Bomb explodes in Russia during annual May Day celebrations
by Katrina Tortorici
A bomb exploded in Russia on Saturday, May 1, injuring 22 people and killing a 94-year-old WWII veteran during their country’s nationwide May Day celebrations led by Communists and many war veterans.
“During a horse race… on the occasion of the celebrations an explosion went off in the VIP lodge of a magnitude equivalent of 3-4 kilograms of TNT,” Tatiana Nauzhokova, a spokeswoman, told AFP. She also claims that the bomb set off at approximately 12:15pm.
“One man has died in hospital from his injuries,” she said.
According to Russian news agencies, the man was Saidly Shibzukhov, a veteran from WWII.
President Dmitry Medvedev ordered a federal investigation and a security boost without delay following the blast, a Kremlin spokesman told AFP. Arsen Kanokov, meanwhile, claims Islamist rebels were behind the attack.
“This is an attempt to destabilize the situation in Kabardino Balkaria and the North Caucasus. They will not be successful. Those who perpetrated this crime do not have the people’s support,” Kanokov said, quoted by Interfax.
During the demonstration, tens of thousands of communists held up red flags and photographs of Russian wartime leader, Joseph Stalin, as they marched on May Day.
The parade was made up of mostly nationalists and trade union supporters of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s ruling party, who attracted a crowd of around 20, 000 people to their rally in the capital city Moscow.
A grand total of 1.7 million people nationwide were intended to participate in the demonstrations that had begun in Russia’s Pacific Coast port city of Vladivosto. Their plan was to head west to the Baltic Sea enclave of Kaliningrad.
The route of the May Day festivities is the International Worker’s Day celebrations under the Soviet Union. One of the main purposes of these rallies was the communists’ reminiscence of the Soviet victory over Nazi German, as May 9 marks the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II.
People are still marching for communism in Russia’s second city of Saint Petersburg, origin of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, displaying banners that read “Workers should not pay for the crisis” and “No to price hikes!”