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Terrorist Spotted in Sochi

About 40,000 law enforcement and special services officers have been deployed to Sochi.

Published: January 22, 2014 (Issue # 1794)



  • A screen grab from a video showing two men claiming responsibility for the Volgograd bombings last month.
    Photo: AP

MOSCOW After an Islamic extremist group promised to deliver a deadly present to visitors of the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, law enforcement authorities said a potential suicide bomber had traveled to Sochi from Dagestan.

Ruzana Ibragimova, also known as Salima, is reportedly the widow of a neutralized member of the insurgency who can be used by its leaders to organize terrorist acts during the 2014 Winter Games as a suicide bomber, according to the local news site Blogsochi.ru.

Security has been one of the primary concerns surrounding the games, with the opening ceremony to be held on Feb. 7 a mere 600 kilometers from the republic of Dagestan, considered by experts as the most dangerous place in Europe.

Alexander Valov, the head of Blogsochi.ru, said by phone from Sochi that the information was leaked to him by three different sources, two from law enforcement officials and one from Sochis city hall.

A representative of the Krasnodar regional Federal Security Service branch could neither confirm nor deny the information.

According to Valovs source in the FSB, the suspect had already been spotted on Sovetskaya Ulitsa in central Sochi, which is in the vicinity of the Foreign Affairs Ministrys Sochi office and Sochi city hall.

It was unclear whether Ibragimova was carrying any explosives with her. It was also not immediately clear how a suspected terrorist who was apparently interrogated by law enforcement officials in the past could get into Russias Olympic capital amid heightened security.

Valov published a copy of an official letter sent by the local FSB to the Krasnodar Anti-Extremism Center, asking them to chase the suspect, who arrived in Sochi on Jan. 10 to 11. The letter describes Ibragimova as someone who limps slightly, her elbow does not bend and she has a 10-centimeter long scar on her left cheek.

Valov said police were trying to keep the information under wraps.

The police are afraid of causing panic by making this information public, Valov said, before being interrupted by an Investigative Committee representative who had arrived to present him with an official summons for questioning.

Valov went on after the investigator left: Some people said that this might be another anti-terrorist drill, but the documents are real and describe real people.

A journalist working for a major Western newspaper said that he had also seen a notice about Ibragimova at the reception desk of a Sochi hotel. According to Valov, the same document was sent out to all checkpoints guarding the Olympic security zone of Sochi.

The news comes after a video posted Sunday, on the website of the radical group Vilayat Dagestan, showing two men claiming responsibility for the Volgograd bombings last month and promising to deliver more acts of terror during the Olympics.

Vilayat Dagestan represents the Dagestan province of the Caucasus Emirate, a self-proclaimed entity that aims to establish a strict Islamic state in Russias North Caucasus. The organization, which seeks to include Sochi within the proposed Vilayat Cherkessia province, is headed by Doku Umarov, an Islamist militant who has been repeatedly declared dead by Caucasus authorities only to reappear time and time again.

President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that about 40,000 law enforcement and special services officers had been deployed to provide security in the Sochi area.

Putin told six Russian and foreign journalists that: We are doing everything with an understanding, with a clear understanding of the operational situation developing around Sochi and in the region as a whole; we have a perfect understanding of what it is, what the threat is, how to stop it, how to combat it.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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