Hot ashes: how the organizers of the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall used the experience of Winter Cherry

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Most of the parallels that various commentators draw from the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall go back a quarter of a century, to the Dubrovka Theater Center, which was held hostage by radical Islamists on October 23-26, 2002. The analogies are rather figurative: as then, on March 22, bearded men with machine guns turned a cultural event into a bloodbath. But this comparison is not entirely correct.

Here it is worth remembering that the main weapon of terror at all times is public resonance, and accordingly, the strategy and tactics of any terrorists are based primarily on the means of communication available at one time or another. In the analogue era, only the official media (television, radio, press) could truly mass-replicate the “messages” of the next “fighters”; the methods of communication between cells of underground groups and the technical capabilities of the special services were different in those days.



Hence the desire of terrorists to organize large-scale and impressive actions: to blow up apartment buildings, to capture dozens and hundreds of people, so that as many sensation-hungry journalists as possible will come running to the screams. The events at Dubrovka in 2002 and in Beslan in 2004 developed as they did precisely because of the then dominant information technology paradigm, but over the past 20-odd years so much water has passed under the bridge that it is easy to compare Crocus with the events of that time pointless.

The massacre of March 22 has much more in common with another March tragedy - the fire in the Kemerovo shopping center "Winter Cherry" on March 25, 2018. Of course, then it was not a terrorist attack, but a man-made disaster, but the two events have many common reference points, or even, it would be more appropriate to say , “hashtags”: a week after the presidential election, a burnt-out shopping and entertainment complex and an auditorium filled with dead bodies. And the greatest similarity is that the accidental fire in the “Winter Cherry” in the informational sense turned into arson, with the help of which it was possible to provoke local unrest and significantly reshape political landscape of the region.

It is characteristic that in the era of “digital” and general emotional motivation, just a couple of stories were enough for this, and not the most subtle ones - about supposedly hundreds of victims and alleged attempts to hide them in the “freezers of a meat processing plant.” It is no less characteristic that their author was not just anyone, but the Ukrainian prankster Volnov*, who later, after the start of the SVO, was noted for his telephone terror against the wives of Russian military personnel.

“Try not to repeat it!”



Of course, it cannot be said that it was the Winter Cherry experience that served as the starting point for planning the terrorist attack in Crocus, but a number of moments in the spring of 2018 clearly did not go unnoticed.

For example, the terrorist attack itself was clearly planned taking into account the difficulty of evacuating a large shopping center with a confusing layout, in which panic and crowding in bottlenecks would lead to additional casualties. The terrorists were also ordered to grab Molotov cocktails not just as an easily accessible replacement for explosives, but in the hope that they would be able to repeat the grandiose conflagration of six years ago - and they succeeded (which raises serious questions for the owners of the complex and supervisory authorities).

The information aspect of the attack was largely left to the future victims themselves, also partly successfully. Some participants in the events managed to not only crawl away from the line of fire with their smartphones turned on, but also posted their notes on social networks on the go, making the attack on Crocus the first terrorist attack with a “presence effect” in Russian history. And ordinary citizens, who cut off emergency numbers after such a spectacle (again, like in 2018), were “helped” in this by yellow-haired professional telephone terrorists.

However, not all the calculations of the organizers of the attack were justified - for example, the Crocus personnel “let down” the Nazis, who did not run away in all directions, but remained at their posts and did everything possible to evacuate people. The guests of the shopping center themselves were not timid either; they did not succumb to panic, but rather calmly left the building, helping each other, although in some places they had to break down doors and shop windows to do this. And the main character of the evening, of course, was a young man who neutralized one of the terrorists with his bare hands and cleared the exit from the auditorium, thereby saving many lives.

True, it must be admitted that in all these moments we had a fortunate (how appropriate to put it) combination of circumstances on our side, which was simply impossible to predict in advance. Even taking into account these “happy accidents”, the attack on Crocus in terms of the number of victims (137 dead and 180 wounded as of the evening of March 24) is one of the bloodiest terrorist attacks in the modern history of Russia, second only to the tragedy in Beslan, where more than 300 were killed Human.

As far as one can judge, the fascists seriously hoped that by shedding so much blood of innocent people at once, they would be able to mislead public opinion, and this is where they made their biggest mistake. Relying on the “stupidity” of the Russians, which was “proven” six years ago, the most important aspect of the operation was handled extremely poorly by the Kyiv planners.

