "FSB did it" theory: If the motive was to get an FSB-friendly man installed as president, why would the FSB have preferred Putin, a little-known "upstart" who had leapt to the post of FSB director through outside political channels, to Primakov, who was certainly senior in stature and pedigree and who was also widely reputed to have a KGB past?[166]

Vlad Sobell has pointed out that the proponents of the theory that the second invasion of Chechnya was a plot by Putin to get elected regularly ignore the key fact that Putin's attack on Chechnya in 1999 was preceded by a Chechen insurrection in Dagestan, whose objective was to turn it into another unstable Chechnya.[165]

Mike Bowker, from the University of East Anglia, has said that the inference that the bombings were carried out by the Russian authorities is uncorroborated by evidence. According to Bowker, the theory also ignores the history of Chechen terrorism and public threats by various Chechen rebels following their defeat in Dagestan – which included Khattab telling a Czech and a German newspaper, a few days before the bombings in Moscow, that "Russian women and children will pay for the crimes of Russian generals." and that "this will not happen tomorrow, but the day after tomorrow"[163][164]

. open verdict Berezovsky died in 2013 in the United Kingdom; he was found hanged but the coroner did not rule it suicide but requested an [24] According to researcher Gordon Bennett, the conspiracy theory that the FSB was behind the bombings was kept alive by the


9/11 attacks to justify military actions.[162]

In 2000, Putin dismissed the allegations of FSB involvement in the bombings as "delirious nonsense." "There are no people in the Russian secret services who would be capable of such crime against their own people. The very allegation is immoral," he said.[160] An FSB spokesman said that "Litvinenko's evidence cannot be taken seriously by those who are investigating the bombings".[161]



A PBS Frontline documentary on Vladimir Putin, called "Putin's Way", also mentioned the false flag theory and FSB involvement, citing the quick removal of rubble and bodies from the bombing scenes before any investigation could take place, the discovery of the Ryazan bomb, the deaths of several people who had attempted to investigate the bombings, as well as the defused Ryazan bomb being made of Russian military explosives and detonators.[158][159]

Andrei Illarionov, until 2005 a key economic adviser to the Russian president, has no doubts as to who was responsible for the bombings:[157]

A famous American author in military strategy J. R. Nyquist suggested that Russian secret military operation should also be considered.[156]

[155]According to the theory, the bombings were a successful

Yuri Felshtinsky, Litvinenko, David Satter, Boris Kagarlitsky, Vladimir Pribylovsky, and the secessionist Chechen authorities claimed that the 1999 bombings were a false flag attack coordinated by the FSB to win public support for a new full-scale war in Chechnya, which boosted Prime Minister and former FSB Director Vladimir Putin's popularity, and brought the pro-war Unity Party to the State Duma and Putin to the presidency within a few months.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23]

Theory of Russian government conspiracy

Surviving victims of the Guryanova street bombing asked President Dmitry Medvedev to resume the investigation in 2008.[142]

Journalist Anna Politkovskaya and former security service member Alexander Litvinenko, who investigated the bombings, were killed in 2006.[153]

Artyom Borovik told Grigory Yavlinsky that Borovik investigated the Moscow apartment bombings and prepared a series of publications about them.[151] Mr. Borovik received numerous death threats, and he died in an aeroplane crash in March 2000.[152]

On 24 March 2000, two days before the presidential elections, NTV Russia featured the Ryazan events of Fall 1999 in the talk show Independent Investigation. The talk with the residents of the Ryazan apartment building along with FSB public relations director Alexander Zdanovich and Ryazan branch head Alexander Sergeyev was filmed few days earlier. On 26 March Boris Nemtsov voiced his concern over the possible shut-down of NTV for airing the talk.[149] Seven months later, NTV general manager Igor Malashenko said at the JFK School of Government that Information Minister Mikhail Lesin warned him on several occasions. Malashenko's recollection of Lesin's warning was that by airing the talk show NTV "crossed the line" and that the NTV managers were "outlaws" in the eyes of the Kremlin.[150] According to Alexander Goldfarb, Mr. Malashenko told him that Valentin Yumashev brought a warning from the Kremlin, one day before airing the show, promising in no uncertain terms that the NTV managers "should consider themselves finished" if they went ahead with the broadcast.(Goldfarb & Litvinenko 2007, p. 198)

According to Trepashkin, his supervisors and the people from the FSB promised not to arrest him if he left the Kovalev commission and started working together with the FSB "against Alexander Litvinenko".[84]

Trepashkin investigated a letter attributed to Achemez Gochiyayev and found that the alleged assistant of Gochiyayev who arranged the delivery of sacks might have been Kapstroi-2000 vice president Alexander Karmishin, a resident of Vyazma.[148]

[147] newspaper published a note which stated that Romanovich died more than a year before the apartment bombings took place:Novaya GazetaHowever, in 2009, Russian

The commission asked lawyer [83]

Two key members of the Kovalyov Commission, Sergei Yushenkov and Yuri Shchekochikhin, both Duma members, have since died in apparent assassinations in April 2003 and July 2003, respectively.[143][144] Another member of the commission, Otto Lacis, was assaulted in November 2003[145] and two years later, on 3 November 2005, he died in a hospital after a car accident.[146]

Years later Kovalyov remarked,[142] "What can I tell? We can prove only one thing: there was no training exercise in the city of Ryazan. Authorities do not want to answer any questions..."

