At 9:30 pm Moscow time on Saturday, the Nevsky Express high-speed train bound from Moscow for St. Petersburg derailed. Three hours later, the Kremlin’s RIA Novosti newswire reported 10 passengers had been killed and 130 injured. But five hours after that, RIA was reporting that two dozen had been killed only 90 injured, and indicating that “the death toll could rise as new bodies were being taken out of the deformed railroad cars.” 32 passengers were reported missing. Nearly 700 people were on the train. By the following afternoon, it was clear that more than three dozen had perished, triple the initial a report.
Quoting an anonymous source in “law enforcement,” RIA Novosti also reported on the cause of the derailment: “Preliminarily, an explosion occurred under the ninth car,” it stated. “There was a clap. The last two cars almost fell apart. I’ve seen such things only in movies,” a passenger named Alexander told the newswire.
Once again, Russia rescue efforts were pathetic and infuriating.
One survivor, who herself spent a horrifying four hours trapped in the train awaiting rescue, reported: “The young people from the Ministry of Emergency Situations carried us out on stretchers, but other people in uniform were just standing there and staring, and no one was even helping to carry out the wounded.”
And once again, it is difficult to know which version of the events would be the more repugnant, that the tragedy was caused by predictable Russian incompetence which the government is seeking to cover up by blaming it on terrorists, or that it was caused by an open assault from Islamic separatists or nationalist fanatics which the Kremlin is unable or unwilling to control. Either way, no thinking person can fail to appreciate the damning proof of inadeqacy on the part of the Putin regime that incidents of this kind respresent. Unfortunately, the Russian electorate is not rich in thinking people.