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From the April 2004 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 51, No. 4)

Viewpoints

Bombing in the Moscow Subway

Reaction from Athens, Istanbul, Beijing, Budapest, Sydney, Berlin, Oslo, and Sofia

Athens Eleftherotypia (liberal), Feb. 8: Analysts appreciate that [the terrorists’] objective is destabilization and the reintroduction of the forgotten issue of Chechnya into the limelight, as well as the expression of opposition to Putin’s hard-line policies against Chechnya. Three months after the election of Moscow’s friend and new president of Chechnya Akhmad Kadyrov, Putin’s policies resemble those of America’s in Iraq: placing a “friendly” government in Grozny (as in Baghdad) as control is slowly granted by the Russians to the new government.

Istanbul Sabah (independent), Feb. 10: After the bomb attack in the Moscow subway, relations between Moscow and Ankara will go in the negative direction because of the Chechen rebels. Chechen terrorists are believed to be behind the attack. The Turkish government is accused of supporting the Chechen rebels....Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said after the attack, “In the numerous operations conducted in some Chechen terrorist camps, most of the paid soldiers who were arrested were Turkish citizens.”

Beijing Shijie Xinwen/World News Journal (biweekly of China Radio Intenational), Feb. 9: In recent years, terror attacks in Russia have brought disaster to many ordinary Russian families because the Chechen problem has not been completely resolved....It is thought that as the presidential election draws near, terrorists intend to create chaos to destroy Russia’s political stability.

Budapest HVG (independent weekly), Feb. 11: In the wake of last Friday’s Moscow attack, it seems that there are no elections without explosions in Russia. Eight years ago, a metro bombing, and four years ago, the destruction of two Moscow apartment houses preceded presidential elections. In December, a city-center bombing punctuated the parliamentary elections.
—Andras Nemeth

Sydney The Australian (conservative), Feb. 9: A Saudi Islamic militant base in the breakaway republic of Chechnya is suspected of being behind the bomb attack on the Moscow metro....Abu-al-Walid al-Ghamidi, 36,...is also believed to have been one of the masterminds of the October 2002 Moscow theater siege, which ended with the deaths of 40 Chechen terrorists and 129 of their hostages. —Mark Franchetti

Berlin Berliner Zeitung (liberal), Feb. 9: Chechen terror is a threat that has emerged from within the Russian state itself. The war-weary Chechen population is being kept from peaceful existence not by the pressure of international terrorist organizations but by the constant attacks by shadowy gangs, by Russian retaliation strikes, and by a corrupt government that enjoys the confidence of Moscow but not of its own people. No rigged election and a Soviet-style result of more than 90-percent support for Moscow’s puppet can pull the wool over their eyes.

Oslo Dagsavisen (liberal), Feb. 7: There is no legitimate defense for a bomb attack against innocent morning commuters. Chechen terrorists have previously shown a frightening lack of respect for innocent lives. But they do not operate in a vacuum, because it is also difficult to defend the behavior of the Russian army in Chechnya in the past decade. At least 20,000 people have lost their lives, and the civilian population is both terrorized and traumatized by brutal and disillusioned Russian soldiers.

Sofia Dnevnik (conservative), Feb. 9: The smoke had hardly lifted from the scene of the blast when the pro-government media disseminated detailed dispatches...that suggested...it was a terrorist act perpetrated by the Chechens....But Russian occupation troops in Chechnya appear to be treating the entire Chechen population as terrorists.
—Anton Todorov

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