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Oct 31, 2018 | 18:46 GMT

3 mins read

Russia: An Anarchist Suicide Bombing Puts Companies With Links to Russia at Risk

(Stratfor)
Highlights:

  • The bomber's willingness to die will likely draw a response from the global anarchist community, inspiring attacks against state organs in Russia and foreign companies that do business with Russia.
  • Outside Russia, these actions will most likely remain within anarchism's typical modus operandi of arson, vandalism and banner-hanging.
  • Companies with links to Russia or property in proximity to Russian companies or diplomatic missions should monitor anarchist media for calls to action, be aware of pre-operational surveillance and enhance their physical security measures.

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A 17-year-old local youth on Oct. 31 entered the Arkhangelsk office of Russia's Federal Security Bureau (FSB) and detonated a homemade explosive device, killing himself and injuring three others, The Moscow Times reported. A message posted 7 minutes before the attack to a Russian anarchist community on the social media messaging app Telegram claimed responsibility for the bombing:

Comrades, a terrorist act will now be carried out at the FSB building in the city of Arkhangelsk, for which I claim responsibility. The reasons are quite clear to you.

The FSB has gone fucking mad, falsifying cases and torturing people, and that's why I have decided to do it. I'll most probably die because of the explosion, because the explosive device will be activated directly by me by pressing a button on the bomb's cover. I wish you a glorious future of anarchist communism!

The post was signed Valeryan Panov, who tentatively has been identified as the bomber. Russian authorities have since confirmed they believe an anarchist was behind the attack. Based on the content of the social media post, it appears the bomber's primary target was the Russian domestic security service, and by extension the Russian state. Russian anarchists have long viewed the FSB as a primary antagonist. In March 2018, a video posted on various anarchist websites denounced the FSB as the primary instrument of state repression in Russia.

A suicide attack by an anarchist stands out, but is not wholly unexpected. While most anarchists try to avoid fatalities, some do not. Russian anarchists have a history of violent extremism dating back to the 19th century, including attacks where the assailant was certain to die. Based on contemporary anarchism's usual structure of leaderless resistance consisting of loosely organized groups or individuals united by a common ideology, the bomber probably did not have a significant support structure in place, and may have acted alone.

The FSB is likely to react strongly to the attack, though further repression of anarchists will play directly into the bomber's narrative — making subsequent bombings in Russia more likely. The bomber's willingness to die will likely also draw a response from the global anarchist community, inspiring attacks not only against FSB and other state organs within Russia, but against institutes linked to the Russian state and foreign companies that do business with Russia.

Outside Russia, these actions will most likely remain within anarchism's typical modus operandi of arson, vandalism and banner-hanging. This means companies with links to Russia or property in proximity to Russian companies or diplomatic missions should monitor anarchist media for calls to action, be aware of pre-operational surveillance and enhance their physical security measures.

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