Bombing in Moscow Metro

About the Tragic Events in Moscow on March 29, 2010.

On March 29, 2010, another tragic event happened in Moscow that shocked not only the citizens of the Russian Federation, but also many people from countries that oppose the threat of terrorism. In the early morning rush hour, two women bearing suicide weapons blasted themselves in the subway trains of the Moscow Metro, considered one of the most beautiful, clean, fast and reliable subways in the world.

During the past 2 days after the bombings in Moscow, I received several messages from my former clients and friends who wanted to check if everything is OK with me, and my family & friends. They expressed their sadness about the terrible things that happened in the beautiful city of Moscow. I was touched, and I appreciate the care from my friends in America and Europe. I replied ‘on the fly’ to all of them, and thought that it would be a good idea to write my story about how I spent this day, giving my feelings and information I know about the horrible tragedy that has taken already 39 lives and injured dozens of people.

I decided that this story does not have to be in the form of detailed news lines with statements from the leaders of Russia and other countries against terrorism. I think that if you visit my website it can be interesting for you to learn about these events from the view of an ordinary Muscovite who is looking not with indifference, but with pain in his heart and sadness, regarding these tragic events that have happened during the last 20 years since the crash of USSR.

I am writing my story to everyone who knows and understands that in the present times the real threat to humanity comes not from the face-off between great powers, like it was in the past during "the Cold War", but from the terror that instills people with feelings of panic and fear because it takes the life of innocent people.

On early Monday morning March 29, as usual I saw off my wife head off to work at the nearby Bagovaya railway and metro station at 7:10 am. Olga does not use the metro because she works outside of the city and takes a suburban train to get to the military hospital located about 40 km West from Moscow. When I returned home about ten minutes later, I turned on my computer to check my correspondence and the TV to watch the news. The first explosion at the Lubaynka metro station, in a very central and historical part of Moscow, happened at 7:57 am and in a very short time, the special news announced the horrible accident. It was hard to believe that it had happened again (the last bombing in Moscow metro was in 2004), but this time the terrorists were not stopped. One bombing in 40 minutes, and 40 minutes later followed another blast on Park Kultury (Park of Culture) metro station on the same red line, but on the border of the old city (The Garden Ring), a few stops from Lubyanka station. My wife phoned me at this moment, she and all the staff at the hospital knew about the first explosion, but she wanted to learn more details, and to see if I knew anything. Everyone was shocked that morning to hear of this terrible news with lightning speed, not only in Russia but also around the world.

It was initially stated that data dozens of people were hurt at both stations. 25 people at the first station were killed (Lubyanka), then 12 people died on the spot on Park Kultury station; dozens of people were hurt at both stations. Special Forces, FSB (federal security), OMON (special division of police), firefighters, and, of course, ambulance vehicles and helicopters took control. Special Forces cordoned off the metro stations and they temporarily closed traffic in the areas of Lybyanka square and the Garden ring (area of Park Kultury) that is why City drivers experienced huge traffic jams on their approach to the central part of the city almost the whole first half of this terrible day for Muscovites.

Later on, I learned from the news on the radio that this brutal act of terrorism against ordinary people during rush hour was well planned and visually coordinated. As a tool to realize their plans, the terrorists used two suicide-bombers, presumably females, to detonate bombs on their bodies at the moment when the subway trains stopped and people were moving in and out of the carriages. It was notably a time where there was a public gathering in a small and short distance area.

I had an appointment on this day at 11:00 am to meet a young and talented programmer from Samara with whom I started recently to work in developing and improving my websites. We met each other on the internet several months ago, (autumn 2009) and on the past weekend he flew to Moscow to visit his friends, who had come to Moscow from Samara to study at prestigious universities. Victor does not have much free time in Moscow, so I thought that I can help him to drive to an airport and it would be interesting to meet each other face to face in a local café on his way back home to Samara. It is no wonder that many people in Moscow that morning were scared to get on the metro right after bombing. No one was sure that there were not more terrorists acts about to happen. At approximately 9:45, right at the time of our scheduled meeting, and the last bombing at Park Kultury, I received the first text message from Victor saying that it would probably be wise to cancel our meeting due to the latest events. Literally in the next 10 minutes, I received another message where he said that it was OK, and we could meet as arranged before. This young man, a student, came to Moscow from another city and resisted general panic and fear as many citizens and visitors this morning did. Of course, it was horrible for those who were in the thick of the events, and many people at the time of bombing tried to run out from metro with screams for help. Most of them were strong enough to "take themselves in their arms" (take it easy) and catch taxis or private cars to get to work (I don't mention here people who were juried or hurt).

