The Moscow bombings: a week later

Komsomolskaya Metro Station, Moscow, Russia

It’s been exactly a week since the Moscow metro bombings, and not much has changed.

The metro is again operating at full capacity. The only way you can tell something happened here is the heavy police and muzzled-Rottweiler presence, as well as the constant harrasment — known as a document check — of any male that looks remotely Central Asian. (The suicide bombers were from Dagestan, which is far, far away from Central Asia.) The people too scared to take the metro are usually the people who already have cars and who view the metro as the unfortunate curse of the poor. For them, the bombings have become yet another validation of their decision to stay above ground — and among their socio-economic peers.

The other result of the bombings is the increased attention the Russian media — both television, print, and online — are paying to the explosions in Dagestan, the abutting region to Chechnya and the birthplace of the two Moscow suicide bombers. There have been hundreds of such attacks in the last year, but the twin suicide car bombing on Wednesday received extra attention for being “just two days after a pair of female suicide bombers … struck the Moscow metro killing thirty nine people.” Same thing with this morning’s car bomb, which killed at least two policemen. This kind of extremely qualified reporting makes one wonder how long notoriously self-absorbed Moscow — and the rest of the world — will keep caring about what happens in Dagestan.

As Moscow comes down from the high of tragedy and the zeal of revenge fantasies, I can’t help but quote Russian blogger (and a bit of a Kremlin loyalist) Oleg Kashin, who wrote the following yesterday: “The flowers and candles on the Lubyanka platform in the evening are indistinguishable from the flowers and candles in memory of Princess Diana or Michael Jackson, the  evroremont” — the cheesy, supposedly Euro-style renovations Soviet apartments were subjected to en masse — “of the civic consciousness.”

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