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There has been an explosion in the arrivals hall of Moscow's Domodedovo airport.
January 24, 2011 8:13 AM   Subscribe

There has been an explosion in the arrivals hall of Moscow's Domodedovo airport.

There are reports of 31 fatalities and some sources suggest that this was the work of a suicide bomber. If, as seems likely, it is confirmed as terrorism, this will be the latest in a series of attacks suffered by post-Soviet Russia.
posted by jonesor (40 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by gen at 8:18 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by rollbiz at 8:18 AM on January 24, 2011


A bit of background on Ingushetia, where the latest attackers may very well have originated.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:22 AM on January 24, 2011


I've been refreshing the BBC's live text commentary.
posted by giraffe at 8:23 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did this happen before or after the security checkpoint?

Oh God now the TSA will get even crazier.
posted by reductiondesign at 8:32 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Comparisons will surely be made to the "No Russian" mission in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, mentioned here previously, in which the player infiltrates a terrorist group and as a result takes part in a terrorist attack on civilians in the fictional Zakhaev International Airport in Moscow.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:33 AM on January 24, 2011


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posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:34 AM on January 24, 2011


Oh man, oh man...

I've got a special place in my heart for Domodedovo. I flew from Bombay to Moscow a couple of years ago in mid-February. Where I'd been in India was crowded and hot, over 100F at least. I was exhausted, and when I landed Domodedovo was full of activity. I needed to meet somebody in the center of Moscow and the train ticket vendor was as grumpy as they come (though, I've never met a Russian ticket seller who wasn't in a bad mood...) But then, I got onto the train toward the city. An old train, lacy curtains on every window, the smell of tea brewing. Then the train started moving and it was quiet and, out the window, the industrial airport area gradually gave way to stands of birch trees, white bark receding into darkness. It was peaceful and welcoming and cozy and beautiful.

Russia doesn't need any more of this. No where does.
posted by msbrauer at 8:35 AM on January 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


> Did this happen before or after the security checkpoint?

It happened in the baggage claim area. In US airports, there is no checkpoint to get into those areas. I've been through Domdedovo several times but have never exited the airport so I can't say if access in the baggage claim area there is restricted to disembarking passengers and official personnel, or if it is also open. Many other international airports restrict access there. As it is, international passengers go through at least two screenings before they re-board planes.

Less people in the baggage claim area might be a good thing on balance.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:35 AM on January 24, 2011


> I've got a special place in my heart for Domodedovo.

I actually have the opposite sentiment and have found it one of the worst large airports that I've ever been through, but I would never wish anything like this on them.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:37 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was just there this past summer, and I recall it being restricted. I wonder if this was supposed to go off in flight? Scary shit.
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 8:50 AM on January 24, 2011


This is horrible. Russia doesn't need any more violence. I emailed all my Moscow friends to see if they're safe. This is the video they're showing on Russian TV right now.

I've been through Domodedovo twice and still have their stickers on my bags.

This really resonates with me as I was also present at the Cherkizovsky market bombing (just outside the building with my then-girlfriend Dasha when it blew). 47 injured, 13 dead, and a pall over the city for weeks that was unshakable. The subways had this empty horror about them. My heart goes out to all affected. This is horrible and should never have happened.
posted by fake at 8:54 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The international arrivals hall is not the same as domastic baggage claim. Usually international arrivals halls are "sterile" and before the people are checked through entry customs and immigration and then released into public areas.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:03 AM on January 24, 2011


I just watched Burhanistan's link above (BBC) which is excellent and leaves me with a sense that Russia is reaping what it sows. Not that there is an excuse for the bombing, just not surprising.
posted by stbalbach at 9:05 AM on January 24, 2011


> The international arrivals hall is not the same as domastic baggage claim. Usually international arrivals halls are "sterile"

Yeah, I somehow missed that detail. This area is harder to get to, and would probably suggest that an employee or contractor helped arrange this.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:07 AM on January 24, 2011


I've never been through Moscow's airport, but the one in Saint Petersburg is definitely heavily restricted. The baggage claim area is only accessible to disembarking passengers.

