Although Vladimir Putin has blamed Islamist terrorists for the attack in Moscow that left over 130 people dead, with a reference to those "who ordered it" he did not completely retract the version that Ukraine had a hand in the massacre. Seven suspects are now in custody. Four of them have already been brought to court, showing visible signs of torture. Commentators see this as a symptom of the climate in Russian society as a whole.

A fatal investigation tactic

Science journalist Elia Kabanov warns on Facebook that state torture only leads to further radicalisation:

“People have been tortured in Russia before, but this seems to be the first time it has happened so openly, virtually live, and even with subsequent rewards for the torturers. It's hard to imagine a more blatant invitation to police officers, secret service agents and paramilitary organisations of all stripes to continue this 'procedural practice'. ... I suspect the inhabitants of the national republics will suffer the brunt of it. ... Some will emigrate as a result. Others will say that this is what God wants. And yet others will become radicalised - which is exactly what the terrorists wanted.”

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Brutal casting out of devils

Showing the suspects covered in signs of violence was a calculated move, writes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:

“The security forces deliberately leaked images of brutal torture: one man was tortured with wires connected to his genitals. The youngest suspect was taken straight from ER to court. He keeps blacking out but is able to confess to the crime, as all of them do. This brutal display is reminiscent of a casting out of devils. ... Russia's police and soldiers were unable to prevent the attack or stop the terrorists. ... Putin, Russia's undisputed ruler for a quarter of a century, must therefore demonstrate his strength.”

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A dangerous breeding ground for terrorism

In a Telegram post picked up by Echo, political scientist Vladimir Pastukhov sees the situation of cheap labourers from Central Asia as a security risk for Russia:

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“It is not the FSB that overlooked a specific terrorist network, but the Kremlin that has created a gigantic political threat, since its policies have produced an entire social class that is a natural carrier and breeding ground for the terrorist virus due to its special, humiliated (slave) status. The war has dramatically worsened the situation and made Russia's economy even more dependent on the poor from Central Asia. ... It seems to me that Crocus was not an excess but just the harbinger - and that we are on the threshold of a new terrorist season in Russia.”

Secret service channels no longer function

Adevărul worries why the US's detailed warnings about the terrorist attack were ignored:

“Intolerance between the global adversaries is currently at such high levels that mutual mistrust has increased exponentially as a result. ... No one believes the warnings of the intelligence services of the opposing powers any more, calling them 'provocations' instead, as the Russians did after receiving warnings from the Americans that jihadist attacks were imminent in Moscow. This is extremely worrying because it reverses years of political cooperation which - albeit in a discreet world to which the public had no access - had coordinated some very effective early warning and direct emergency co-operation mechanisms.”

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