By Paul Goble
For the last four days, courts, government offices, churches, stores and other public places have been evacuated in Moscow and St. Petersburg after telephone callers said that bombs had been planted there. No bombs have been found, but the authorities have no option but to evacuate people lest one of the reports be true.
(On this development, see rbc.ru/rbcfreenews/5de680d49a794718463247e2, mskagency.ru/materials/2951527, kommersant.ru/doc/4180217, u-f.ru/news/criminal/u19761/2019/12/03/291921, govoritmoskva.ru/news/217877/, polit.ru/news/2019/12/03/court/ and echo.msk.ru/news/2548089-echo.html.)
What is most disturbing is that Russian media outlets are blaming Ukrainians, a charge without evidence but one that could have serious consequences given the scheduled meeting of the Normandy Format in Paris next week (mk.ru/incident/2019/12/03/smi-soobshheniya-o-minirovanii-v-moskve-idut-iz-ukrainy.html).
Russia has faced what its officials call “telephone terrorism” off and on for the last two years. More than a million Russians have been evacuated.