At 12:30, after finishing our lunch and conversation in a café, Victor and I sat in my car and started heading outside the city. On the way to Sheremetyevo airport, we continued to listen for the latest news, and saw huge traffic jams in opposite way, on the way to the center of Moscow. By that afternoon, officials had already made initial statements and reports about the terrorist attack. According to the most preferable and logical versions was that the terrorists took revenge for a recent campaign by the FCB to destroy terrorist leaders and commandos who were involved in the bombing of the "Nevsky Express" train from Moscow to St. Petersburg last year.

After seeing off my new friend from Samara at the Sheremetyevo airport, I ventured to another airport, Vnukovo, where I met my repeat client from Germany, Romy Brock. She often comes to Moscow for business, probably 4-5 times a year and we have had a very friendly relationship since 2005. On my way to the airport, I stopped at a large market to buy some hardware for renovations in my bathroom. Walking from one store to another, I unintentionally noticed that I began to pay more attention to people, looking intently at their faces. Many of my overseas clients comment that Russians are not very emotional and when walking on the streets and in public transport, most of them seem very concentrated and almost never smile. Yet on the day of terrorist acts, I definitely did not see smiles, but saw concern and sadness on the face of many. It is very easy to understand why; because of for the last 20 years after crash of USSR, there have been so many war campaigns in the South of Russia, terroristic acts in Moscow and in the southern regions of the Russian Federation. Anybody could appear in a hard situation like the current one with a risk to his or her lives.

The flight from Germany landed on time, even 15 minutes earlier and at 15:30 I already met Romy with opened arms trying not to show my emotions after the morning's events in Moscow metro. As always, she met me with a big smile and after the normal questions such as "How are you?", and "How is business?”,she asked me with regret directly to tell her more details of the bombing in the metro. To this time, almost the whole world knew about the tragic events in Moscow. On the way to center of Moscow, we listened repeatedly to all the hot news. We made detours in order to avoid huge traffic jams on the main highways near the border of Moscow city because the traffic police began to stop suspicious vehicles to check papers and loads. Luckily, I was able to drive to the center of Moscow only within 40 minutes, which was quite fast, and we were in the area of Garden ring and Park Kultury metro station by 16:30. By this time, all cordons were taken off and on the radio they informed us that the subway trains were all on line and working. The stations where the blasts occurred were still closed because the special services had recently finished all investigation routines, and they needed a bit more time to clean and fix everything before they would let people go in and out. When I was driving in the area of Park Kultury, I noticed there were no traffic jams and fewer cars on the main ring around downtown, much more quiet than normal. This was probably because many people who were stuck in the very long traffic jams that morning in their approach to the center of Moscow learned of the horrible events and decided to return home, and/or cancel their trips downtown.

I was deeply impressed learning from interactive news how efficiently and fast all special services organized evacuation of dozens of juried and hurt people to hospitals using not only ambulance cars but also helicopters that were landed right on Lybaynka square and the Garden Ring nearby metro stations. Special divisions of police, OMON, tried to make everything possible to avoid any accidents or mess when hundreds of people in panic and fear stated to move out of metro stations. Many drivers of private cars and taxis, who were nearby the stations when the blasts happened, opened their doors to transport for free shocked people in a hurry to their work. I was very upset to hear that some private drivers (mostly illegally workers) aligned in rows nearby the stations in their old and rusty Ladas and Volgas (Russian cars) started to rip off customers by asking five, or even 10 times more than it would normally cost. In addition, were the shocking facts from the news that spoke of immediate fraudulent acts where the intent was to cheat people with emergency text messages asking for help and money, like "please, we are hurt in the accident, and have no money on our account, add some rubles to my phone…" This was an extreme situation of course, and not common but it caused a very negative reaction from many people. However, they called the private drivers "bombily" which means beggars on roads.

