The fresh details – which came to light on Wednesday – provide a chilling view of the nation’s weaknesses as it tries to defend itself from escalating terror strikes.
Prosecutor-General Vladimir V. Ustinov told Russian news media that the duo had been detained shortly before boarding but were released by a police supervisor.
One swiftly bribed her way onto Sibir Airlines Flight 1047. He said an investigation into the bombings ‘has established that a Sibir Airlines official who was responsible for controlling passenger registration and boarding allowed one of the female terrorists to board the airplane in violation of all regulations and for a bribe’.
Corruption is endemic in post-Soviet Russia, infecting virtually all spheres of life.
A report published this week by the Economist Intelligence Unit, a service produced by The Economist magazine, estimated that bribes amounted to 4 per cent of Russia’s gross domestic product in 2001.
Russians responded to the revelations about the bribing with sadness and resignation, as well as worry about whether the nation would ever be able to defend itself from a foe that knew that security could be breached for the right price.
‘I am going to say something extremely scary for me as a Russian citizen and a Russian mother, but I was always expecting something like this to happen,’ said Ms Elena Panfilova, director of the Moscow office of Transparency International, an international nonprofit group that campaigns against corruption.
‘Nobody in public life has really been linking this problem of petty corruption with security.’ Sibir Airlines Flight 1047 and Volga AviaExpress Flight 1303, with a total of 90 on board, vanished from radar almost simultaneously after leaving Moscow’s airport on Aug 24. — New York Times