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New allegations are made today that the Russian state has been sponsoring acts of terrorism which have killed hundreds of innocent Russian citizens in order to create a pretext for Russia’s ongoing war in Chechnya, and to justify a crackdown on civil liberties and press freedoms inside Russia. Today, independent investigators and film-makers came forward […]

Berezovsky Fingers Putin in Bombings

by CounterPunch Wire

New allegations are made today that the Russian state has been sponsoring acts of terrorism which have killed hundreds of innocent Russian citizens in order to create a pretext for Russia’s ongoing war in Chechnya, and to justify a crackdown on civil liberties and press freedoms inside Russia.

Today, independent investigators and film-makers came forward with documentary evidence linking explosions in apartment blocks in 1999, which killed over 300 people, with Russia’s security services.

French television journalists Charles Gazelle and Jean-Charles Deniau have uncovered new evidence linking these explosions to Russia’s security services. This is revealed in a new documentary film being compiled by them, extracts of which were shown in London today.

"After we had interviewed eye-witnesses and others involved in these attacks, we were convinced that there was some kind of cover-up," said Deniau. "In any liberal democracy these allegations would warrant a full-scale investigation at the highest level."

These allegations were backed up by journalist Yuri Felshtinsky who is co-author of ‘Blowing Up Russia’, a book which documents in detail acts of terror, abductions and contract killings organised by the Federal Security Services of the Russian Federation.

Said Felshtinsky: "We spent two years painstakingly combing through the inconsistencies and contradictions in the official account of these bombings. There is compelling evidence that the state security agencies effectively declared war on the Russian people – unleashing the first and second Chechen wars to divert Russia away from the path of democracy and towards militarism and dictatorship."

Also speaking up was Tatyana Morozov, whose mother died in the explosion that destroyed an apartment building in Moscow and killed 94 on September 9. Morozov and her sister are taking legal action against the Russian Government in a bid to force them to open the records and conduct a proper investigation. "We want to know what really happened on that night, and who murdered our mother. The longer this goes on and the more we run into official silence, the more I believe our own leaders were behind this atrocity," she said.

Sergey Yushenkov, co-chairman of the all-Russia movement, ‘Liberal Russia’, said that moves to open an investigation into the bombings had twice been blocked in the state Duma, and that he was now determined to bring the case to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Boris Berezovsky, one-time Kremlin loyalist and now outspoken critic of Russia’s increasingly repressive regime and co-chairman of Liberal Russia, said: "Ever since President Putin came to power, people have been asking: ‘Is he really a democratic President of Russia or simply an old-style dictator putting on a show for the West? Does he authorise these acts of terror or just turn a blind eye? Why does he continue to block investigations into the deadliest terrorist attacks in our history?’

"Today, fittingly on the anniversary of Stalin’s death, I am calling for an open and independent investigation into the 1999 bombings – applying the same rigour with which the Lockerbie and Oklahoma bombings were investigated and the evidence marshalled that brought Slobodan Milosevic to trial in The Hague."