This article was first published in Vanity Fair.
It takes a lot to terrorize a Russian. Compared to the truly spectacular acts of terrorism and violence that Russians have suffered over the past two decades, today’s suicide bombing at Moscow’s busiest airport, Domodedovo, is too small-time to have much of an effect besides pissing off an already-pissed-off population.
Back in 2004, two passenger jets that took off from this same airport were blown out of the sky by Chechen “black widows”—Chechen women widowed by the brutal war with Russia, and turned into suicide bombers. Shortly after that double-Lockerbie airplane bombing, opposition leader Eduard Limonov explained to me what he thought was behind the logic: “They understood that Russians wouldn’t be moved if only one plane was blown up, so they blew up two planes simultaneously, just to get our attention,” he said. Limonov used to write about Russian hard-heartedness, the result of their brutal experience with Communism, followed by the nihilistic Yeltsin Era, when the average male’s life expectancy plunged from 68 years to just 56, in a free-market Babylon of corruption, plunder, and violence.
At a Moscow rock festival in 2003, two Chechen suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gated entrance, killing more than a dozen people and wounding scores more. Nevertheless, the 40,000 concert-goers were neither frightened nor particularly bothered; the festival went on for another six hours of vodka-and-beer-soaked revelry. Previous bombings of the Moscow metro, buses, and airlines have had no effect on public transport usage or travel. When suicide bombers attacked the popular Egyptian resort at Sharm-el-Sheikh in the summer of 2005, killing 88, most Europeans panicked and canceled their trips to the resort area—but not Russians…
Read the rest of this article at VanityFair.com
Here is a first look at the explosion as caught by an airport camera:
Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond.
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