The victims of the bomb explosion in Saint-Petersburg supermarket are ironic about the qualifying of the blast as a “murder attempt in public place”: “Assassinating us for food baskets?!”. The official version is obviously doubtful, taking into consideration the fact of the home-made engine spreading shrapnel or “frag” – fast-moving pieces of metal thrown off by a detonation, leaving 10 people seriously injured, and one in a critical condition. Among wounded is also a pregnant women.
The investigation is led by the National anti-terrorist committee, however the word “terrorism” is avoided in public discourse; the video with major suspect entering the supermarket, and some other images of the interior with damages were published by the anti-terrorist committee as well. The obvious official hypocrisy has political reasons.
Petersburg media interpreted the approach of the authorities as an attempt to play down the gravity of the situation, damaging New Year celebrations atmosphere in town. The issue is particularly delicate, because the blast happened in the home city of the incumbent and future President of Russia Vladimir Putin, who will be re-elected on 18 March under slogans of “stability” (read “stagnation”). The terrorist act during festivities, committed by an individual of “non-Slavic” appearance, as the investigators stated, is seriously undermining the Disney-land image of happy and stable Russia the clans at power are attempting to project, justifying their choice for continuity of Putin’s unchallenged reign.
The rise of Islamists in Russia is aggravated by open border with the Central Asian countries, influenced by Islamic State radicals, who are constructing a belt from Iraq to Afghanistan, via Central Asian countries, regrouping their forces after the major defeat of the Caliphate in the Middle East.
“Unprecedented terrorist aggression has been seen in Europe, the United States, and the countries that are our allies under the Collective Security Treaty Organisation in Asia – all this presents a serious threat to international security”, said Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov addressing MunichSecurity conference.
Russian minister expressed concern over the overall degradation of the situation in the Middle East and North Africa after ‘Arab Spring’, and migrant crisis in Europe, pointing at the threat of terrorism to expand in Middle East, North Africa.
Lavrov claimed a “certain success” in the fight against ISIS, al-Nusra Front, and the other terroristic groups, however he underlined that the international community has failed so far to create a “truly efficient anti-terrorist front”, blaming “inability” to put aside nonentity matters, and curb geopolitical ambitions.
Lavrov called for a “true union” of the leading nations against international terrorism, and also to prevent the collapse of Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Afghanistan, infiltrated by ISIS, using the lack of unified strategy to their advantage.
Nadia Murad (pictured) and Lamiya Aji Bashar, public advocates for the Yazidi community in Iraq and survivors of sexual enslavement by the so-called Islamic State, will receive the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in a ceremony on Tuesday at noon.
‘On #HumanRightsDay, I call on you to #StandUp4HumanRights. If we all do our small part, in every corner of the world, I believe we can end genocide and mass atrocities against women and children. If we have the courage to stand up and fight for those we don’t know – who live thousands of miles away – we can make a difference. The world is one community and we need to act as such”, – says Nadia Murad post on her page in social media.
A joint press conference with Parliament’s President Martin Schulz will take place immediately after the award ceremony at 12.30.
Also shortlisted for the prize were Can Dündar, former editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, and Mustafa Dzhemilev, former chair of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatars People from Tatar Parliament, a former Soviet dissident and a Ukrainian MP. They will both attend the ceremony.
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after Soviet scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov, was established in December 1988 by the European Parliament to honour individuals or organizations who dedicate their lives to the defence of human rights and freedoms, particularly the right to free expression.