At 2:40pm on Monday April 3rd, a bomb on a St. Petersburg subway train detonated, killing 14 people, including the man who set the bomb, and wounding 64 others. The attacker was identified by the Investigative Committee of Russia as Akbarzhon Dzhaliov, a 22-year-old man from Kyrgyzstan who received Russian citizenship in 2011. The blast occurred as the train departed from Sennaya Square station. the train conductor Alexander Kaverin, completed the trip to the Technological Institute Station, where victims received assistance. A metro worker identified a second, larger bomb in a bag at the station in Vossataniya Square, which criminal investigators confirmed was also set by Dzhaliov using DNA analysis as well as CCTV footage. To prevent detonation, the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) cut off cellphone service to the station, and defused the bomb.
Outside of unpaid parking tickets, law enforcement officials had no previous encounters with Dzhaliov and remain unaware of how he was radicalized. An unidentified source reported to Interfax that he may have been radicalized after a trip home to Kyrgyzstan in February.
The city’s ability to quickly increase their security presence, defuse the second bomb, and secure the system allowed them to quickly restore some service to the subway system. The St. Petersburg subway system, which serves the city’s population of five million people, was shut down and evacuated but returned to partial service after six hours. Aleksandr Drozdenko, governor of the area impacted by the bombing, rode the subway on Tuesday Morning to help reassure the populace that the system was safe. The Sennaya Square station reopened the next day, after an additional closure due to another anonymous bomb warning.
St. Petersburg contains a large diaspora of Central Asians searching for economic opportunity not present in their home nations; many work illegally or on permits, while others have obtained citizenship. The Russian government currently allows free movement for citizens of former Soviet states in order to maintain strong relations. However, this bombing has increased support among nationalists for the introduction of visa requirements due to fears of future radicals moving across the border to carry out attacks.
Sources and Further Reading:
- Petersburg Bomber Said to Be Man From Kyrgyzstan; Death Toll Rises – New York Times
- Where the St. Petersburg Metro Explosion Occurred – New York Times
- Petersburg Bombing Suspect Identified; Death Toll Is At 14 – NPR
- St Petersburg bomb suspect identified as 22-year-old born in Kyrgyzstan – The Guardian
- Bomb in St. Petersburg subway, killing 11, sets a city on edge – Washington Post
- St Petersburg metro bomb victims identified – BBC
- Petersburg subway blast: Killer may have met accomplices in Moscow – Fox News
- Petersburg bombing carried out by ‘suicide’ attacker – CNN
- Petersburg’s Sennaya Ploshchad metro station reopens after closure: RIA – Reuters
- Suspect in St. Petersburg subway attack is identified; stations reopened after bomb threat – LA Times