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Author`s name Ольга Савка

Chechen terrorists use people of Slavic origin to perform terrorist acts

A man, supposedly used as a mediator in a terrorist act, mysteriously died

At night of 18 September, 2004 officers of Moscow's Presnensky police department paid attention to a man, who was standing next to a parked VAZ 2105 vehicle. The officers could see that the man was very nervous. They checked the man's documents, but he refused to let the officers inspect his car. The officers offered him to go to the police station.

Two MON50 bombs were found underneath one of the car seats. A 200-gramm trotyl bomb was found in the back of another seat. The wires from the bomb were connected to the accumulator through the glove compartment. In addition, sappers found two electric detonators in a wheel.

The man's name was Alexander Pumane (38), he is a former submariner. His parents live in the town of Pushkin, a suburb of St.Petersburg. He was transferred to the reserve in 2000. Alexander Pumane's relatives in St.Petersburg strongly denied his implication in terrorist groups. When his father learned about the son's arrest, he fell seriously ill. Other relatives think that someone set Alexander up. “He worried too much about the events in Beslan. He took some clothes to the Red Cross, trying to do at least something to help the victims of the hostage crisis. However, he was found guilty without any court decision,” Alexander's civil wife said.

Alexander Pumane told investigators that an unknown man, apparently of the Chechen origin, addressed to him with a request to drive a car from St.Petersburg to Moscow. The stranger offered a fee – one thousand dollars. Pumane was supposed to take another car in Moscow, spend a night in the city and then drive it to another specified place. According to Alexander, he met the stranger on September 16th. The unknown man gave him documents and keys to GAZ 3110 and VAZ 21053 vehicles. According to the instructions, Pumane went to Moscow.

Special services do not exclude that the perpetrators intended to prepare a terrorist attack and explode the car with the driver in a busy place. When Alexander arrived to the place of meeting, a liaison did not come, Pumane started worrying and attracted police officers' attention.

The former submariner told investigators that he left the GAZ vehicle in Gvardeiskaya Street and the VAZ vehicle – in Bogoslovsky Side Street. PRAVDA.Ru reported before that specialists found two mined cars that were parked near apartment blocks in Moscow. Special services evacuated the tenants of the buildings to examine the cars, but they did not found explosives in the cars.

The VAZ vehicle, on which Alexander Pumane arrived in Moscow, was registered in the name of Rauza Abdulkaderova. Law-enforcement officers found out that the woman was the wife of one of Chechen guerrillas. Special services concluded that they had prevented another terrorist act in Moscow. Abdulkaderova was put on wanted list, her two sons were arrested.

First news messages said that Alexander Pumane was detained in the state of narcotic intoxication. It was also said that the man had a heart attack at the police department and was hospitalized to Sklifosofsky Institute. Doctors took lifesaving efforts, but the man died at 8:30 a.m.

It transpired the next day that the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Moscow instituted criminal proceedings on the facts of abusing power and causing severe bodily injuries, which led to a fatal outcome. Unofficial information says that Pumane was hospitalized with brain injuries, jaw fracture, skull base fracture and numerous haematomas. Alexander Pumane supposedly died from pain shock. The Federal Security Bureau shifts the blame on the police.

The interrogation of Alexander Pumane lasted for two hours. If the information about severe bodily injuries is confirmed, it will mean that law-enforcement agencies have lost a very important witness at their own will. There has not been such an incident in the practice of the anti-terrorist struggle before. Doctors said that only one look at Pumane's body was enough to understand that he had been brutally beaten. “He was hospitalized to the department of general reanimation. If the man had a heart attack, he would be taken to the cardio-reanimation block. The general reanimation means that the man had severe injuries,” a doctor said.

Special services believe that they have faced a new method that terrorists use in their subversive activities. They use people of Slavic origin as potential suicide bombers and transporters to avoid problems with the police. As it happened with Alexander Pumane, such people do not know what they will have to go through.

The Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper set forth two versions of the incident. According to the first version, a terrorist group was preparing a large terrorist act in Moscow and sent an incidental person to execute it. A terrorist group probably wanted to use the commotion around the “prevented terrorist act” and perform a bloodier operation. According to the second version, there was no terrorist act planned at all. Someone from the special services “set up” the “terrorist” not to let him cooperate with the investigation. Someone made Pumane keep silent. Alexander Pumane, the newspaper wrote, was ready to help the investigators; he started testifying, but was brutally beaten to death afterwards.

It was later reported that Pumane had been arrested within the scope of a special operation conducted by Russia's FSB and Interior Affairs Ministry. The investigation of Alexander Pumane's case has been virtually stopped. Police officers and FSB agents are trying to prove that they are not guilty of Pumane's death. “We have not found Pumane's ties with criminal structures or terrorist groups in Chechnya,” a law-enforcement officer said. At any rate, Alexander Pumane's death has raised a lot of questions both for the prosecutor's office and investigators.

Based on the materials of Vremya Novostei, Moskovsky Komsomolets, Izvestia, Kommersant, Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspapers

Igor Bukker

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