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Moscow airport bomb: a moment of truth for Russia and Medvedev

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This is the second security lapse at Domodedovo. In 2004, two female Chechen suicide bombers from the north Caucasus bribed an airport security guard, boarded two planes there, and brought them both down. Since then, security in Domodedovo has improved, but apparently not enough.

A history of brazen attacks

This modus operandi looks like previous extremist attacks in the Moscow Metro (subway), markets, and other soft targets. In March last year, two female suicide bombers attacked the Metro system, killing 40 and wounding dozens.

In towns throughout southern Russia, Islamist terrorists regularly attack innocent civilians. Law enforcement forces and pro-Moscow politicians are frequent targets as well. The Chechens have also engaged in massive hostage-taking in recent years – in theaters, hospitals, and a school.

Put plainly, Russia is in the throes of a low-intensity civil war. This, in turn, has escalated racist sentiments in the ethnic Russian cities. Combined, it’s a witch’s brew in the country’s stage-managed political season. (Duma elections will be held this December and the presidential race is next year.) Fear compounded by ethnic and religious hatred will probably make the electorate yearn for Vladimir Putin’s “strong hand,” moving him back into the third presidential term after completing his prime ministership.

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