FSB general: ''If special services knew about the terrorist attack, there would have been additional details, scanners and other measures…''
Aleksandr Mikhailov shared his opinion of the emergency on the Saint Petersburg metro
In an interview to Realnoe Vremya, former FSB Major General Aleksandr Mikhailov shared the first impressions of the terrorist attacks in Saint Petersburg. He expressed the versions, said who can be behind the tragedy in the Petersburg underground where over 10 people died. In the expert's opinion, special services were unlikely to have information about the attack. Otherwise, security measures would have been tightened.
Mr Mikhailov, what are the versions of what happened in the Petersburg underground?
There can be presuppositions linked with not only the general terrorist activity of some groups but maybe expressions of individual terror of a psychopath who decided to take his revenge on somebody. Generally speaking, if we start enumerating the list of potential threats, we will find a big number of organisations or groups of people who posed a threat of terrorist attacks towards Russia.
Whom do you mean?
By regression, ISIS (organisation banned in Russia). We perfectly understand they are radical groups who can potentially perform terrorist attacks and did it. Secondly, we should not forget that Ukrainian nationalists said many times that the war would switch to the Russian Federation. It is a fact, nobody opposes it because it was done in public including by Ukrainian officials. Thirdly, we should not exclude that the events on 26 March (Editor's Note: when an anti-corruption protest took place in Russian cities) could cause such expressions among people with an unstable or, on the contrary, stable psyche. Moreover, the president is in Petersburg.
''Terrorists always consider metro as a dangerous place – from a perspective of greater damage while performing an attack. It is also an important moment that should be taken into account.'' Photo: twitter.com
There are many different nuances here. We can enumerate them for a long time. The point is that investigation that must find out what happened is taking place on the scene. It would be thoughtless to estimate without it. In addition, we see that Russia has a great deal of hot points, not only in Russia.
Do such expressions of extremism frequent for big Russian cities?
When we speak about Moscow and Saint Petersburg and other big cities, it doesn't have a systematic character. It is clear that Moscow and Saint Petersburg are points of attraction of these extremist forces. Nevertheless, very facts of the terrorist attack are not systematic. There are several reasons here. Firstly, it is a very effective, strict work of law enforcement agencies in these cities, so to speak. It is difficult for a terrorist to stage such events. Secondly, we speak about metro because terrorists always consider metro as a dangerous place – from a perspective of greater damage while performing an attack. It is also an important moment that should be taken into account.
Do you think special services knew about the attack?
There was not any information about it. Probably, theoretically, there was information but it was not convincing enough, or there was nothing. If there were information, we would have seen the reaction – additional details, scanners and other measures to get information about the terrorist attack.
''We would have seen the reaction – additional details, scanners and other measures to get information about the terrorist attack.'' Photo: Olga Belyaeva
What conclusions can the authorities draw?
First of all, we need to know the goals of the people who performed the terrorist attack. Not get into panic here – we consider it as terrorist attack, of course. It takes time, investigators will draw a conclusion. Terrorist attack is more acceptable for the society at the level of collective consciousness. If we deny it, they won't believe us.