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Terrorist Attacks on Russia


Here is a roundup of the terrorist attacks that have targeted Russians since the beginning of the Islamist uprising and Russian military response known as the Second Chechen War.

2002: Nord-Ost siege

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On Oct. 23, 2002, an estimated 42 heavily armed Chechen rebels, including women, stormed the Dubrovka theater during the second act of the sold-out musical "Nord-Ost." Nearly 900 theatre patrons were taken hostage while under 100 were able to flee or otherwise hide from the attackers in the building. The gunmen threatened to kill the hostages unless Russia withdrew its forces from Chechnya. Negotiations and some hostage releases happened over the next few days, as well as some shootings from those who tried to intervene or escape. On Oct. 26, Russian special forces began their assault that included pumping noxious chemical fumes into the theater. At least 33 terrorists were killed in the melee, and 129 hostages died.

2003: Stavropol train bombing

Stravropol Krai is a territory on the northern border of Chechnya. On Dec. 5, 2003, two days before nationwide parliamentary elections, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive on a commuter train in the region as it was leaving the town of Yessentuki at the base of the Caucasus Mountains. Forty-six were killed and more than 170 injured. No arrests have been made, though the Riyad-us Salihiin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs are believed responsible. A second bombing would occur along the same train route on Sept. 3, 2003, killing 7 and wounding more than 80, but a local official, Ibragim Israpilov, was convicted in that blast and sentenced to 20 years behind bars.

2003: Red Square bombing

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On Dec. 9, 2003, a female suicide bomber set off her explosives in Moscow's famed Red Square, in what was seen an accidental detonation on the way to a larger target. The bombing, shortly after 11 a.m., was just yards from the capital's main shopping thoroughfare, Tverskaya Street, and close to the Kremlin. Moscow's mayor reported that the bomber and perhaps an accomplice had asked passers-by how to get to the Duma. The bomb went off just outside the National Hotel, killing 6 and wounding 44. Investigation later revealed that the bomber was likely Khadishat Mangerieva, a widow of a Chechen rebel commander.

2004: Moscow metro bombings

The first attack on Moscow commuter trains in 2004 was on Feb. 6. A male suicide bomber killed 41 people near Avtozavodskaya subway station on the Zamoskvoretskaya Line during the morning commute; another 120 were injured. A previously unknown Chechen terrorist group claimed responsibility. Two men trained in Chechen terrorist camps -- and another man working as a Justice Ministry bailiff in Moscow -- were convicted in the attack in 2007. On Aug. 31, a female Chechen blew herself up outside the Rizhskaya metro station in the evening, killing 10 and injuring 50.

2004: Russian plane bombings

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On Aug. 24, 2004, Volga-AviaExpress Flight 1303, departing from Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport and en route to Volgograd, crashed while flying over Tula Oblast. All 34 passengers and 9 crew members on board the plane were killed. Minutes later, Siberia Airlines Flight 1047, also departing from Domodedovo, crashed while en route to Sochi. All 38 passengers and 8 crew members on board the plane were killed. Investigation revealed that a female Chechen suicide bomber had been on each plane. A police captain was convicted for letting the women and two male Chechen companions through security without searching the quartet. Two workers at the airport were also convicted for letting the women buy and use tickets without showing ID.

2004: Beslan school hostage crisis

(Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Getty Images)
On Sept. 1, 2004, the first day of the school year, Comintern Street School Number One in the North Ossetia town of Beslan was packed with parents and kids to kick off the session when Ingush and Chechen terrorists laid siege to the building. They took about 1,200 hostages and herded them into the school gym; some fathers were killed at the outset. The attackers rigged the gym with explosives. The standoff even prompted an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. On the third day, two explosions set off, allowing some hostages to escape and causing the terrorists to open fire and the Russian military to fire back. The troops and some local armed militia volunteers stormed the building. At least 385 were killed and nearly 800 more hurt.

2010: Moscow metro bombings

(Photo by Dima Korotayev/Epsilon/Getty Images)
On March 29, 2010, two female suicide bombers targeted two metro lines during the morning commute, when kids were also back to school after a weeklong break and many children were riding the trains. The bombers waited to detonate until the train was pulling into a station and the doors were opening. The first bombing was at the Lubyanka station in central Moscow, beneath the headquarters of the Federal Security Service, the KGB's main successor agency. The second bombing was 45 minutes later at the Park Kultury station on the same line, near Gorky Park. At least 39 were killed. This comes after the Kremlin had abolished the "special security regime" in Chechnya in 2009, widely signaling that officials considered the Second Chechen War over.
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