2006 Volkgoroda bombings
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|2006 Volkgoroda bombings|
|Part of terrorism in Volkia|
|Date||December 18, 2006 |
7:02 - 7:18 p.m. (VST)
|Target||Civilians, first responders|
|Deaths||132 (including 4 perpetrators)|
|Injured||362 (68 critical)|
The 2006 Volkgoroda bombings, referred to colloquially as 12/18 or December 18, were a series of coordinated suicide attacks in Volkgoroda, Volkia, that targeted civilians in Stefan Gurkovsky Square who were attending the city's Winter Festival Market. The attacks caused the death of 128 civilians and injured 362, making it the deadliest terrorist attack in Volkian history.
Four homemade bombs were detonated almost simultaneously within Stefan Gurkovsky Square and in the neighboring metro station. Two additional bombs were set to detonate; the first one malfunctioned and injured the bomber, Vanya Tereschenko, while the second failed to detonate his vest and fled the city. The explosions were found to have been caused by triacetone triperoxide IEDs packed into suicide vests.
The official police investigation found that the attacks were orchestrated by members of the religious doomsday cult Yarkiye and masterminded by its founder, Lukyan Yolkin. Yolkin, the failed bombers, and several other members of Yarkiye were convicted for their roles in the attacks. Yolkin and two other high ranking Yarkiye members, Maksim Vakhmistrov and Anatoly Slavyanov, received the death penalty. They were executed on November 19, 2021. Tereshchenko was sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole, and Kostya Kuzmin was sentenced to life imprisonment with parole after 25 years.
Following the attacks the Volkian government designated Yarkiye as a terrorist organization and declared seven days of national mourning.
Lukyan Yolkin founded Yarkiye in early 1994 with some members of his former Lunarist church in Kholpolya and began meeting in an office building in Repyovka. Yolkin and his followers progressively radicalized over the years, believing the end of days was nearing. Yarkiye was reportedly put under surveillance several times between 2001 and 2003 with no evidence of illegal activity turning up.
In 2004 three members of Yarkiye were arrested and convicted for possession of firearms which brought further attention to the group. A mass shooting later that year carried out by a Yarkiye member resulted in the deaths of 15 civilians; the perpetrator was killed by police. The group denied any planning but expressed sympathy to the victims, with an official statement saying the group hopes the victims "found Her Eternal Light." It was suspected the leadership of Yarkiye masterminded the attack but no official connection was found.
Yarkiye members were involved in at least two more incidents with police prior to the bombing, but again investigators were unable to link the group's leadership with the perpetrators. A grand jury issued a subpoena for documents relating to these mass casualty incidents and Yarkiye offices were raided by officers from the Volkian Federal Police in October 2006. It is believed these raids may have hastened the bombings; documents recovered in later police raids revealed the cult's original target was the New Year's celebration in Volkgoroda.
- 7:02 pm – Two explosions occur in Gurkovsky Metro station, ≈7 seconds apart.
- 7:03 pm – Transit police alert dispatch to explosions. Emergency calls begin.
- 7:04 pm – Two simultaneous explosions occurred within Stefan Gurkovksy Square.
- 7:10 pm – Emergency services begin arriving en masse to both sites.
- 7:11 pm – Fifth attacker's vest fails to detonate properly, critically injuring himself.
- 7:30 pm – All public transport within the city is suspended.
- 7:32 pm – Volkia raises its terrorist threat level to its highest level and locks down Volkgoroda.
- 7:45 pm – Officers from the Rapid Intervention Unit are deployed to Volkgoroda.
- 8:57 pm – Police detonate a suspicious package near the National Assembly Building.
- 11:25 pm – Police raid the main Yarkiye building in Volkgoroda.
Gurkovsky metro station
Two suicide bombers (Dmitry Bychkov and Iosif Knyazev), wearing vests packed with explosives, attacked civilians inside the Gurkovsky metro station, near Stefan Gurkovsky Square located in Volkgoroda. The first explosion occurred at 7:02 pm as crowds exited the Blue Line train; the second explosion occurred about seven seconds later near the entrance to the metro station as civilians fled. Some witnesses reported hearing shots fired shortly after the explosions. However, authorities stated afterwards that there were no shots fired.