When I arrived home, it was almost 6 pm and when I was heading up to my floor, I heard conversations from my female neighbors about the day’s events. One of them was close by to one of the stations at the time of bombing, and she was talking very emotionally, with sadness and anger in her voice about what had happened. Each of them blaming Gorbachev and Yeltsin who they felt brought our country and its people to such extreme conditions after the crash of the great power of USSR.

It gives a hope for a safe future that leaders of Russian Federation and leaders of many countries operatively presented their condolences and reacted tough on the impudent and saucy terrorist act in Moscow with intention to join powers against the threat of terrorism in the whole World. The president of Russia Medvedev in his speech said of the combat militants "They are beasts", and with no doubt said that they all will be track down and destroyed.

Listening to the discussions on the radio and TV about how to stand up against terrorism and prevent terror gives me a desire to believe that our leaders will find all possibilities and power to protect our citizens from fanatic killers that are trying to not only bring death, but also create panic and fear in our souls. They want to split our country into parts and into separate nations. It practice already exists of standing against terrorism by special forces in Israel, England and USA, but it seems for a while that our police or FSB (federal security service) have not learned enough on how to work more efficiently to prevent horrible accidents like their colleagues from abroad have. Most of my clients from the US and Europe were amazed and impressed entering into public places and seeing guards near entrances of shops, business centers and metro stations, but it still looks like that it is not work or works not efficiently as suicide blasts happens from time to time in different cities.

No doubt that in the fight against terrorism we have to be on guard 24 hours a day, not only all special forces making wide and effectively working spy rings, but also citizens have to pay more attention to suspicious things. Do not be shy to call the police and tell them about it, even if your guess was wrong. It is better to check and prevent before it becomes the truth. For example, I've heard on the radio that right before the blasts somebody saw a woman standing and praying before entering into metro station, who knows maybe it was one of the suicide-bombers who blasted herself on one the metro stations. Another interesting fact I learned is that visitors from Israel where experience against terror lasts longer then in another countries, feel unprotected in our country when they see that all guards who are standing near entrances of shops or restaurants don't check any bags. After the current events and statements of our leaders to fight against terror, I think that most of people will be not against the reality that they have to check their bags. Can you imagine how to organize control in a public place like the Moscow metro that is used every day by 5-7 million people as a main transport? Yes, it is a very hard task...

At the second half of this day, after cleaning the stations where 39 people were killed and more than 70 injured, memorial plaques and photographs of the dead were placed. The next day was the day of mourning in Russia for victims who died after the bombing in the Moscow metro. That evening I spoke on the phone with my client and friend from Germany who is staying in Moscow this week. Romy told me that she found time in between her business meetings to see how hundreds of grieving Muscovites came in silence, in memory and sorrow, to add their flowers, mostly scarlet carnations, to the memorial plaques.

All of us have real plans or dreams to make or to do something in the future. All of our life, our plans or our dreams can break down accidently when terrorism tragically burst into our lives. These crazy fanatics are trying to involve religion in their brutal acts. They kill many innocent people, among which can be Christians, Muslim, Buddhists or people of other faiths. These innocent people weren't involved in politics or fights or wars, and religions don't allow people to kill. It is one of the most severe sins in all religions, and this rule concerns anybody, that is why it cannot be given for terror even a little justification.

With sorrow and hope,
Arthur Lookyanov

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About Me in Short

Guide, Driver and Photographer Arthur Lookyanov

My name's Arthur Lookyanov, I'm a private tour guide, personal driver and photographer in Moscow, Russia. I work in my business and run my website from 2002. Read more about me and my services, check out testimonials of my former business and travel clients from all over the World, hit me up on Twitter or other social websites. I hope that you will like my photos as well.

See you in Moscow!