Reflections

Making Sense of the Attack in St. Petersburg

Apr 4, 2017 | 00:38 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin brings flowers to honor the victims of Monday's explosion at St. Petersburg's Technological Institute metro station. Though Putin was in the city at the time of the bombing, he was not its target.
Russian President Vladimir Putin brings flowers to honor the victims of Monday's explosion at St. Petersburg's Technological Institute metro station. Though Putin was in the city at the time of the bombing, he was not its target.
(OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia is no stranger to terrorist attacks. But for the past four years, the country (beyond its restive North Caucasus region) has been free of the kinds of large assaults that have periodically rocked Europe and the United States. Then on Monday, an explosion ripped through a subway train in St. Petersburg, killing 11 people and injuring nearly 50 more. (A second device was reportedly found and dismantled at a nearby metro station.) Russia's Investigative Committee quickly declared the incident a terrorist attack, and media outlets across the country have proposed different theories to explain who staged the attack and why. Though some scenarios are more plausible than others, each comes with its own set of consequences for the Kremlin and the country....

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