Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Epilogue to the Tragedy in the Moscow Metro

Filed under: inspirational,moral issues,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- ) places a flower in memory of the victims of the terrorist bombing in the Moscow Metro.

It’s human nature to think of death only as a sad episode, but in someone else’s biography. Of course, if you constantly think about your inevitably approaching death, you can lose your mind. However, remember this, just say it’s not me and it’s not today. We love life and we love ourselves, for our life… it’s what we are; it’s something at the heart of our existence. Actually, our world is very vulnerable, and we understand this in moments of grief or fear. We must understand that not only do we have a measure of life; there is something more important than any of us individually… it’s a powerful ideal, expressed in self-denial, when you realise the equal value of your life and another’s life. That’s what all of us, it seems to me, strive for, and, if anything, only this feeling can justify the fact that we live when someone else is killed, this feeling lifts us above our own sometimes shameful cowardice, our  seeming insignificance.

Yesterday, all day, two thoughts spun in my head. Firstly, my friends and I were alive, and that’s fine, and, secondly, that my first thought was facile and flippant. On my SMS, someone asked me if everything was all right. Yes, everybody in Moscow yesterday exchanged such messages and calls. On the one hand, the question was clear and implied an unambiguous answer, but given the above, it’s really not so obvious. Yes, I’m alive, but that doesn’t mean that everything’s fine, just because I’m alive, and someone else is dead, well, I could have died, as well. Why didn’t I die? Am I special? Yes, it’s just a coincidence, nothing more. Many brought flowers to the Metro blast site… they wanted not only to express their compassion, a sense of sharing the common grief, but, perhaps, unconsciously, they said, “Forgive us for surviving when you’re no longer with us”. However, we mourn, for it’s our common pain.

Here it is… the moment of truth. It gives us hope that we are still capable of growth; it trumps our self-love and the fear of our own deaths. Let us remember those who died, those who risk their own lives daily to rescue others, the injured man who pulled victims out of the wrecked cars, and those who help the suffering… that at every minute, somewhere, there is evil and injustice in the world. Remember that there is still something above our individual lives and what we do.

30 March 2010

Aleksei Sosedov



The Day after the Metro Bombings: Reactions and Grieving

Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev (1946- ) of Moscow and all the Russias, on Holy Tuesday, serving liturgy and a Pannikhida at the Pokrovsky Convent for the Metro bomb blast victims

On Tuesday, Archbishop Arseny Epifanov of Istra, the Patriarchal Vicar, will serve a Pannikhida for those killed in the bomb blasts yesterday in the Moscow Metro. The service will be held later in the morning, after the Divine Liturgy, Vladimir Legoida, the head of the MP Information Division, told Interfax-Religion. Yesterday, he noted that many dioceses of the MP would serve Pannikhidas for the victims today. According at information received as of 08.00 MSK (04.00 UTC 00.00 EDT 21.00 29 March PDT) today, the two explosions in the Moscow Metro killed 39 people, and 73 injured are in Moscow hospitals.

Roman Silantyev, a famous scholar on Islam and the Director of the Human Rights Centre of the World Russian People’s Council (VRNS), thinks that retribution for the Moscow Metro attacks must not only target the specific perpetrators, but their foreign sponsors as well. “The liquidation of the international terrorist Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev greatly reduced the risk for Russians after the attack in the Moscow Metro in 2004. It would be good if we now heard about a successful operation against Movladi Udugov or Akhmad Zakayev”, Professor Silantyev told Interfax-Religion on Tuesday. In his view, Russian special services have the ability to eliminate domestic terrorist leaders, as evidenced by the recent “hits” on Said Buryat and Anzor Astemirov, “but their ideological instigators and sponsors abroad feel safe”. Professor Silantyev emphasised, “It’s high time that we visited death on the homes of those who give money to terrorists”, and expressed confidence that after such “radical peace enforcement measures, the dozen most zealous sheiks and emirs, along with their surviving associates, would reflect soberly on their behaviour”. He said that we should study and use the rich experience of Soviet spies and saboteurs of the Great Patriotic War, who not only collected valuable information, but also periodically bumped off particularly dangerous Nazis. “For almost 20 years, terrorists have declared war on Russia, they wish our destruction, and they follow no rules, and disregard all concepts of honour. They do whatever pops into their heads, therefore, in this regard, we should not be embarrassed to do what we must”, Professor Silantyev added.

