Terrorists plan to attack television centers in Russian regions

TV companies' administration ask regional divisions to take more security measures

A new outburst of terrorist acts may hit Russian cities and towns. This time terrorists might attack television centers in Russia regions. The security department of the Russian State Television and Radio Company has recently sent a telegram to directors of its regional divisions. “In connection with a danger of terrorist attacks against television centers, the administration of the company asks to take adequate measures,” the telegram runs. The enumeration and description of those measures takes several paragraphs.

Administrations of Russian television centers have taken unprecedented security measures indeed. A spokesman for the state television and radio company said that it was decided to send the telegram on account of the tense situation in Russia.

Armed security guards and police officers are now on duty in television and radio centers of regional companies. Camouflaged men ask questions and check IDs of every person, who wants to attend the television center in Astrakhan. The center in Nizhni Novgorod is now guarded by men from the special police unit. The Ostankino television center in Moscow is guarded by additional police groups: they search both visitors and their bags.

The Samara-based TV company Terra (a partner of the NTV network) was the first one to distribute the information about terrorists' plans to attack TV centers. The company reported that they had received the information about it from special services. Terrorists, the company said, intended to seize a TV center, go on the air and announce their requirements to the Russian president and government. Similar information was received in other regions of the country, which probably became the prime cause for the security department of the Russian State Television and Radio Company to send the above-mentioned telegram to its regional divisions.

”We have already held a meeting of directors,” the director of the company's division in the Karelia republic, Marina Khaptsova, said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper. “We have outfitted the checkpoint of the building with an alarm button. All visitors and their personal things will be thoroughly examined. We have not received any specific threats of possible attacks, but I think that any television company can become an object of attack for terrorists, even if it is a provincial company. Television can keep the whole nation in fear. It is not excluded that several satellite TV companies have a possibility to access the federal broadcast system and facilities,” Khaptsova said.

Official comments on the matter are rather contradictory and poor, though. The press secretary of the presidential envoy in the Volga administrative district of Russia, Sergey Novikov, told Izvestia that the first information about possible attacks had been misinterpreted – it was only a military exercise. Directors of regional TV companies addressed to military structures with a request to toughen the control over strategic objects, television centers in particular.

However, several regional TV companies started taking measures against possible terrorist attacks – the companies are situated in various regions very far from each other. It is not ruled out that the version of a military exercise became only an official explanation, which was allowed for the media.

The administration of the Russian State Television and Radio Company refused to comment the issue of the telegram and threats of attacks. However, a source, who wished to remain anonymous, told a correspondent of Izvestia that it was not the first time, when similar telegrams had been sent to regional TV centers.

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Author`s name Olga Savka