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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Security Tightened Against Terrorism

Moscow police have sharply increased street patrols in recent days, fearing terrorist acts in the capital in retaliation against Russia's attack on Chechnya, police officials said.


"All necessary measures have already been taken and the situation in the city is under tight control," said Vitaly Gudenkov, deputy chief of the Public Order department of the city police.


Police spokesman Vladimir Vershkov said police patrols increased by 50 percent, with most additional officers patrolling train, bus and metro stations, traditional high-crime spots.


The daily Moskovsky Komsomolets, citing Interior Ministry sources, reported that the anti-terrorist subdivision of the Dzerzhinsky Division would arrive in Moscow on Thursday to assist police. Interior Ministry and police spokesman refused to confirm or deny the report, but one city official, declining to be named, said he had already seen members of the division patrolling in the city.


Dzerzhinsky troops also patrolled the streets last summer, after President Boris Yeltsin ordered special measures to battle crime.


Pairs of OMON special Interior Ministry troops patrolled with machine guns in front of the Belorussky station, but elsewhere only unusually high numbers of policemen, as well as policemen in civilian clothing, were visible.


On Monday, metro broadcasters warned passengers not to forget their luggage and urged them to warn police if they noticed abandoned objects.


The measure followed threats by Chechen officials that Chechnya might bomb the Moscow metro or nuclear power stations. Interfax reported that police had received five telephone bomb threats at three stations Tuesday; all turned out to be false.


Vershkov denied reports that police had been instructed to target Caucasian nationals with security checks.


In practice, however, Caucasians have born the brunt of police checks ever since Mayor Yury Luzhkov had thousands deported in October 1993.


At Kursky station, a policeman, aided by a man in civilian clothes, detained three Caucasian men Wednesday because they could not present personal documents. When one protested, the civilian man gave him an electric shock on the shoulder with a small electrical truncheon.


"If a Caucasian walks by, or anyone else who looks suspicious, we stop them and check their documents," said Natalya Polovnika said, senior sergeant at the Kurskaya metro police.