This is just terrible.
posted by zizzle at 9:10 AM on January 24, 2011


Graphic photos from inside the airport.

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posted by lullaby at 9:17 AM on January 24, 2011


Thanks for the BBC link, giraffe.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:20 AM on January 24, 2011


People getting blown up, Cops getting shot, Babies being snatched, it's nice having something like this to put my morning coffee into perspective.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 9:44 AM on January 24, 2011


From giraffe's BBC link:
...[A]irport spokeswoman Yelena Galanova telling Interfax: "The explosion occurred in the international arrivals hall in a public area, to which people who are not passengers have free access."
posted by bonehead at 9:53 AM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


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posted by wcfields at 10:05 AM on January 24, 2011


These bombings always seem to be triple-tragedies in Russia. First, there's the injury and loss of life from the blast itself. Then, the crackdown in the Caucuses gets ratcheted further - which leaves that population poorer and more vulnerable to terrorist recruitment. And finally, Russia's remaining democratic institutions tend to take it squarly on the jaw, in the name of "security." (Remember when regional governors used to be elected?)

Perhaps I should say that these bombings are actually *quadruple*-tragedies - because when they erode Russia's democratic institutions, this also strengthens Russia's resistance to emerging democratic institutions in their Near Abroad.

Terrible business.
posted by Mr. Excellent at 10:41 AM on January 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


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posted by ruelle at 11:04 AM on January 24, 2011


In US airports, there is no checkpoint to get into those areas.

I'm sure those will start popping up rather quickly here. I'm frankly amazed that we haven't seen anyone try to hit the chokepoints at security yet. There's usually 100-200 people gathered around those points at peak travel times.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:08 AM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


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posted by thankyouforyourconsideration at 11:17 AM on January 24, 2011


I'm frankly amazed that we haven't seen anyone try to hit the chokepoints at security yet.

I assume the Russians were attacked there because there would be foreigners, and foreigners being killed gets more international press.
posted by smackfu at 11:28 AM on January 24, 2011


From the BBC:

"Rumours are circulating that transport chaos caused by the blast has caused unscrupulous taxi drivers to hike their prices. Yevgeny from St Petersburg e-emails BBC Russian: I am shocked by taxi drivers' reaction. They are asking for 10,000-20,000 roubles (hundreds of dollars) for a ride. How can they do this when it is their countrymen who have suffered?"
posted by reductiondesign at 11:41 AM on January 24, 2011


I'm sure those will start popping up rather quickly here.

Right. Because SOP for TSA and Homeland Security is to protect us from terrorist acts/threats that already happened. (please remove your shoes thanks to Richard Reed. no liquids due to the UK plot)

I'm frankly amazed that we haven't seen anyone try to hit the chokepoints at security yet. There's usually 100-200 people gathered around those points at peak travel times.

I'm not. The reason "soft targets" aren't hit all the time is because, contrary to popular belief, there's not thousands of sleeper cells wanting to bring down America (or any other country). Al qaeda and its evil networks were sold to us as SPECTRE or legion of doom bad guys. There's chatter picked up by the CIA and all this Jason Boerne shit. They're not that organized and there's not that many who would blow themselves up for their cause. Especially already in the West.

But there's also a likelihood you'll get shot in front of suburban Tucson Safeway store by a nut. Strangely, trying to assassinate a member of Congress and killing a federal judge isn't terrorism.

The bad guys could really be the Grinch that stole Christmas by being in throng of people at the doors to a few Walmart stores across the country on Black Friday morning. Boooom. All the sudden the Christmas shopping season is fucked and the economy is ruined.
posted by birdherder at 11:42 AM on January 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


It happened in the baggage claim area. In US airports, there is no checkpoint to get into those areas.

