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Page last updated at 12:48 GMT, Monday, 29 March 2010 13:48 UK

'Close to danger': Voices from Moscow

Moscow residents describe the atmosphere in their city after two deadly suicide explosions on the Metro system.

ALEXANDER ANNAEV, 24, CONSULTANT

My dad almost got on the train that was attacked on Park Kultury. The doors closed just in front of him, so he took the next one. Then he got stuck near Frunzenskaya station for 50 minutes.

A crowd of people outside a metro station in Moscow. Photo: Jonathan Goh
Parts of the Metro system have been closed. Photo: Jonathan Goh

Our family were so worried. My father's phone was out of coverage for all that time. My sister called me in panic and told me about the blast.

I was about to cry. In about an hour my mum called me and said that my dad was fine.

What happened was terrible. I've never expected that the danger of terrorism would be so close.

I'm just taken aback at how fragile our lives are. My aunt was injured in a blast in Tverskaya station a long time ago. Two of my colleagues were late for the train between Moscow and St Petersburg that was attacked a couple of months ago. So, terrorism is not something distant on the TV. Unfortunately, it's part of our environment.

I don't know who is behind the attack and don't want to make assumptions, as they will contribute to nothing but hatred. I can only say that that the terrorists want to spread fear in Russia and make it fail.

Our leaders should promote diversity as a major national idea. We live in a multicultural state, so different identities should be respected. Confrontation will only lead to further confrontation.

MARIA, 20 STUDENT

I live very close to the Park Kultury station and I can observe what's going around. The traffic jams are enormous: for some reason people are still trying to travel around the city, while the taxis are charging their passengers 20 times more than normally. There is a lot of police everywhere.

Mobile phones have been hardly working all morning as people are trying to call or text their friends and relatives. I myself woke up because of my friend's text. Then I called a lot of other people.

It feels like people in Moscow have forgotten how these things happen. There hasn't been a huge terrorist attack for a couple of years now and this makes the shock even greater.

Nobody knows what to think. It is said that recent events in Chechnya must be involved but I personally doubt that something like that could be planned in two or three weeks.

Russian TV doesn't provide much information. Actually it doesn't report the news at all: there were four reports throughout the morning, all of them useless. We get the information from the BBC and CNN.

ANNA NEKHAENKO, SECRETARY
Anna Nekhaenko
Anna Nekhaenko

There was no information on the Metro about what was going on. I have never seen so many people, jammed in subways and coaches.

Escalators didn't work, there were so many people and everybody had to walk down the stairs. It was stuffy, some women couldn't stand it and were falling down.

There are problems with communication. Earlier in the morning telephones (both landlines and mobile) as well as the internet weren't working. I was trying to call home to to say that I'm out of danger but I couldn't.

There is no extra transport. People have to walk and and taxi drivers jacked up their prices. There are traffic jams, main streets were blocked in the morning, as they were used by the special transport only.

Some people were late for work because they forgot to put the clock forward one hour, which saved their lives.

My fellow citizens and I are shaken by this monstrous crime.

NATALIA NAYDENOVA, 20, STUDENT

When the explosions happened I was already in my office. I had got out of the Metro 10 minutes earlier. My office is near a main road used by all the ambulances.

Right now the roads are paralysed in the town centre. People are trying to get to work. It's quite problematic - the police have blocked the city centre so people can't get to the places they need to get to.

The Metro is empty, everyone got out, people are afraid. At 9am there was a false alarm about a third explosion, I heard it on the radio. Then people started calling from this Metro station in panic.

People in Moscow are panicking. There are lots of psychologists on the radio trying to calm people down, asking them not to panic, just to call our relatives.

My views of how safe Moscow is have changed dramatically. I am very scared about using the Metro and even though I live quite far away from the centre, I will be very careful.

VIKTOR KRAVTSOV, 22, HR WORKER

I drove past Lubyanka station minutes after the explosion there. That's the station near the Kremlin. I didn't realise what had happened at the time, I just saw security services and people from the fire department and police closing the whole place.

There was smoke coming out of the station. Actually that was all - no additional information was available. About five minutes later I heard on the radio what had happened.

I then tried to reach a couple of my friends on the phone who I worried might have been at the station at that time. It was shocking, because I couldn't reach them on the phone, so many people must have been trying to call. I did eventually get through.

One friend told me he was on a train through Lubyanka shortly before the explosion. And my grandmother was on a train heading for Lubyanka shortly afterwards. It stopped at the station before and they had to get out and walk out of the station. She said there was no great panic, people were calm.



SEE ALSO
Russia country profile
06 Mar 12 |  Country profiles

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