MOSCOW -- In the wake of the deadly bombing of Russia's busiest airport, President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday fired a top official of the country's transport police and lashed out at "passive" officers who guard the country's transport centers.
Medvedev, often criticized as hesitant or ineffectual, appears
eager to assert that he's in control after Monday's attack that
killed 35 people Monday at the capital's Domodedovo Airport.
The dead include two Austrian citizens, two Tajiks and one each
from Britain, Germany, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, according to a
revised list released by authorities.
The bombing also has demoralized many Russians, weary of years
of separatist violence in Chechnya and other parts of the southern
Caucasus region and of terrorist attacks attributed to the
separatists, including last year's double suicide-bombing of the
Moscow subway system in which 40 people were killed.
"It has already been happening for so many years and there is a
feeling it will never end," said resident Inna Guliyants, who
attended a service at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral as part
of the capital's official day of mourning for the bombing victims.
No claim of responsibility for the bombing has been made and
investigators have not named suspects or even presented a
consistent account of what happened. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin,
in a characteristically tough statement, on Tuesday vowed
retribution for the attack, but it remains unclear against whom.
Russian news media. generally citing unnamed sources, have
variously portrayed the bombing as conducted by a man or a woman or
a couple and that the bomb was either strapped to one of them or in
Medvedev did not specify the reasons for dismissing Maj. Gen..
Andrei Alexeyev, head of the transport police for the Russian
region that includes Moscow. But he did criticize transport police
"The police that are at the large transport centers, in
airports, at railway stations, take an absolutely passive
position," he said.
Also Wednesday, the chief of the transport police division at
Moscow's Domodedovo Airport and two officers were fired by Interior
Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev.
In the wake of the bombing, Medvedev initially criticized the
airport's security forces. But Domodedovo's management objected,
saying transport police were responsible for guarding access to the
airport area where Monday's blast occurred.
Although there has been no claim of responsibility for the
bombing, suspicion has fallen on Islamist separatists from Chechnya
or elsewhere in the restive Caucasus region who have been battling
Russian authority for over 15 years.
Some reports have suggested a connection with the Nogai Brigade,
an insurgent group in the Stavropol region of southern Russia.