On duty transit police alerted dispatch at 7:03 pm and the first ambulances began arriving at 7:08 pm.
A third bomber, Vanya Tereshchenko, attempted to detonate his suicide vest at 7:11 pm in order to target first responders on scene. His vest failed to detonate properly and Tereshchenko was critically injured and ultimately paralyzed. He was taken into custody and transported to the hospital.
Stefan Gurkovsky Square
Two additional bombers (Isidor Koshkin and Vlasiy Volodin), also wearing suicide vests, targeted civilians attending the annual Winter Harvest Market in Stefan Gurkovsky Square. At 7:04 pm, after the explosions at the metro station, the bombers detonated their vests simultaneously near the concert stage and the food vendors. Emergency services were quickly dispatched and began arriving at 7:09 pm.
Kostya Kuzmin was near the square and intended to target first responders at the triage center established by paramedics. He began approaching but "got cold feet" and left the scene. He dumped his vest in an alleyway and fled the city. The bomb was found by police and detonated by controlled explosion. Kuzmin would later be apprehended four days later by officers of the Volkian Federal Police while trying to board a flight out of country.
A total of six attackers were involved, with four dying in suicide suicide bombings, one was arrested in the minutes after the attack, and another was arrested in the weeks after. All six were confirmed to be members of Yarkiye, and Yarkiye's leadership was implicated in interviews with Kostya Kuzmin. They were identified and named as:
- Isidor Koshkin: aged 32. Koshkin was one of the attackers that targeted Stefan Gurkovsky Square. He was considered a fanatical believer in Lukyan Yolkin's teachings, and had previously been arrested and convicted for an attempted robbery of a currency exchange in 1993. He joined Yarkiye in 1997.
- Vlasiy Volodin: aged 26. Volodin also targeted the Square, successfully detonating his vest. He previously had no criminal history but had been dishonorably discharged from the Volkian Air Force in 2001. Volodin joined Yarkiye in 2002.
- Kostya Kuzmin: born March 4, 1984. Kuzmin assisted Koshkin and Volodin in the suicide bombings at the square, but failed to detonate his bomb. He was arrested by federal police in Karatal on December 24, 2006. It is believed Kuzmin joined Yarkiye with Knyazev and Volodin in 2002, and had grown disillusioned with the teachings of Lukyan Yolkin by the time of the bombings.
- Dmitry Bychkov: aged 27. Bychkov was introduced to Yarkiye through his parents, who were members of Yolkin's first church before his expulsion from the Lunarist Church. They followed and joined Yarkiye in 1994. Bychkov allegedly was one of the first to volunteer for the attacks; he successfully targeted the Stefan Gurkovsky metro station.
- Iosif Knyazev: aged 31. Knyazev targeted the metro station with Bychkov and Tereshchenko. He was convicted of battery with a deadly weapon in 1994 and was first introduced to religious fanaticism in prison. Upon release, Knyazev found and joined Yarkiye in 2002.
- Vanya Tereshchenko: born November 1, 1983. Tereshchenko assisted Bychkov and Knyazev with the bombings at the metro station. His suicide bomb partially detonated, causing critical injury to himself and minor injuries to those around him. He joined Yarkiye in 2005 and allegedly believed in Yolkin's teachings fanatically. He was arrested and transported to the hospital for his injuries, where he survived.
Effects and response
|Volkian Federative Republic|
|Main article: Volkia|
|Important Topics: Culture ♦ Lupine ♦ Volkian language ♦ Lunarism ♦ Volkian korona ♦ Defense Forces|
|Government: Federal Government ♦ President ♦ Cabinet ♦ National Assembly ♦ Federal Supreme Court ♦ Political Parties|
|History: Grand Principality of Volkia ♦ Duchy of Volkia ♦ Kingdom of Volkia ♦ Volkian Civil War ♦ Northern Revolt ♦ Volkian Revolution|
|Important Figures (Past and Present): Yuliya Surkova ♦ Aleksey Pushkarev ♦ Stefan Gurkovsky ♦ Ivan Ogarkov ♦ Vasily Tolmachyov ♦ Yulian Lebedev|