Mufti Allahshukur Pasha-zade, the Chairman of the Muslim Council of the Caucasus, condemned the Moscow Metro attacks. “Today, in the hearts of millions, no matter what nationality they are, no matter what religion they profess, there are overwhelming feelings of grief and shock, anger and condemnation. The news of the terrible tragedy that befell so many innocent people in the Moscow Metro brought us much heartfelt sorrow”, Mufti Pasha-zade wrote in a message addressed to Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias. “Please, accept my sincere condolences in connection with this tragedy, I address them both to you, as the spiritual leader of Russia, and to the fraternal people of Russia”, the message went on to say. According to Mufti Pasha-zade, Azerbaijani believers perceive the event as if it were their own tragedy. “Our peoples have always shared each other’s joys and sorrows. Today, in churches and mosques all over Azerbaijan, we send up supplications to the One who created us, to grant peace to the souls of the victims, healing to those wounded, and comfort to their families and loved ones”, he said. Mufti Pasha-zade believes that the terrorist attacks in Moscow are a “harsh lesson, calling all men to unite and offer vigorous opposition to the forces of evil and violence, terror and extremism”.

Victim of the Metro bombing

Vladimir Legoida, the Head of MP Information Division, urged Muscovites to go to Easter midnight services, despite fears caused by the Metro terrorist attacks. “For love reigns in the liturgy, and perfect love casts out fear”, he said Tuesday at a press conference in Moscow. In his opinion, “Such events should not frighten us, for if we succumb to fear, we put ourselves into the hands of terrorists, and they achieve their goal, not only externally but also internally”. He also noted that everyone could pray for the victims and thereby demonstrate our solidarity with them, as well as to donate blood in order to help the injured in hospital. Archpriest Maksim Kozlov, the rector of St Tatiana chapel at MGU, in turn, noted that more people attended services on the day of the tragedy than was usual. “They came because they all had ridden on earlier or later trains, they had avoided being part of this tragedy by mere minutes, so, they all had to come to grips with this fact”, he said.

On Monday afternoon, Muscovites, friends and relatives of the victims of the Metro bomb blasts, visited the platforms at the Lubyanka and Park Kultury stations on the Sokolnicheskaya Line of the Moscow Metro, the sites of the 29 March terrorist bombings, to pay their respects. According to our Interfax correspondent, they brought flowers and icons, and lit candles; many could not hold back their tears. Some brought photos of the victims. Every hour, hundreds come to the place of tragedy. Posters hung on the platforms, saying, ”At this place, on 29 March 2010, people were killed in a terrorist attack here”. Memorial plaques in memory of those killed by terrorists shall eventually replace the temporary posters.

In related news, about 100 people were evacuated from the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour because of reports of a bomb threat. “An unknown caller telephoned the police at 17.02 MSK (13.02 UTC 09.02 EDT 06.02 PDT) and announced that a bomb was placed in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour”, the duty officer of the Information and Public Relations Department of the Moscow GUVD (civil police) on Tuesday. According to the police spokesman, an investigation group immediately went to the cathedral. About a hundred people were evacuated from the church. A survey of the premises followed, using bomb-sniffing dogs and special equipment.

Fr Vladimir Vigilyansky, the head of the patriarchal press service, said that the person who reported the alleged bomb threat at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was contemptible. “Let’s hope that the message about a bomb threat is false and it’s nothing but hooliganism. In any case, it’s blasphemous and despicable to drive people out of church during worship in Holy Week, preventing them from praying”, he told Interfax-Religion. In his view, what is especially disgraceful is that the unknown caller threatened a church that held a Pannikhida this afternoon for the victims of the Moscow Metro terrorist attacks. “People like this are the worst kind of misanthrope, it’s the same kind of thing as the taxi drivers who charged 3,000 [roubles] (102 USD 76 Euros 67 UK Pounds) to travel two kilometres (1.2 miles) yesterday”, Fr Vladimir added.

After a thorough inspection of premises at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, police found no suspicious objects, the duty officer of the Information and Public Relations Department of the Moscow GUVD reported on Tuesday. After the evacuation of about 100 people from the building, the cops carried out an inspection using bomb-sniffing dogs and special equipment. Around 17.00 MSK, the police received a telephone call reporting a bomb threat at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Currently, the police are searching for the caller.

30 March 2010










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