A Bloody September
In September 1999, a series of middle-of-the-night explosions shook Russian cities destroying several apartment blocks. More than 300 people died as they slept. The attacks, attributed to Chechen separatists, boosted the popularity of the hawkish would-be President Vladimir Putin. Then, a strange thing happened. A bomb was defused by the local police, and the trail of evidence led to the door of the FSB, the secret service. The FSB was forced to admit "an ill-conceived exercise", which was remarkably similar to the earlier explosions. Ever since, a question has lingered over Mr. Putin's presidency: Who Done It? Why was the “esxercise” incident covered up?Witnesses disappeared? Inquisitive journalists intimidated? Critical TV stations closed down? And who was behind the assassinations of two members of Russian Parliament, who persisted with their own investigation?
Four years later, as Mr. Putin began campaigning for a second term, two Chechen rebels finally went on trial on charges related to the September 1999 bombings. But what is really happening at the trial, which is closed to the public and the press? And why an independent lawyer, who had been hired by the victims to investigate the case, was arrested a week before the trial on planted evidence?
In these pages you will find the facts, the news and the views about the gravest of unsolved crimes of the XX century.