Do not believe it if you are told that you get used to terrorist attacks or shelling. While working in Kabul 15 years ago, the author of this article repeatedly saw people who had lived through many years of war in Afghanistan and nonetheless gave an uncontrollable start when a missile exploded.
Likewise, one never gets used to the blood of innocent people spilt in the terrorist attacks on buses, at markets, in cafes or shopping centres. One is similarly touched by the suffering of their relatives. The author had a chance to feel the horror of terrorism while working as a RIA Novosti correspondent in Israel. At that time, one had a keen sense that this was not always going to be someone else's problem; today the act of terrorism bypassed you and your dear ones, but tomorrow might be different. That is, everyone has to feel these events, and the saying that trouble is never far away is completely true.
Terror has come to Russia. On Monday, Moscow is burying those who died in the underground explosion on Friday morning. It claimed the lives of 39 people, of whom only 23 have been identified so far. The reason may be the specific features of the blast: it occurred during a rush hour in a carriage in a deep tunnel. It also left 134 people, mainly passengers of adjoining carriages, wounded.
According to the information available on Monday morning, 107 people are still undergoing treatment in Moscow's hospitals. Indeed, 29 of them are in a very serious and a further 44 are in a serious condition. Most of them are suffering from burns.
Monday has been declared a Day of Mourning in the Russian capital. Russian flags with black bands of mourning can be seen on the streets, while all radio and TV entertainment programmes have been cancelled.
Naturally, there are questions that torture everyone: "Who is to blame?" "Who stood behind this horrible deed?" So far there is no clear answer. No organisation has taken responsibility for the explosion, not even Chechen militants that have declared a "jihad" against Russia.
Still, talk of "the Chechen trace" is actively spreading all over the country. The memories of the terrorist attacks carried out by Chechen militants, including the hostage taking at the Dubrovka theatre centre and the bombings of apartment blocks, are still fresh.
Some politicians, both in Russia and abroad, have ventured the opinion that without talks with Chechen separatists Russia will never get peace; that it is necessary to cease all hostilities in the North Caucasus and to launch negotiations with militant leader Aslan Maskhadov and maybe even to agree to their conditions.
"It is not for the first time that crimes committed in Russia have coincided with calls from abroad for talks with terrorists," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in this respect. "The fact that such crimes are accompanied by calls for negotiations with Aslan Maskhadov show that those who make these calls indirectly confirm Maskhadov's connection to gangsters and terrorists," he pointed out. "We know for sure that Maskhadov and his militants are connected with this terror. Russia does not negotiate with terrorists, it eliminates them," the President emphasised.
It should be pointed out that this assessment is supported by the majority of the Russian population. Most Russians clearly believe that any concession to terrorism will do nothing but increase the threat. For people like Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev a concession would mean only one thing, a display of the Kremlin's weakness; it would only increase their certainty that terrorist attacks may bring terrorists the gains they want.
Accordingly, it is clear that the new terrorist attack will only force the Russian authorities to launch tougher measures in the fight against terrorists, including armed militants still hiding in Chechnya's mountains.
Of course, Moscow clearly understands that these measures should not affect all Chechens, both in the North Caucasus and in other regions of Russia, including Moscow. Representatives of Moscow law-enforcement bodies have repeatedly announced on TV over the last two days that there will be no pursuit of people from the Caucasus. The police have also asked the population to report about any attempts made by extremist organisations "to punish" Chechens or citizens of any other "non-Russian" ethnic group.
Moscow understands that the nerves of people, especially of those who have lost their relatives, are stretched. However, any "campaign" against people from the Caucasus who do not have anything to do with terrorism may only aggravate the situation in the city.
As to Chechen militants, suicide bombers who are responsible for the latest bloodshed, Russians are unanimous even in this case: they should be eliminated. In Moscow, you can increasingly often hear arguments that no "high goals" of terrorists, including "the fight for freedom" or "protection of ordinary Chechens", can justify the deaths of 39 absolutely innocent people and the suffering of over 100 injured.
Thus, any support to such criminals and solidarity with them amounts to complicity in their crimes.
It is necessary to fight terrorism together and without looking for any justification for it. However, it should be remembered that trouble is never far away, and if a few days ago a bomb exploded in Moscow, you cannot be sure that next time it will not happen somewhere else, even in the most prosperous country and the most peaceful city.