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Russian press point finger at Chechen rebels

Railroad workers inspect damage coach at the site of the derailment
The train was derailed between Moscow and St Petersburg

The Russian press has denounced a train derailment on Friday as a "terrorist act".

A statement issued by neo-Nazi group Combat 18 claiming responsibility for the attack was widely dismissed by Russian commentators, the majority of whom pointed the finger at Chechen rebels.

One pundit drew attention to the fact that almost all commentators had assumed terrorist involvement in the derailment.

NATALYA KORCHMAREK IN TRUD

Since the beginning of summer a rebel school in the North Caucasus has had 30 graduates ... 23 of these graduates have blown themselves up or have been arrested or killed. Some of the remaining seven may have blown up the Nevsky Express.

FEDOR MAKSIMOV ET AL IN KOMMERSANT

The terrorist act has demonstrated once again that railways are the facility least protected from saboteurs ... the way the act was carried out shows it was committed by people who underwent special training.

LILIYA BIRYUKOVA ET AL IN GAZETA

A well-trained sabotage group is behind [the explosion] ... difficult to imagine why Nazis would want to blow up a train on which predominantly Slavs travel ... the Chechen lead is considered the main one by investigators.

PETR ORLOV IN ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA

Only an ultra-right-wing group has claimed responsibility ... a combat wing of the British neo-Nazi organization Blood and Honour which is operating in Russia. But experts doubt that it was involved.

VLADIMIR PEREKREST ET AL IN IZVESTIYA

There can be no doubt any more that this was an episode of terrorist war ... [although] someone might have imitated Wahhabi practice to provoke a new wave of anti-Caucasian sentiment. If this is the case, it was a very good imitation.

ALEKSANDRA SAMARINA ET AL IN NEZAVISIMAYA GAZETA

The coverage of the tragedy in [Russia's] central media, and in particular on television, is of special interest ... the first thing to note is that all other lines of inquiry apart from terrorism have been dismissed ... Not a single commentary even mentioned a possible technical cause of the accident.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.



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