Analysis: Medvedev in Blame Game

Amiel Ungar, | updated: 14:08

Domodedovo Airport
Domodedovo Airport


The terrorist attack at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, in addition to being a tragedy for the victims of the mega casualty attack and their families, was also an embarrassment for the tandem of Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.

While nationalism and resentment over the economic chaos of the 1990s helped pave the way for the reign of Putin and company, the terrorist attacks perpetrated by Muslim terrorists during the Boris Yeltsin era were a contributing factor. People wanted the problem solved with an iron hand and Putin and his fellow KGB alumni seemed suited for the job. Now a major showcase of the new Russia was stricken by the terrorist atrocity and while the media attempted to show that businesses had quickly returned to normal at the airport, it could not efface the trauma of the blast.

The English-language Moscow News interviewed an Israeli called Ariel “It’s very bad. It’s 100 percent terrorism… I think I’m going back to Israel right now.” One could not miss the intended dig that an Israeli whose country is viewed as a chronic victim of terrorist attacks would want to scurry back to Israel for safety.

 A further embarrassment for the government was the delay in the arrival of rescue crews and ambulances simply because the new airport is ill served by the roads leading to it and traffic was reduced to a crawl. While there were acts of altruism such as drivers giving lifts to passengers, taxi drivers at the airport witnessed a golden opportunity for price gouging and took it.

Given the embarrassment,  it was necessary to deflect the blame. The deputy head of the Security Committee of the State Duma, Magomed Vakhayev, suspected that the bomber was a representative of the extreme Moslem Caucasus Emirate. "It could be a reaction to a series of successful operations of our security forces in Dagestan and Ingushetia, during which prominent leaders of this terrorist organization  had been destroyed and captured". In other words, he said between the lines, the government was still doing well in the net win-loss column.

Many blamed the airport authorities, starting with President Medvedev himself.  Medvedev instructed the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Yuri Chaika to verify that security laws at Domodedovo Airport had been observed. "Unfortunately, we do not always apply, even such important legislation," - said Medvedev. "What happened shows that they were clearly in breach of security".

The former head of the Russian bureau of Interpol, Major-General retired Vladimir Ovchinskii, believed that not only the security forces, but the administration of Domodedovo was responsible. "Terrorists could see what chaos reigned at Domodedovo Airport on the eve of New Year's, and therefore selected it as a target."

Domodedovo Airport Management fired back that it did not consider itself responsible for what happened before the explosion. "We have acted strictly in accordance with the requirements of aviation security".

Vladimir Zhirinovsky  head of the grossly misnamed Liberal Democratic Party, has so far been the only politician to blame the attack in the Moscow's Domodedovo airport on the leadership of the security services in the Moscow region.