At Baltimore-Washington they used to (and still might) have (low) barriers around the actual baggage carousels that you had to show a claim check to get through due to trouble with stolen baggage.
posted by morganw at 11:58 AM on January 24, 2011


birdherder: "The bad guys could really be the Grinch that stole Christmas by being in throng of people at the doors to a few Walmart stores across the country on Black Friday morning. Boooom. All the sudden the Christmas shopping season is fucked and the economy is ruined."

That thought never crossed my mind, but you're exactly right. You get a few of those popping off around the country, and it's paralysis for certain. Scary stuff!
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:04 PM on January 24, 2011


This is a tragedy, and as a bombing survivor, I know perfectly well how horrible it is. Russia doesn't need any more violence.

Unfortunately for Russians, its government is doing nearly as much as it can to guarantee these bombings will happen again and again and again and again.

I'm dismayed that President Obama (among others) can denounce this "unspeakable act of terrorism," while never having denounced many of the acts of terrorism that Russia and other large nations have committed regularly. This shit's never going to end until people start acting honestly.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 12:05 PM on January 24, 2011


Rumours are circulating that transport chaos caused by the blast has caused unscrupulous taxi drivers to hike their prices.

Doesn't surprise me one bit. The same thing happened during a recent massive blackout in the Moscow region that left the Domodedovo airport in the dark. While utter chaos and panic ensued inside, taxi drivers were charging astronomical sums for a ride back to Moscow.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:06 PM on January 24, 2011


Doesn't surprise me one bit. The same thing happened during a recent massive blackout in the Moscow region that left the Domodedovo airport in the dark. While utter chaos and panic ensued inside, taxi drivers were charging astronomical sums for a ride back to Moscow.

That's just the invisible hand of capitalism, yo. The market will simply correct itself when the demand goes down!!!
posted by jmd82 at 12:25 PM on January 24, 2011


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posted by radiocontrolled at 2:33 PM on January 24, 2011


Market correction in action:

Amid disgust over reports of Moscow taxi-drivers inflating fares to and from the airport, volunteer drivers have been offering their services free of charge, posting their mobile phone numbers on Twitter. Some have been offering a free bed for the night to people affected by the explosion.
posted by longdaysjourney at 2:46 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been through Domodedovo many (>10) times (but most recent trip was about 18 months ago). The international baggage claim area has restricted access, of course. But it is right next to (separated by a thin, clear plastic wall) the area where people (family, friends, taxi drivers) wait for the arriving passengers. It is also quite close to the entry/exit for the Airport Express train. The area is always crowded.

And that's the thing. There will always be crowded "unsecured" areas. How many markets, malls, hospitals, museums, schools etc. are you going to secure against terrorism. Even authoritarian Russian provides plenty of "soft targets".

Better security is unlikely to come from better entry checkpoints.
posted by vidur at 2:51 PM on January 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is awful. I feel terrible for the victims, the dead and their families.

Names of the injured:
http://www.minzdravsoc.ru/health/katastrof/197
posted by nickyskye at 3:38 PM on January 24, 2011


longdaysjourney writes "I'm sure those will start popping up rather quickly here. I'm frankly amazed that we haven't seen anyone try to hit the chokepoints at security yet. There's usually 100-200 people gathered around those points at peak travel times."

How would that work? A pre-security check point would have to check for most of the things the security check point checks for and would therefor have the same sorts of lines and congession.

Only way to avoid this would be if a taxi like infrastructure picked you up at home and performed the security check at that point. Course one couldn't use mass transit for this purpose because a bus is just another target.
posted by Mitheral at 4:59 PM on January 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't say I thought it was a good idea. But you're going to see -some- push from Homeland Security/Congress to "protect" baggage claims (probably checkpoints or limited access to the area), even if the proposed security efforts are yet more security theater.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:02 PM on January 24, 2011


Just read that I worked with one of the victims way back when. A nice guy, though I didn't know him well.

What a crappy, crappy thing to happen.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:43 AM on January 25, 2011


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