Nasz Dziennik: After the terrorist attack in St. Petersburg it seems that not one place in the world cannot be considered secure, free of terrorism…
Roman Polko (Roman Polko): Indeed, in the world there is no such place in which the likelihood of terrorist attacks would be zero. As for Russia, we often forget that in the past, particularly when she waged war with Chechnya, she was repeatedly rocked by the terrorist attacks. Suffice it to recall the attack on the Dubrovka theater in 2002, which was organized by Chechen fighters under the leadership of Movsar Barayev. As a result of operation of the Russian special forces there killed 130 people. Although it’s been a long time Russian-Chechen conflict is not resolvable, it is suppressed by force, but he’s still smoldering. It is possible that it will flare up again. Russia still has problems in this region, we can say that it has its own “domestic” terrorism, which she nurtured. In addition, Moscow maintains a military operation in the middle East and supporting Bashar al-Assad, falls under the scope of terrorists. The actions of the Russian military during the bombing of Aleppo is also not added to Putin admirers among the local population.
Who could be behind the recent terrorist act?
— The options can be many. It should be emphasized that the terror resorted to Russia, can not justify the actions of terrorists. Although the Chechens were fighting for a just cause, that they commit terrorist acts, has damaged their image in the international arena. It should also be noted that Russia has a problem with radical and terrorist organizations from other regions of the Caucasus. Thinking about who could be behind terrorist acts in St. Petersburg, this direction is also worth considering.
– And the so-called Islamic State (banned in Russia organization — approx. ed.)? In Russia, at least so far, it is active activity led.
Hypothetical scenarios can be very much possible in almost any options. Because of its specific system of governance, to conduct terrorist activities in Russia is difficult. There are no so-called political correctness and extreme liberal approach to potential threats, as in Western Europe. In countries such as France or Belgium, along with the wave of migrants there was a huge group of terrorists, who began to organize attacks. The Russian immigrants-Muslims, that is, potential terrorists do not have to rely on a tolerant approach and concessions. Anyway, I would have seen the terrorist attack in St. Petersburg, rather, not the activities of ISIS, and the internal problems of Russia.
– The fact that the attack occurred there, where Putin and Lukashenko, it was an accident?
— I would not link these events. Of course this is possible but I think not too likely. However, any terrorist attack in Russia in any case is a blow to Putin. The Russian President is well guarded so that terrorists would find it difficult to get into his environment, any attempt to attack him is doomed to failure.
What course may elect the Kremlin, whether Putin uses this tragedy for political purposes, to combat the opposition?
He will surely try to use the tragedy for political purposes. Such situations always use authoritarian despotic leaders, which, of course, belongs to Putin. The situation in Russia differs from the situation in Western countries. In the Russian state there is a strong internal tensions, which intensified on the eve of elections, however, it can effectively inhibit. Putin will certainly try to take advantage of every emerging opportunity to strengthen his position as head of state. He has repeatedly proven that it can, with a clever government propaganda to be deployed in their favor even at first glance, a lose-lose situation. So I wouldn’t be surprised if this time it will be the same. We can assume that Putin uses the St. Petersburg tragic events of reprisals against his political enemies and crackdown. It can enter the attack in a certain discourse and to start allegedly to strengthen the security of the state. For example, Putin will get special powers and introduce a special procedure, which at first glance will be focused on the fight against terrorism, and in fact, will be used to fight the opposition.
He could start some kind of game with the West, showing that Russia, too, was under the gun of terrorists?
— It all depends on what the concept will choose the Kremlin. Perhaps he will claim that the attack is Kiev, and uses this as justification for accelerating the offensive in Ukraine. It cannot be excluded that lay the blame on the Chechens, then Putin will be able to step up the fight against Kadyrov or other Caucasian republics. Of involvement in the attack can also blame Georgia. Options, as we can see, a lot of it depends on what line will adhere to the Kremlin.
– It seems that to make a terrorist attack has today become relatively easy. Are the Russian standards of safety from Western European?
— Western Europe is too progressive, too open. Because of this there together with the uncontrolled wave of migrants came many terrorists or potential terrorists. The attacks in Germany, France, Belgium showed that people, whose links with radical movements have been established, for unknown reasons, could move freely throughout Europe. This begs the question: why all this large-scale control system, if no delay potential terrorists, even when they were able to identify? Security is better in Russia than in Western Europe, it is with such people do not stand on ceremony, and in a timely manner and severely cracked down.
– Whether this factor is to discourage LIH desire to organize in Russia the attacks?
— Yes, it is certainly a deterrent. Terrorists are easier to try to organize a terrorist attack where nobody touches them, where they can dissolve. On the territory of Russia go unnoticed harder and the punishment for criminal acts may be more severe. In the Russian state, much less “holes”, which can be used in the purposes the terrorists. In addition, the Russian methods are far from the standards used in Western Europe. They are called humane, civil liberties, but it is only empty slogans, which have nothing to do with these principles. What might be the civil liberties of terrorists if their actions affected civilians?
– Thank you for the interview.