Terrorism in Russia

Why the Problem Is Set to Worsen

Flags flying at half-mast in St. Petersburg, April 2017. Anton Vaganov / REUTERS

On Monday, the subway system of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second city, was the site of a massive bomb blast that killed 14 commuters and wounded more than 50 others. (A second, unexploded device was subsequently found and defused by authorities.) The attack marked the most significant terrorist incident to hit the Russian Federation since December of 2013, when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in the main train station of the southern Russian city of Volgograd ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in nearby Sochi.

But it is also much more. Monday’s bombing is the latest sign of Russia’s worsening terrorism problem, as well as a portent of things to come.


Most directly, Monday’s attack in St. Petersburg can be viewed as blowback from Russia’s ongoing intervention in Syria. Since September 2015, the Kremlin has become a major player in Syria’s grinding civil war,

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