20 years ago, on the night of November 15-16, 1996, a terrorist act took place in the city of Kaspiysk. In the city, a house was blown up in which families of Russian border guards from the Caspian special border detachment, separate aviation squadron and the military-operational department of "Makhachkala" of the Caucasian special border region.
The scale of the tragedy was serious: there were more than 100 people under the rubble, 68 people died, including 20 children and 17 women. At that time, after the Budennovsk raid of Shamil Basayev’s gang and the attack of Salman Raduyev’s militants on the city of Kizlyar, this sabotage was the bloodiest. November 19 1996 in Russia was declared the day of national mourning for the dead.
The explosion occurred on 2 hours 10 minutes in the 9-storey building number 58 on Lenin Street. The main residents of the blown-up house were families of servicemen of the Caspian border detachment of the North Caucasus border district. The Caspian frontier detachment was created in January 1993. It protects the maritime border along the coast of the Caspian Sea with Turkey, Iran, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan.
The power of the bomb, according to various estimates, was 30-150 kg of TNT. As a result of the explosion, the entire building was damaged, one of its sections was completely destroyed (an 41 apartment got into the destruction zone). Most of the inhabitants of the house was under the ruins. People did not even understand what had happened.
“In a house almost 80 meters wide, an 40-meter opening was formed, from where, after a few seconds, moans and cries for help began to be heard. A huge cloud of dust against the black sky and the screams of people squeezed by plates - this is the first thing thousands of residents of nearby houses heard and heard awakened by the terrible roar and clatter of broken glass in their apartments. Many felt that the earthquake began, and ran out into the street. A terrible picture appeared before them ", - wrote reporters who arrived at the scene of an emergency.
Within a few minutes after the explosion, the first ambulance cars arrived at the scene of the tragedy. By this time, the men from the neighboring houses were already working there, who were pulling out the survivors and the bodies of the dead from the rubble. The rescuers who arrived at the scene of the terrorist act worked around the clock. At night, they dismantled debris by the spotlights. Next to the ruins is a helipad. Wounded by helicopter sent to Makhachkala. Rescued managed 39 people.
The FSB Directorate for Dagestan initiated a criminal case under the article "terrorism". First put forward several versions. First and foremost: it is a well-planned sabotage directed against the top leadership of the Caspian frontier detachment. Most of the inhabitants of the destroyed house are officers serving in the local border guard detachment. Among the dead, it is they and their families that make up the majority. In the first hours after the explosion, the leadership of the North Caucasus Special Border District stated that many threats from unknown persons had been received by the officers of the Caspian software.
The second version is the “Chechen trace”. Chechnya in the early 1990-s became a kind of breeding ground for gangsterism, national separatism and terrorism. What led to the Chechen war 1994-1996, and then the Second Chechen war, which began in 1999 year. It quickly became clear that the conflict would sooner or later spread to neighboring areas. In particular, to the east - in Dagestan.
As a result, this version was considered unlikely. Border guard officers and pilots who lived in a destroyed house did not take part in the hostilities in Chechnya. True, this did not prevent bandits and terrorists from attacking civilians. Thus, in June 1995, Basayev's gangs took hostage more than 1600 residents of Budennovsk, who were herded into a local hospital (hundreds of patients and employees of Budennovskaya central regional hospital were among the hostages).
The investigation of sabotage was delayed for a long time. In the fall of 2003, the FSB admitted: the case was suspended. According to the basic version, this is revenge on the border guards by criminal structures. Border guards undermined because they did not allow to ship a large party to the North Caucasus from Azerbaijan weapons or drug. However, the identity of the suspects could not be established, no one was even arrested.
From 1996 on November 15-16, commemorative candles are lit on the graves of innocent people 68. On this day, flowers are brought to the site of the tragedy, mourning events take place in the formations and units of the regional border management. At the site of the destroyed house, a stele was installed in memory of the victims.
It is worth noting that peace in Dagestan has not come after this tragedy. 4 September 1999 was a five-story apartment building exploded in the Dagestan city of Buinaksk, where the families of the military lived. The death toll - 64 person, including 23 child. The investigation was completed in August 2000. According to the investigation team, the “black Arab” Khattab was the customer of the crime. In total, seven Daghestani Wahhabis were in the case.
Kaspiysk was also frequently noted in hot reports. In May, 2002, a homemade bomb made of mines and TNT bombs, triggered the local Victory Parade, killing a 43 man and injuring dozens. Then the city had its own underground jamaat and the city, along with the rest of Dagestan, began to fall into the abyss of shootings, jihadi attacks and special operations of law enforcement forces. So, in December 2015, unknown persons opened fire on people at the observation deck of the Derbent fortress.
Thus, Dagestan is still one of the “smoldering” regions of Russia. The youth in search of social justice, adventure and income replenishes the gangster and radical underground. Others are going to fight in Syria or Iraq. Socio-economic problems, lack of ideology in the country and social injustice create a permanent social base for gangsters, terrorists and religious extremists. Power actions of law enforcement agencies, revealing the most dangerous "boils", only temporarily stabilize the situation.
20 years of tragedy in Kaspiysk
- Alexander Samsonov