Perspective Terrorism Top

In shock and grief, Russia argues about who’s to blame

Naïka Jean/YJI

Krasnodar, RUSSIA – All of Russia observed a national day of mourning on Sunday for those killed Friday in a bloody terrorist attack near Moscow.

Several gunmen shot people gathered to watch a concert at the Crocus City Hall, a horrific assault that shocked and terrified the entire country. The building itself was set on fire, claiming even more lives.

In the aftermath, people are donating blood, cleaning up after the fire, searching for missing relatives and arguing about who was behind the crime.

I found out about it from Telegram channels of my favorite book bloggers.

They were horrified and sympathized with the families of the victims in Moscow.

Then I turned on the TV, and there they were – videos of the huge Crocus building going up in flames, a shooting in a concert hall, accounts of terrified eyewitnesses.

The number of victims was rising every minute and the internet was full of fake information and scared people.

Why and for what? were the questions in my head. Why would a human kill others when there are enough wars and natural disasters?

What is in the heart of a man who shamelessly shoots people who have done him no wrong? How could all that be possible in the 21st century?

Has not all human experience taught us that there is nothing more valuable than life?

But the main question remains: who would want that and what were their goals?

Videos of people at the concert venue being shot at point-blank range by gunmen in camouflage blew up the internet around 8 p.m. Friday. A fierce fire began at the building after the shooting and at least some of the roof collapsed.

Telegram, Russia’s most popular messaging app, and VK, a Russian social network, were malfunctioning.

Both Russian and international media are reporting the death toll at 137, including several children killed and many people injured. The numbers could continue to rise.

Russian authorities arrested people they said took part in the attack.

Many people see a political motive for the killings. The gunmen are not known to have made any demands or statements and did not take any hostages.

They shot people blindly. It seems the attack was carefully planned. 

Some people suppose that the terrorist attack was the Ukrainian government’s handiwork, an attempt to develop an ethnic war within Russia. Others say that it is a deceptive operation to generate support for mobilizing more Russian troops.

Some blame the American government.

Ukraine denies their involvement in the attack. In his video message on Telegram, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke not so much about the attack itself, but about the war in Ukraine.

“They came to Ukraine and are burning our cities and they try to blame Ukraine,” he said.

In online public chats, some posting as Ukrainians linked the terror strike to Russian’s recent election, which saw Vladimir Putin claim another term as president.

‘Dog’s death for dogs,’ one person wrote.           

The United States warned Russia earlier this month about a possible terrorist attack by ISIS-K, according to The New York Times. Around the same time, the U.S. State Department publicly advised Americans in Russia to avoid large gatherings.

After the attack, ISIS-K issued a statement claiming responsibility, according to the Associated Press.

But in Russia, no one suggested that the terrorist organization ISIS-K was involved in this.

In a speech to the nation on Saturday, Putin said four perpetrators directly involved in the attack were heading towards Ukraine when they were arrested. He claimed that “a window was prepared for them on the Ukrainian side” to cross the border. 

According to The New York Times, four men, at least three of them from Tajikstan, appeared in a Russian courtroom Sunday and were charged with committing a terrorist attack.

The Russian government said it is continuing to investigate.

Whoever was to blame for the terrorist attack, and whatever their motives, innocent civilians suffered as always. Nothing can justify this heinous inhumane crime.

Amina Urdukhanova is a Junior Reporter with Youth Journalism International from Russia. She wrote this commentary.

Naïka Jean is a Reporter and Illustrator with Youth Journalism International from Haiti. She made the illustration.

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