Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Outpouring of Grief Grips Capital

Unknown
Ilma was fast asleep on Wednesday afternoon, breathing deeply, her honey-blond hair poking out from under the white sheets she was bundled up in. She’s 3 years old and was recovering from minor surgery a day after she was hit in the chest by flying debris in the explosion on Pushkin Square.

It took her mother, Tanya Yufereva, more then five hellish hours Tuesday to find out that her husband and daughter — unusually late for a toy-shopping trip to Detsky Mir — were hurt, but alive.

"The first thing she told me when I found them here was: ‘Mama, they tried to kill me and Papa, but we survived,’" Yufereva recalled, leaning on the doors of the post-op room in Moscow’s Children’s Hospital No. 9. "And then she kept on asking: Is it over now?"

Click here to read our Special Report on the bombings.It was a question many Muscovites were asking themselves Wednesday as the city was slowly picking up the pieces after the blast that ripped through one of its busiest underground passages.

Seven people — five women and two men — were killed. Of the 93 people hurt, 61 were hospitalized, several of them in serious condition, the city health committee said.

The passageway on Pushkin Square — once a vibrant, colorful place lined with kiosks and humming with the sounds of people trading — was open Wednesday but was still covered with soot and dust.

The bomb crater in a blackened corner of the passageway was transformed into a makeshift shrine, where those who lost friends gathered to mourn. Bouquets of flowers placed along the wall were adorned with icons, and a row of candles was burning in front of them.

A group of young men stood silently in front of the shrine holding plastic cups filled with vodka in trembling hands, tears streaming down their tired, unshaven faces. After a minute of silence they drank to the bottom and parted without a word.

Soon their place was taken by a young, skinny girl who sat down and rocked, crying, her face buried in her hands.

People who worked in the underground kiosks were among those who suffered the most in the explosion.

A crowd of onlookers kept forming a circle around the mourners, oblivious to a nervous policeman asking them to move on. Others joined a constant stream of people passing by under the blackened ceiling lined with burned electrical wiring, struggling with the bitter smell that still lingered.

"It’s scary," said Vasily, 40. He came to have a look, to pay his respects. "I used to pass through here literally every day. I could have been one of them."

Four of the seven victims of the blast were identified by Wednesday afternoon, the city health committee said. Later in the evening, RTR television reported the number had risen to five.

The doctors at Children’s Hospital No. 9 refused to say whether they thought the mother of Svetlana Leonova could be among them. The 14-year-old girl was brought to them Tuesday evening with a broken leg and badly burned palms.

"She was trying to put out the fire that caught on her mother’s clothes with her bare hands," said Leonid Pinkov, head of the burns department, who was on duty when the girl arrived Tuesday. "But then the smoke enveloped her and she ran out. Her father is still trying to find out what happened to his wife."

Back at the passageway, the kiosk vendors who survived Tuesday’s explosion came to have a look at what was left of their workplaces. The kiosks farthest from the site of the blast were almost untouched, but those deeper in the passage were turned into piles of crooked metal and shattered glass.

The badly damaged kiosks were cordoned off by the police, but the vendors were let through to look through the debris and try to save whatever was left of their possessions.

But next to the very site of the explosion there was nothing to rummage through anymore. "I used to sell clothes here," said Lena, 40, pointing to the completely barren corner. "There’s not even a tile left," she said through tears. "Where am I supposed to find a new job now, at my age?"

Moved by reports of the blast, Muscovites formed long lines Wednesday outside the city’s blood centers to offer their help.



Nadezhda Krutikova said the news of the explosion hit her hard. "My first thought was, there are people hurt. Second was, oh, no, not all over again," she recalled while sitting in the crowded waiting room of the blood transfusion center in northwest Moscow.

Just like dozens of people around her, she had been waiting all morning to give blood for the wounded, a thing she’s never done before in her 49 years. "It was a split-second decision," she said. "They asked over the TV for blood donors, so I responded. As simple as that."

For Vladimir, a 39-year-old Afghan veteran, blood donation is a routine thing. "Back there we did direct transfusions, vein to vein," he said. "I didn’t give it a thought, I just went out to do it."

Most of the people at the center were driven there from the Sklifosovsky emergency clinic, where the lines of blood donors on Wednesday were so long that the staff couldn’t cope with all of them.

"I’m deeply moved by the spiritual generosity of our people," Vladimir Shevchuk, deputy head doctor at Sklifosovsky, said in remarks reported by Interfax. "I take my hat off to them."

Those who want to give blood can do so at the city blood transfusion center at 15 Ulitsa Polikarpova in northwest Moscow.



http://www.themoscowtimes.com/indexes/85.html Click here to read our Special Report on the bombings.