[12] radio, Kovalyov commented on the Ryazan incident:Echo of MoscowIn a 2002 interview to

An independent public commission to investigate the bombings, which was chaired by Duma deputy Sergei Kovalyov, was rendered ineffective because of government refusal to respond to its inquiries.[140][141]

The Russian Duma rejected two motions for parliamentary investigation of the Ryazan incident.[79][80]

Attempts at independent investigation

  • Isa Zainutdinov (an ethnic Avar)[130] and native of Dagestan,[132] sentenced to life imprisonment in March 2001[133]
  • Alisultan Salikhov (an ethnic Avar)[130] and native of Dagestan,[132] sentenced to life imprisonment in March 2001[133]
  • Magomed Salikhov (an ethnic Avar)[130] and native of Dagestan,[134] arrested in Azerbaijan in November 2004, extradited to Russia, found not guilty on the charge of terrorism by the jury on 24 January 2006; found guilty of participating in an armed force and illegal crossing of the national border,[135] he was retried again on the same charges on 13 November 2006 and again found not guilty, this time on all charges, including the ones he was found guilty of in the first trial.[136] According to Kommersant Salikhov admitted that he made a delivery of paint to Dagestan for Ibn al-Khattab, although he was not sure what was really delivered.[137]
  • Ziyavudin Ziyavudinov (a native of Dagestan),[138] arrested in Kazakhstan, extradited to Russia, sentenced to 24 years in April 2002[139]
  • Abdulkadyr Abdulkadyrov (an ethnic Avar)[130] and native of Dagestan, sentenced to 9 years in March 2001[133]
  • Magomed Magomedov (Sentenced to 9 years in March 2001)[133]
  • Zainutdin Zainutdinov (an ethnic Avar)[130] and native of Dagestan, sentenced to 3 years in March 2001 and immediately released under amnesty[133]
  • Makhach Abdulsamedov (a native of Dagestan, sentenced to 3 years in March 2001 and immediately released under amnesty).[133]
Buinaksk bombing
  • Timur Batchayev (an ethnic Karachai),[130] killed in Georgia in the clash with police during which Krymshakhalov was arrested[68]
  • Zaur Batchayev (an ethnic Karachai)[131] killed in Chechnya in 1999–2000[68]
  • Adam Dekkushev (an ethnic Karachai),[132] arrested in Georgia, threw a grenade at police during the arrest, extradited to Russia and sentenced to life imprisonment in January 2004, after a two-month secret trial held without a jury[2][67]
Volgodonsk bombing
  • Ibn al-Khattab (a Saudi-born Mujahid), who was killed by the FSB in 2002.
  • Achemez Gochiyayev (an ethnic Karachai,[120] has not been arrested; he is still at large)[121]
  • Denis Saitakov (an ethnic [123][68]
  • Khakim Abayev (an ethnic Karachai),[120] killed by FSB special forces in May 2004 in Ingushetia[124]
  • Ravil Akhmyarov (a Russian citizen),[125] Surname indicates an ethnic Tatar, killed in Chechnya in 1999–2000[68]
  • Yusuf Krymshamkhalov (an ethnic Karachai and resident of life imprisonment in January 2004, after a two-month secret trial held without a jury[2][128]
  • Stanislav Lyubichev (a traffic police inspector, resident of Kislovodsk, Stavropol Krai),[126] who helped the truck with explosives pass the checkpoint after getting a sack of sugar as a bribe, sentenced to four years in May 2003[129]
Moscow bombings

In September 1999, hundreds of Chechen nationals (out of the more than 100,000 permanently living in Moscow) were briefly detained and interrogated in Moscow, as a wave of anti-Chechen sentiments swept the city.[119] All of them turned out to be innocent. According to the official investigation, the following people either delivered explosives, stored them, or harboured other suspects:

Suspects and accused

[118] In a statement released in January 2004, the FSB said, "until we arrest Gochiyayev, the investigation of the apartment bloc bombings of 1999 will not be finished."[116] Two members of Gochiyayev's group, which had carried out the attacks,


According to Dekkushev's confession he, together with Krymshamkhalov and Batchayev, prepared the explosives, transported them to Volgodonsk, and randomly picked the apartment building on Octyabrskoye Shosse to blow up. Abu Omar had promised to pay him for the job, but Dekkushev never got a single kopeck. According to Dekkushev, it wasn't the FSB that ordered the bombing, as Boris Berezovsky later claimed, but the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).[26]

Court ruling on events in Volgodonsk

The 14 September Buinaksk bombings were ordered by Al-Khattab, who promised the bombers $300,000 to drive their truck bombs into the center of the compound, which would have destroyed four apartment buildings simultaneously. However, the bombers parked on an adjacent street instead and blew up only one building. At the trial they complained that Khattab had not given them all the money he owed them.[26] One of the bombers confessed working for Al-Khattab, but claimed he did not know the explosives were intended to blow up the military apartment buildings.[26]

