Russian President Fires Police Chief After Airport Bombing

Unrest, Conflicts and WarRussiaBombingsDomodedovo Airport Bombing (2011)Moscow (Russia)CaucasusDomodedovo International Airport

MOSCOW -- In the wake of the deadly bombing of Russia'sbusiest airport, President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday fired a topofficial 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, appearseager to assert that he's in control after Monday's attack thatkilled 35 people Monday at the capital's Domodedovo Airport.

He announced the firing shortly before leaving for the WorldEconomic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he aims to reassureelite figures of international business that Russia is a safe betfor their badly needed investment. The airport attack, generallybelieved to have been a suicide bombing, is likely to unsettleinvestors not only because it underlines Russia's persistentsecurity problems, but because eight foreigners were killed in theattack.

The dead include two Austrian citizens, two Tajiks and one eachfrom Britain, Germany, Ukraine and Uzbekistan, according to arevised list released by authorities.

The bombing also has demoralized many Russians, weary of yearsof separatist violence in Chechnya and other parts of the southernCaucasus region and of terrorist attacks attributed to theseparatists, including last year's double suicide-bombing of theMoscow subway system in which 40 people were killed.

"It has already been happening for so many years and there is afeeling it will never end," said resident Inna Guliyants, whoattended a service at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral as partof the capital's official day of mourning for the bombing victims.

No claim of responsibility for the bombing has been made andinvestigators have not named suspects or even presented aconsistent account of what happened. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin,in a characteristically tough statement, on Tuesday vowedretribution for the attack, but it remains unclear against whom.

Russian news media. generally citing unnamed sources, havevariously portrayed the bombing as conducted by a man or a woman ora couple and that the bomb was either strapped to one of them or ina suitcase.

Medvedev did not specify the reasons for dismissing Maj. Gen..Andrei Alexeyev, head of the transport police for the Russianregion that includes Moscow. But he did criticize transport policein general.

"The police that are at the large transport centers, inairports, at railway stations, take an absolutely passiveposition," he said.

Also Wednesday, the chief of the transport police division atMoscow's Domodedovo Airport and two officers were fired by InteriorMinister Rashid Nurgaliyev.

In the wake of the bombing, Medvedev initially criticized theairport's security forces. But Domodedovo's management objected,saying transport police were responsible for guarding access to theairport area where Monday's blast occurred.

Although there has been no claim of responsibility for thebombing, suspicion has fallen on Islamist separatists from Chechnyaor elsewhere in the restive Caucasus region who have been battlingRussian 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.

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