Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 4 Issue: 1

Russian Duma member and prominent human rights activist Sergei Kovalyov filed a court case on January 14 demanding that the office of Russia’s chief prosecutor release documents connected with a series of bombings of Russian apartment buildings in 1999. Russian authorities have consistently blamed the bombings on Chechen terrorists, but have never provided detailed evidence and indeed seem to have gone out of their way to avoid conducting a thorough investigation. Some independent observers have charged that the bombings were really the work of the Federal Security Service (FSB), citing a mysterious 1999 incident in which FSB officers were found to have planted a suspicious white substance in an apartment building in the city of Ryazan, causing the building to be evacuated The FSB said at the time that it was simply conducting an antiterrorism training exercise. The prosecutor’s office decided not to conduct a criminal investigation, and it is this decision that Kovalyov now wants to review: He is seeking a court order compelling the prosecutor’s office to let him see documents relating to the episode. Kovalyov told TVS that the authorities should respond to the continuing suspicions about the Ryazan affair by “refuting them with complete openness.”