Who’s to blame for the Moscow massacre? ISIL, Ukraine or Russia itself?


Al Jazeera :
Aleksandra Chanysheva is convinced that lax security is what made the Friday night attack on a concert hall just northwest of Moscow possible.

“Guards are the most ridiculed and underpaid people in Russia,” the 51-year-old teacher of Russian language and literature at a public school told Al Jazeera.

“And they do their work in the worst way possible.”

The attack on the Crocus City Hall killed at least 133 people, including three children, and wounded more than 100 others, Russian investigators said on Saturday.

Several heavily armed, camouflage-wearing men sprayed a crowd of spectators that gathered to hear Soviet-era rock band Picnic with bullets, set the building on fire and escaped in a “white Renault,” officials said.

Some experts agree with Chanysheva – given post-Soviet Russia’s history of lethal attacks on crowded public places that dates back to when Moscow started the second Chechen war a quarter of a century ago.


But other analysts and Russian opposition groups argue that an even darker possibility cannot be ruled out: they point to potential political gains for President Vladimir Putin from the Friday massacre.

Back in the late 1990s, Chechen separatists and fighters from the mostly Muslim North Caucasus region, launched a wave of attacks, seizing concert halls, hospitals and public schools; sending suicide bombers to Moscow’s sprawling subway system; and detonating explosives on buses and planes.

The Friday attack “showed complete impotence” of Russia’s special services, national guard and the entire law enforcement system, Nikolay Mitrokhin, research fellow at Germany’s University of Bremen told Al Jazeera.

The intelligence services received repeated warnings from the West – including a public alert from the United States on March 8.

“The Embassy is monitoring reports that extremists have imminent plans to target large gatherings in Moscow, to include concerts, and US citizens should be advised to avoid large gatherings over the next 48 hours,” the country’s mission in Moscow wrote on X.

But days later, on March 19, Russian President Vladimir Putin snubbed that warning about possible attacks in Moscow, and described it as “blackmail”.