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Terrorist Spotted in Sochi

About 40,000 law enforcement and special services officers have been deployed to Sochi.

Published: January 22, 2014 (Issue # 1794)



  • A screen grab from a video showing two men claiming responsibility for the Volgograd bombings last month.
    Photo: AP

MOSCOW After an Islamic extremist group promised to deliver a deadly present to visitors of the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, law enforcement authorities said a potential suicide bomber had traveled to Sochi from Dagestan.

Ruzana Ibragimova, also known as Salima, is reportedly the widow of a neutralized member of the insurgency who can be used by its leaders to organize terrorist acts during the 2014 Winter Games as a suicide bomber, according to the local news site Blogsochi.ru.

Security has been one of the primary concerns surrounding the games, with the opening ceremony to be held on Feb. 7 a mere 600 kilometers from the republic of Dagestan, considered by experts as the most dangerous place in Europe.

Alexander Valov, the head of Blogsochi.ru, said by phone from Sochi that the information was leaked to him by three different sources, two from law enforcement officials and one from Sochis city hall.

A representative of the Krasnodar regional Federal Security Service branch could neither confirm nor deny the information.

According to Valovs source in the FSB, the suspect had already been spotted on Sovetskaya Ulitsa in central Sochi, which is in the vicinity of the Foreign Affairs Ministrys Sochi office and Sochi city hall.

It was unclear whether Ibragimova was carrying any explosives with her. It was also not immediately clear how a suspected terrorist who was apparently interrogated by law enforcement officials in the past could get into Russias Olympic capital amid heightened security.

Valov published a copy of an official letter sent by the local FSB to the Krasnodar Anti-Extremism Center, asking them to chase the suspect, who arrived in Sochi on Jan. 10 to 11. The letter describes Ibragimova as someone who limps slightly, her elbow does not bend and she has a 10-centimeter long scar on her left cheek.

Valov said police were trying to keep the information under wraps.

The police are afraid of causing panic by making this information public, Valov said, before being interrupted by an Investigative Committee representative who had arrived to present him with an official summons for questioning.

Valov went on after the investigator left: Some people said that this might be another anti-terrorist drill, but the documents are real and describe real people.

A journalist working for a major Western newspaper said that he had also seen a notice about Ibragimova at the reception desk of a Sochi hotel. According to Valov, the same document was sent out to all checkpoints guarding the Olympic security zone of Sochi.

The news comes after a video posted Sunday, on the website of the radical group Vilayat Dagestan, showing two men claiming responsibility for the Volgograd bombings last month and promising to deliver more acts of terror during the Olympics.

Vilayat Dagestan represents the Dagestan province of the Caucasus Emirate, a self-proclaimed entity that aims to establish a strict Islamic state in Russias North Caucasus. The organization, which seeks to include Sochi within the proposed Vilayat Cherkessia province, is headed by Doku Umarov, an Islamist militant who has been repeatedly declared dead by Caucasus authorities only to reappear time and time again.

President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that about 40,000 law enforcement and special services officers had been deployed to provide security in the Sochi area.

Putin told six Russian and foreign journalists that: We are doing everything with an understanding, with a clear understanding of the operational situation developing around Sochi and in the region as a whole; we have a perfect understanding of what it is, what the threat is, how to stop it, how to combat it.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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