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The terrorist attack on a Federal Security Service branch in Arkhangelsk: what we know, so far

Meduza
Vladimir Trefilov / Sputnik / Scanpix / LETA

There was an explosion at the Federal Security Service (FSB) building in Arkhangelsk on the morning of October 31. According to Russia’s National Anti-Terrorism Committee, the bomb detonated inside the building’s entrance at 8:52 a.m. A man entered the building removed an unidentified object from his bag, and sometime later the object exploded, killing the perpetrator and inflicting injuries of varying severity on three FSB officers.

Region 29

The strength and composition of the bomb are still unknown. Photos from the blast site show that the building’s lobby sustained serious damage (the explosion ripped paneling off the wall and splattered blood).

The suspect’s identity has been established. Police say the bomber was a local 17-year-old, though they haven’t released his name to the public. The website Znak.com reported that the young man studied at a nearby polytechnic school, and published a photograph of his student identification card. The website also published a still from surveillance camera footage, showing the bomber enter the FSB building in Arkhangelsk.

Federal investigators have opened two criminal cases: a terrorism case and an illegal ammunition storage case. The Investigative Committee’s central office will handle both cases. The agency’s head, Alexander Bastrykin, has ordered investigators to determine the bomber’s motives, relationships, circle of friends, and family environment.

A few minutes before the bombing, a warning appeared in a local anarchist chat community. At 8:48 a.m., in the public Telegram chat channel Rech Buntovshchika (“Rebel Talk”), a user named “Valeryan Panov” claimed responsibility for a future terrorist attack. Declaring that “the reasons should be perfectly obvious to you,” the Telegram user noted that the FSB “fabricates [criminal] cases and tortures people.” The teenager also wrote, “Most likely, I'll die in this explosion, since this device is triggered directly by me pressing the button attached to bomb cover. That's why I'm asking you to spread info about this terrorist attack, about who carried it out and why.”

Report by Grigory Levchenko, translation by Kevin Rothrock