Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov — no stranger to strategic deception — thinks there’s something fishy about Monday’s suicide bus bombing in Volgograd, Russia.
“Very suspicious details from the Volgograd bus bombing,” Kasparov tweeted Tuesday afternoon, speculating that the attack may have been planned by Russian security services at the direction of President Vladimir Putin.
The New York Times reports that six people were killed after Naida Asiyalova, an alleged recent convert to Islam, detonated a suicide belt in the back of a bus packed with early-morning commuters.
Russian officials, who identified Asiyalova through a passport found at the scene of the bombing, said she was the wife of an explosives expert for an Islamist rebel group based in Dagestan, the same region visited by one of the Boston bombers in 2012.
But Kasparov sees some gaping holes in the Russian media’s story, starting with the first passport discovered by authorities. “Recovered intact (!) passport of bomber, its photo with hijab (surely not allowed),” he tweeted, referring to a traditional Islamic head covering worn by Asiyalova in the photo.
“If the bomber was a ‘recent convert’ to Islam,” he added, “why would she be wearing a hijab in 2008 passport? So, a fake passport? Extremely odd.”
Despite being broadcast on Russian state television, that passport was in fact fake. The real passport, released by authorities on Tuesday, shows an uncovered Asiyalova and appears damaged by the explosion.
“Now they release the real (?) passport from the blast,” Kasparov tweeted. “No hijab in photo, badly damaged. So why did security release that fake so quickly?”
The bogus passport was first reported on Russia’s Life News, a media outlet that some believe has a direct line to Russia’s security services. “Lifenews is where opposition leaders can go to hear our voicemail before we have a chance to get it off our own phones…” Kasparov claimed.
Attempting to head off accusations of “paranoia,” Kasparov pointed to the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings, which many now believe was perpetrated by the Russian government to pave the way for an attack on Chechnya and grant more powers to the Russian state.
Some evidence ties Russia’s Federal Security Service — then headed by Putin — to the explosives that killed 300 people, and a wall of silence on the attacks is enforced by the untimely deaths of government officials with knowledge of the bombing.
“The officials who had information about those 99 bombings & talked or threatened to talk had a strange habit of being murdered,” Kasparov wrote, adding that the bombings were “one of the ways Putin’s regime was founded on Russian blood.”
A former World Chess Champion considered by many to be the greatest chess player alive, Kasparov retired in 2005 to play a different kind of game: politics. He founded the United Civil Front to defend electoral democracy in Russia, and participated in anti-Putin protests until fear of arrest led him to leave Russia for good last summer.
Regarding Putin’s motives for the possible “false flag” bus bombing, Kasparov could only speculate. “So close to Sochi, where the 2014 Olympic preparations are a total shambles,” he tweeted. “Is Putin looking for a way to delay or cancel the Games?”
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