A bomb exploded in the Moscow metro at 8:40 local time this morning, at the peak of rush-hour in the busiest underground system in the world. So far the number of casualties has reached 39, though this is bound to increase. The authorities are still piecing together blown up bits of bodies in the tunnel between Paveletskaya and Avtozavodskaya stations. It took over two hours to extinguish the fire that the explosion created. Over 700 were evacuated to safety.
The reaction of President Putin was swift. "We do not negotiate with terrorists. We destroy them," he said following a meeting with the President
Aliyev of Azerbeidjan, who had come to Moscow to discuss the war on international terrorism.
Putin referred to the bomb as an attempt to destabilise the country before presidential elections next month. However, such terrorist attacks only play into the hands of Putin, justify his repressive measures domestically, and the imperialist war in Chechnya that Putin has waged determinedly. In fact the main issue of the last presidential campaign was the war in Chechnya that Putin promised to bring to a successful conclusion. Instead of victory the Russian army has become demoralised by Chechen partisan resistance, and peace is further away than ever.
Now the bloody atrocities that the Russian state have committed in its bid to control the Caucasus have led to a spate of terrorist attacks in the centre. Fred Weir, a respected journalist and expert on Russian affairs, has pointed out that more people have died from terrorist attacks in Moscow in the last 18 months than in Israel. In autumn 2002, over 100 died when terrorists held the audience at a theatre hostage. Lastt summer 15 were killed by a bomb at a rock concert while 6 died outside the Hotel National in the centre of the city, shortly after the Duma elections in December.
Despite the economic stabilisation that has taken place over the last few years the majority of Russians are pessimistic about the future of the country. A recent social survey by GfK, the largest research company in Europe, reported in today's Kommersant, revealed that although for the first time in 10 years Russians feel more optimistic about their own financial situation, they expect social services to worsen and the international situation to deteriorate further, which is brought home graphically by the terrorist campaign, which brings the war in the Caucasus to people's front doors in Moscow.
The reality is that there will be neither lasting prosperity or peace for Russians or Chechens as long as capitalism and the national hatreds it
breeds on both sides continue to exist. Only socialist revolution and the brotherhood of nations that existed in the former Soviet Union can offer a way out of this nightmare of terrorism and war.