Red Terror File: Belarusian KGB hunts for suspects in wake of Minsk subway bombing, 12 killed; dictator Lukashenko vows harsh security measures

Belarus’ “ex”-communist dictator Alexander Lukashenko ordered a harsh security crackdown yesterday after at least 12 people died in a subway bombing in Minsk, the first such terrorist attack in Belarus since President Lukashenko came to power. Another 149 people were wounded after the explosive device blew up during the evening rush hour in the capital’s busiest metro station, which is near the presidential residence.

Lukashenko ordered the State Secuity Committee (KGB), which still flaunts its Soviet-era name, to tighten security “to the uttermost” in a country that is already classified by the European Union as the continent’s “last dictatorship.” The KGB alleges that the blast may have been “orchestrated from abroad,” according to a transcript
of an emergency government meeting published on the president’s website. Several arrests were made in connection with the explosion, state-run Belta news reported.

The 56-year-old leader, whose government is under EU sanctions, extended his 16-year rule in December elections that international observers condemned as “undemocratic.” The former Soviet republic has been the subject of speculation about a possible default amid diminishing foreign reserves. Lukashenko is closely allied with Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez. The Communist Party of Belarus openly endorses Lukashenko’s policies.

Renaissance Capital analyst Anastasiya Golovach suggested that yesterday’s deadly blast in Minsk could have been a government-sponsored provocation: “The explosion could divert the public’s attention away from economic issues: the present currency crisis and certain, apparently unpopular measures being implemented by the state.” Belarus is seeking a loan of US$3 billion from Russia and other former Soviet republics.

“The event is shocking, not just as a terrorist attack but also because it happened in Minsk, Belarus, a place which has for a long time been considered highly stable in terms of security,” commented VTB Capital analyst Alexei Moiseev in Moscow. “One of the key positive factors in Belarus, stability, has come under attack.”

“Belarus does not face any obvious terrorist threats,” observed Timothy Ash, head of emerging-market research at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London. This fact alone cast a suspicious shadow over the bombing.

The Prosecutor General’s Office, however, declared the blast “an act of terrorism” and announced that it had opened a criminal investigation. Belarusian law enforcement authorities today presented composite sketches of two suspects, reported Russian state television channel. Rossiya 24 cited anonymous experts who stated that the bomb was radio-controlled. Officers of the Russian Federation Federal Security Service have arrived in Minsk to assist the Belarusian investigation.

The device went off as two trains were arriving at the Oktyabrskaya station, where the capital’s two metro lines intersect. The bomb, which was equivalent to 5 kilograms (11 pounds) to 7 kilograms of TNT, left a crater 80 centimeters (31 inches) deep.

On January 24, suicide bombers struck Moscow’s Domodedovo International Airport, killing at least 35 travellers.

2 responses to “Red Terror File: Belarusian KGB hunts for suspects in wake of Minsk subway bombing, 12 killed; dictator Lukashenko vows harsh security measures

  1. mah29001 April 12, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    Hmm, very interesting, the Kremlin gets to have it both ways when fighting terrorism, accuse the U.S. of being behind 9/11 through its propaganda outlets like Russia Today and the Pravda…but at the same time fund governments like Iran which supports terrorism.

  2. mah29001 April 15, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    I also wonder WHY the Kremlin won’t cut its ties with the Chechen government which its leaders have become proponents and enablers of Islamic extermism either….it’s as if almost like they either do not care, and WANT it to spread.

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