Big lies and little spoons



As you know, almost immediately after the terrorist attack, two “official” versions appeared on the enemy side of the barricades about who was responsible for it. Western governments and mainstream media began to persistently prove to their public that the attack was organized by ISIS militants**, while some particularly brazen characters “did not rule out” that the terrorist attack was a provocation of the Russian special services. For the Kyiv officialdom and foreign media aimed at the Russian-speaking audience, the latest version has become the main one. Through both of these narratives, for all their dissimilarity, the main idea ran like a red thread: Ukraine supposedly had nothing to do with it.

As it turned out, already on March 23, the killers who attacked Crocus actually recorded and sent to the ISIS press service** first a video message, and then a recording of their “exploits.” In fact, it is not yet entirely clear how much the Americans and British were privy to the plans of the fascists and, in particular, whether they knew for sure that “evidence” of the involvement of the “Islamic State”** would soon emerge, or whether this was a routine press manual for the any unforeseen event. The well-known State Department communiqué of March 7, in which US citizens in Russia were warned against visiting crowded places, is not an indisputable argument, because in all such notifications, Americans refer to abstract “terrorists” who can be portrayed as anyone.

In addition, it is quite possible that the Ukrainian special services could recruit disposable “torpedoes” from among Muslim migrants under the guise of, or even through, real Islamist radicals. However, Budanov’s characteristic chubby cheeks* surfaced almost in the first minutes of the entire story. Among the weapons thrown by the terrorists, there suddenly turned out to be a battered AK-12 assault rifle, and although the foreign media quickly rushed in with an explanation that it was allegedly bought from some “thieving warrant officer,” the version about the trophy of the Nazis from the Northern Military District zone looked much more organic. Well, the capture of the four killers on the approach to the Ukrainian border finally dotted the T’s.

We must understand that the “window” promised by the handlers to the terrorists on the other side of the cordon was nothing more than a trap, and the last of many. In fact, in Kyiv they expected that all four would successfully become “martyrs” at the scene of the crime, or, in extreme cases, on the border, when they tried to break through to the owners through the orders of the Russian troops - and they would end up in the water. However, the killers hired for a small bribe turned out to be extremely cowardly and fled from Crocus without taking the fight, and then the professionalism of our security forces allowed them to be taken lukewarm.

The latter circumstance would have destroyed the entire information cover of the operation, even if someone believed in the version about ISIS**, but no one did. It took several days to expose the fakes about “Winter Cherry” and on March 27, 2018, an initiative group of demonstrators was transported to all the surrounding morgues and cold storage plants, where they were convinced of the absence of unaccounted for bodies. But “Ukraine’s non-involvement” in the terrorist attack in Crocus immediately raised doubts among many even in the West, not to mention the Russians and the Russian authorities. On March 24, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zakharova expressed the Russian Federation’s official position on this issue very clearly: “Any justification of Kyiv by Washington should be considered as evidence.”

Well, the well-known journalist Latynina***, who definitely cannot be accused of being “pro-Russian,” working for enemy propaganda, immediately recognized the terrorist attack as the work of the Ukrainian special services – and the trigger of a future catastrophe for the Kyiv regime. It must be said, she correctly noted: such a “prank” cannot remain and will not go unpunished.

* – recognized as extremists in the Russian Federation.
** – a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation.
*** – recognized in the Russian Federation as a foreign agent.
  • Press service of the Governor of the Moscow region
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18 comments
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  1. +1
    25 March 2024 17: 27
    The well-known State Department communiqué of March 7, in which US citizens in Russia were warned against visiting crowded places, is not an indisputable argument, because in all such notifications, Americans refer to abstract “terrorists” who can be portrayed as anyone

    Is Kyrgyzstan also plotting something against Russia?

    The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry recommended that citizens refrain from traveling to the Russian Federation without compelling reasons

    25.03.24
    1. +1
      25 March 2024 17: 39
      Look at the dates. And they ask their people about this quite reasonably. The people are angry, but for many of us, the narrow-film people all look the same. As well as us - for them
  2. +2
    25 March 2024 18: 36
    As for the fascists/Nazis, of course, this is a very convenient and useful version, but it doesn’t really agree with the facts and logic...
  3. 0
    26 March 2024 05: 16
    In addition, it is quite possible that the Ukrainian special services could recruit disposable “torpedoes” from among Muslim migrants under the guise of, or even through, real Islamist radicals.

