11 People Die in Blast at Samara Market

Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press
July 7, 2004

Samara Market. By Vladimir Perekrest. Izvestia, June 5, 2004, p. 1.
Condensed text:

. . . The Kirov Merchandise Market is Samara’s largest. On Friday
[June 4], an explosion rang out at exactly 1 p.m. local time (12 noon
Moscow time) near the entrance to the market from the direction of
the Pyatiletka railroad platform. That area is always bustling, since
many province residents come to the market by electric train. Near
the entrance are several freight containers from which vendors sell
goods, as well as stalls selling shish kebab, shawarma and other

“On weekends the place is jam-packed,” Daniyar Saifiyev, the main
spokesman at the Samara Province chief administrator’s press office,
told Izvestia. “If the blast had occurred on Saturday or Sunday, the
number of victims could have been far greater.”

But there were quite a few people at the market on Friday afternoon
as well. So in the wake of the explosion the area near the market
entrance was one big bloody jumble.

The force of the blast was so great that several sections of the
concrete wall surrounding the market were smashed to pieces and
strewn about by the shock wave. A large fragment of a concrete slab
landed on the railroad bed and damaged two of the five sets of tracks
that run through the Pyatiletka platform. The explosion overturned
about 10 freight containers and food stalls. A Vietnamese father,
mother and daughter who operated one of the stalls were killed on the
spot. A booth belonging to a family of Armenians was also destroyed,
and the owner’s wife and brother were killed. Some bodies were torn
to pieces by the blast, and the shock wave hurled one female
market-goer over the concrete wall.

Blood-soaked people were running back and forth between the market
and the railroad platform. Someone called the ambulance service and
the police. . . . All told, 27 ambulances came to help those injured
by the blast. . . .

One person died on the way to the hospital, and three others
succumbed in the intensive care unit.

The Ministry for Emergency Situations’ Samara division initially
reported that the tragedy had been caused by the explosion of some
gas cylinders in a vending stall near the market entrance. Such
things have happened in Samara before. . . .

But what blew up in Samara this time was not gas, according to
Samara Province Prosecutor Aleksandr Yefremov, who went to the scene
of the tragedy. He reported that a one-kilogram charge of plastic
explosive had been planted between the concrete wall and a vending
booth, at a height of 1.2 meters.

The main shock wave was directed toward the railroad platform,
where there were about 20 people at the time of the explosion.
According to the prosecutor, they were saved purely by chance. A
freight train had pulled up a few minutes before the blast, and one
of its tank cars absorbed the blow. . . . Explosives experts were
able to determine that the bomb had been detonated by a safety fuse,
the prosecutor said. There were also indications that the device had
been packed with ball bearings and pieces of scrap metal.

A criminal investigation has been opened in connection with the
blast, under Art. 205 and Art. 105, part 2, of the Russian Criminal
Code (“Terrorism” and “Intentional Homicide of Two or More Persons,”

“It’s hard to say at this point whether there is any Chechen
connection,” a source in the Samara Province law-enforcement
community told Izvestia. “The market recently changed hands. It’s
possible that the bombing had something to do with that. The market
is a choice morsel, and it has been the focus of criminal turf wars

As this issue was going to press, the death toll had reached 11.
Some of the dead have not yet been identified. Thirty-three of the
injured are hospitalized, six of them in intensive care. The Samara
Province Disaster Medicine Center reports that doctors are seriously
concerned about the condition of several of their injured patients. .
. .