Easter Hand Grenade Injures 4

Live in Russia long enough and you cease to notice the sounds of its urban ecosystem. Street cleaners’ shovels and brooms scraping and brushing the pavement, respectively, at 6 a.m; a cantankerous drunk howling and cursing in the courtyard a few hours earlier; the “vroooooms” of SUVs rapidly accelerating in the distance: It’s a collective white noise that can only be pierced by an exceptionally violent or unusual clatter.

For whatever reason, a 62-year-old Voronezh region man was apparently unable to tune out a group of men on the sidewalk outside his building who were listening to music and talking loudly at around 6 p.m. on Easter Sunday. The average party-pooper might have yelled at the group to shut up. Instead, the pensioner tossed an RGD-5 grenade out his window, sending the men scurrying for cover before it detonated, local media reported. Luckily, no one was seriously wounded, though the victims were hospitalized with minor injuries.

One of the victims said the suspected grenade-tosser, an ethnic Russian who moved to the Voronezh region from Chechnya, had boasted about the cache of weapons and explosives he was keeping in his apartment, the local Rossia-1 television channel reported. The incident happened in the village of Petrovo-Barkovskye. Local authorities have opened a criminal case in connection with attempted multiple homicide and a less serious count, hooliganism, the regional Investigative Committee branch said.

A regional police official told RIA-Novosti that the four young men had been repairing a car when they made the offending ruckus. The suspect said he could not explain where he got obtained the grenade because he was drunk, RIA-Novosti reported.

The Russian weapons web site Warfare.ru notes that the RGD-5 grenade contains 110 grams of TNT and “produces about 350 fragments.” The weapon, the site notes, “was developed for maximum throwing range” and can be tossed 40 meters to 50 meters with an effective casualty radius of 15 meters to 20 meters. It’s a Soviet model that dates back to the 1950s and is still produced in Russia today, according to the weapon’s Wikipedia entry. Here’s a YouTube video of an American guy tossing what is apparently an RGD-5 into a Cambodian lake for fun.

It may seem obvious, but perhaps it’s worth reminding readers that alcohol and hand grenades are a poor combination as far as safety is concerned. In October 2006, Moscow resident Yury Petrushkov began quarrelling with his drinking buddy in southeastern Moscow. During the drunken scuffle, Petrushkov’s friend slipped a hand grenade into his pocket, where it detonated, killing Petrushkov, injuring a third man and damaging four cars.