Could the 1999 apartment bombings be repeated in 2022?

5 October 2022, 01:00 PM

One possible escalation scenario in the coming weeks or months is a repeat, on a larger scale, of the secret 1999 apartment bombings that brought Putin his first presidency in 2000-2004. In September 1999, the FSB blew up four apartment buildings in Moscow, Volgodonsk, and Buynaksk, killing some 300 Russian citizens.

After blaming North Caucasian terrorists for these atrocities, the hitherto unknown, newly appointed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin started the Second Chechen War. Within weeks, Putin became Russia's most popular politician, admired by Russians for his determination and courage.

A similar scenario on a larger scale could happen now: The first atomic bomb in a possible Russian nuclear war against Ukraine could explode not in Kyiv- but in Moscow-controlled territory. In doing so, as in 1999, many Russian citizens could be killed.

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This time, such a sabotage operation may require not hundreds but thousands or even tens of thousands of victims. Such an explosion or other mass murder could take place this time not in Russia itself, but in Russia's recently annexed Ukrainian territories.

After an apparent WMD attack on Russia, the Kremlin accuses Ukraine of a nuclear, chemical, or biological escalation. As in 1999, the Russian population is rallying around the flag, supporting Moscow's strong response and harsh punishment of the attackers.

Against the backdrop of general outrage, Putin is empowered to use weapons of mass destruction against Ukraine. He begins a scorched earth campaign in Ukraine, in part similar to the one in Chechnya thirty-three years ago, but this time using WMD.

As in 1999 and after, he is glorified in Russia as a resolute avenger for the innocent Russian victims killed by the vicious attack of an ungrateful people of the glorious former empire.

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