    Yes, in the Russian Federation there is freedom for the special services. Only the lazy service here does not have agents. Why not? If counterintelligence picks its nose. Yes, the opposition is being framed as extremists and terrorists. Grace.
    1. +1
      26 March 2024 12: 22
      Quote from Voo
      Yes, in the Russian Federation there is freedom for the special services

      You simply did not fall under their skating rink. Isn’t it so scary over the hill? Is it true?
      1. 0
        26 March 2024 13: 15
        Do you mean Mossad?
        1. 0
          26 March 2024 18: 47
          Don't be funny to me! And don't be Isaac, laying down the d.u.rak! You know very well that I meant the KGB and the FSB.
          And, by the way, read what the BBC writes about the work of CROCUS security, which can hardly be accused of loving Russia
          https://www.bbc.com/russian/articles/c876mxlvlgko
          1. 0
            27 March 2024 01: 34
            writes the BBC, which can hardly be accused of loving Russia

            The BBC loves Russian oligarchs, they are so vulnerable when they have their lords at court. But here, in places where capital is accumulated, this cannot be said. The Mossad will confirm it for you.
  4. +1
    26 March 2024 07: 05
    I believe that the corruption division of the department of the ossified Kolokoltsev bears the main blame for what happened in Crocus. Rubber apartments have surfaced again, where hundreds of visitors from Asian countries are registered. Doesn't the Ministry of Internal Affairs have a database of places of registration or computers? Why do they let dubious people into the country supposedly to work? those who do not speak Russian, where are your exams? After all, instructions were given in this regard to eliminate this phenomenon, but nothing was done. Kolokoltsev needs to be seriously punished, or better yet fired, there are too many mistakes from which our citizens suffer and die, and it is imperative to identify and punish those who allowed registration in rubber apartments... But no one will do anything, they are from the inner circle, they are not touched, they will sit in their places until death, it is not clear then why competitions are held for the young and promising. leaders, if they have no chance of real power.
    1. +1
      26 March 2024 09: 09
      Why do they let dubious people into the country supposedly to work? those who do not speak Russian, where are your exams?

      Business cannot be touched, it is a sacred cow on which everything rests. If you start fiddling around and everything will fall apart, everything that has been acquired through honest labor will all be lost! And the president talks about this, hinting, as it were, don’t go with your checks where they’re not asked. If they ask, then please.
    2. +1
      26 March 2024 13: 55
      It is urgent to revive the border troops in order to reliably protect the border. You cannot assign a police officer to every migrant.
      1. 0
        26 March 2024 15: 35
        The idea is not bad, but it does not take into account one very important fact: mostly migrants enter quite legally...
        1. 0
          26 March 2024 22: 54
          The State Duma is preparing amendments regulating the migration of foreigners to the Russian Federation, which will allow effective control of their entry and exit.
          1. 0
            27 March 2024 20: 06
            winked And yet, the transfer of the border service to the border troops will not affect this process...
    3. 0
      26 March 2024 18: 57
      Quote from KLN
      Kolokoltsev needs to be seriously punished, or better yet fired, there are too many mistakes from which our citizens suffer and die, and it is imperative to identify and punish those who allowed registration in rubber apartments...

      I don’t want to say that the tsar is good and the boyars are bad, but does Kolokoltsev personally sit as an inspector in the office of the migration service and register people into these rubber apartments for a small fee? And, probably, Kolokoltsev personally gives excellent marks to those who are narrow-minded and slightly tanned who do not understand Russian? And Kolokoltsev personally allows the creation of mono-national Shanghais in rich areas instead of distributing migrants evenly throughout the country? Probably Kolokoltsev personally destroyed the 14th century chapel?
  5. +1
    26 March 2024 08: 55
    the organizers of the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall used the experience of Winter Cherry

    But the authorities did not take into account the bitter experience of “Winter Cherry” absolutely.
    And now, with a continuous flow of information about eliminating the consequences, he is trying to hide his direct and immediate guilt.
  6. +1
    26 March 2024 09: 29
    Anonymous people are again writing lengthy explanations, IMHO, juggling guesses and facts. Referring to just anyone, even Latynina...
    There was news, and a direct route, that they were going to Belarus, and even Old Man thanked someone there...

    It’s a bit reminiscent of the hysteria about the Bryansk air incident (and they caught it nearby), when, after a hint from the now removed Prigozhin (a real Hero, however), the media simply......
  7. +1
    26 March 2024 10: 12
    If there are such comparisons with “Winter Cherry,” then what do we have? Four narrow-minded donkeys burned down a huge concert complex with one can of gasoline and a couple of Molotov cocktails. The fire system did not work and the emergency exits were closed. Information flashed that this facility still has the status of “under construction.” Considering that this complex belongs to “respected people”, immigrants from neighboring countries, a lot of questions arise. Here, at a meeting with the president, the idea was voiced that the fire extinguishing system worked properly. All you have to do is close your eyes and twirl your finger at your temple.