Thursday's HOT MIC
Vladimir Putin says that the bombing that occurred in a St. Petersburg supermarket was a terrorist attack. While there is no credible reason to disbelieve him, there is also no reason to believe him.
Putin, who is running for re-election in March, was speaking on Thursday at an awards ceremony in the Kremlin for Russian personnel who served in Russia’s Syria campaign, which Moscow has framed as an anti-terrorism operation.
“You know that yesterday in St. Petersburg a terrorist act was carried out,” Putin told the audience, referring to the explosion that injured 13 shoppers in a branch of the Perekrestok supermarket chain.
Investigators have opened a criminal case into Wednesday evening’s blast, which they say was caused by a homemade bomb packed with pieces of metal.
Russian media reports said the bomb was hidden inside a rucksack in a locker where shoppers leave their belongings and said the person who left the bomb, described as being of “non-Slavic appearance”, had been caught on CCTV.
No group has claimed responsibility.
Since the 1999 bombings of apartment complexes in several major Russian cities - determined by many to have been carried out by Russian security services - Putin's credibility on domestic terrorism has been weak. But Russia has a genuine Islamist problem and several attacks in recent years are almost certainly the responsibility of al-Qaeda and other Muslim terrorists.
Putin isn't pussyfooting around about what to do with the terrorists if they're caught:
Putin said security forces should take no chances with their own lives if confronted by terrorist suspects.
“I yesterday ordered the FSB director to act within the framework of the law when detaining these bandits of course, but if there is a threat to the life and well-being of our employees ... to act decisively, not take any prisoners, and liquidate the bandits on the spot.”
Since the terrorists are, by definition, a "threat" to security service personnel, Putin has just given permission to "liquidate" them. You would hope that the FSB would have an absolute certainty of guilt before executing the suspects, but if they're wrong and kill innocent people, do you think we'd ever hear about it?