Alexander Verkhovsky, a researcher with the Moscow-based Sova think tank specializing in radical nationalist and neo-Nazi groups, said that neo-Nazis appeared to be most motivated for such an attack.
"They may feel that beating dark-skinned migrants on the streets is no longer an effective way to 'cleanse' Russian cities," he said. "Bombing a train coming from the Caucasus sends a much stronger signal and is much easier and safer to do."
He said that neo-Nazi groups probably did not fear arrest, due to the poor track record of law enforcement agencies in catching the perpetrators of such attacks.
"Whenever we are shown someone tried and prosecuted in terrorism cases, there is often a doubt that the right person is being punished," he said. "Neo-Nazis feel the same way and if a Chechen were to be tried in a bombing they carried out, it would suit them fine."
Russian neo-Nazis have been suspected of involvement in several smaller bomb attacks, including the planting of a hand grenade attached to an anti-Semitic poster near a highway outside Moscow in 2002. A woman who picked up the poster was badly wounded.
Alexander Savostyanov, leader of Russia's biggest radical nationalist group, the National Power Party of Russia, said by telephone Tuesday that nationalists would never bomb a train from Chechnya "because there were Russians among the passengers and crew."
He said, however, that he would not rule out that some fringe element or mentally disturbed individuals in Russian nationalist circles could have bombed the train.
Makarkin of the Center for Political Technologies said that the bombing fitted the pattern of previous attacks outside Chechnya claimed by Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Versions - II
The Moscow Times has more on the theories about who was responsible for Sunday's bombing and derailment of the Grozny-Moscow train:
Posted by David McDuff at 8:53 am