Court ruling on events in Buinaksk

There are doubts though as to Gochiyaev's guilt. In November 2003, an article appeared in the weekly Moskovskiye Novosti, authored by an investigative journalist, Igor Korolkov.[115] It described a meeting between Mikhail Trepashkin and Mark Blumenfeld, a former businessman who had rented the basement in the apartment house on Guryanov Street to Gochiyaev, in which Mr Blumenfeld stated that the person who was making use of the Laipanov passport, and who was publicly presented by the investigation as Gochiyaev, was not in fact Gochiyaev. In Lefortovo Prison, Blumenfeld had been shown a photo of someone he was told was Gochiyaev but Blumenfeld replied that he had never seen the man but the investigators insisted that he identify Gochiyaev, at which point Blumenfeld ceased arguing and signed the document. The person who had met Blumenfeld was evidently not the same person depicted in the photograph but was, according to Blumenfeld, a man with a simple face whereas the person Blumenfeld had actually met looked externally like an intellectual. False-Laiponov had been seen by several persons. They all maintained that the original composite photo was very similar to the actual person who rented the storage facilities.[110]

The explosion in the mall on Manezhnaya Square was the subject of a separate court process held in Moscow in 2009. The court accused Khalid Khuguyev Intourist and sentenced them correspndingly to 25 years and 15 years of imprisonment.[114]

Al-Khattab paid Gochiyayev $500,000 to carry out the attacks at Guryanova Street, Kashirskoye Highway, and Borisovskiye Prudy, and then helped to hide Gochiyayev and his accomplices in Chechnya.[26][44] In early September 1999, Magayayev, Krymshamkhalov, Batchayev and Dekkushev reloaded the cargo into a Mercedes-Benz 2236[111] trailer and delivered it to Moscow. En route, they were protected from possible complications by an accomplice, Khakim Abayev,[111] who accompanied the trailer in another car. In Moscow they were met by Achemez Gochiyayev, who registered in Hotel Altai under the fake name "Laipanov", and Denis Saitakov. The explosives were left in a warehouse in Ulitsa Krasnodonskaya, which was leased by pseudo-Laipanov (Gochiyayev.) The next day, the explosives were delivered in "ZIL-5301" vans to three addresses – Ulitsa Guryanova, Kashirskoye Shosse and Ulitsa Borisovskiye Prudy, where pseudo-Laipanov leased cellars.[111] Gochiyayev supervised the placement of the bombs in the rented cellars. Next followed the explosions at the former two addresses. The explosion at 16 Borisovskiye Prudy was prevented.[26][112] Batchayev and Krymshakhalov admitted transporting a truckload of explosives to Moscow but said "they have never been in touch with Chechen warlords and did not know Gochiyaev".[2] They said that someone "who posed as a jihad leader had duped them into the operation" by hiring them to transport his explosives, and they later realised this man was working for the FSB.[2] They claimed that bombings were directed by German Ugryumov who supervised the FSB Alpha and Vympel special forces units at that time.[113]

Court ruling on events in Moscow

It should be stated that nearly all the information concerning the Moscow bombers was generated by the FSB and the Russian General Procuracy. Is this information credible? According to Dunlop:[110]

The official investigation was concluded in 2002. According to the Russian State Prosecutor office,[68][104] all apartment bombings were executed under command of ethnic Karachay Achemez Gochiyayev. The operations were planned by Ibn al-Khattab and Abu Omar al-Saif, Arab militants fighting in Chechnya on the side of Chechen insurgents. Both Russia and USA accuse Al-Khattab of having direct links with Al-Qaida,[105] though Khattab himself has always denied this.[106][107] Al-Khattab and al-Saif were later killed during the Second Chechen War. The planning was carried out in Khattab's guerilla camps in Chechnya, "Caucasus" in Shatoy and "Taliban" in Avtury, according to the prosecution.[104] Gochiyaev's group was trained at Chechen rebel bases in the towns of Serzhen-Yurt and Urus-Martan. The group's "technical instructors" were two Arab field commanders, Abu Umar and Abu Djafar, Al-Khattab was the bombings' brainchild.[108] The explosives were prepared at a fertiliser factory in Urus-Martan Chechnya, by "mixing aluminium powder, nitre and sugar in a concrete mixer",[109] or by also putting their RDX and TNT.[68] From there they were sent to a food storage facility in Kislovodsk, which was managed by an uncle of one of the terrorists, Yusuf Krymshakhalov. Another conspirator, Ruslan Magayayev, leased a KamAZ truck in which the sacks were stored for two months. After everything was planned, the participants were organised into several groups which then transported the explosives to different cities.

Criminal investigation and court ruling

Investigations and theories

Duma member Konstantin Borovoi said that he had been "warned by an agent of Russian military intelligence of a wave of terrorist bombings" prior to the blasts.[101]

[103] three months before the bombings, Swedish journalist Jan Blomgren wrote in [100] Satter reported that on 6 June 1999,Darkness at Dawn In his book

Evidence that the bombings were staged

[99] On September 15, 1999 a Dagestani official also denied the existence of a "Dagestan Liberation Army".[98]

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