Chechen field commander Salman Raduev has claimed responsibility for the April 23 bomb blast that killed two people in a railway station in Armavir, southern Russia. Raduyev, who commands what he calls the "Army of General Dudaev," said in a statement telephoned to the Itar-Tass news agency on April 25 that the army intends to organize further bombings "all over Russia, especially at railway stations as military objects." Raduev also claimed responsibility for recent bombings or attempted bombings in Nalchik (capital of Kabardino-Balkaria) and in North Ossetia, and said these were "only the beginning" of "a jihad against Russia" that will continue until it recognizes Chechnya’s full independence. "We will turn Russia into a disaster zone," the statement concluded. Raduev himself was said by an aide to be abroad, undergoing treatment after an April 11 attempt on his life which he blames on the Chechen authorities. (Itar-Tass, April 25. See also the Monitor, April 23)
Chechen vice-president Vakha Arsanov dismissed Raduev’s bomb threat, saying Raduev has "a medical problem" and should not be taken seriously. (Itar-Tass, April 26) Arsanov himself has blamed the Armavir bombing on the Russian security services. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, April 24) Meanwhile, President Aslan Maskhadov returned to Djohar-gala on April 25 after his pilgrimage to Mecca.
Terrorist attacks on railway transportation are becoming rather common. On July 19 last year a bomb went off in a railway station in Voronezh — Raduev also claimed responsibility for that blast. On July 25, an empty car in a passenger train exploded in Volgograd. On July 27, a bomb was found and defused on the railroad tracks in Smolensk. On August 2, a bomb was found and defused in a train car in Astrakhan. Since the summer of 1996 the most noteworthy bombing attacks include separate explosions on a Moscow metro and trolleybus, both of which took place on the eve of the presidential elections, and an explosion in an apartment building in the Dagestani city Kaspiisk in November of 1996. None of these crimes has yet been solved.
Suspects Detained in Moscow Cemetery Bombing.