The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has claimed recently that Western politicians and media conspired to conceal the truth about the Crocus City Hall attack.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the US President’s administration, as well as British and European Union officials, of orchestrating a media disinformation campaign following the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall near Moscow.

Belsat’s Russian-language portal analyzed a statement from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which primarily blames Western politicians and media outlets for not “buying” the theory that the attack had a Ukrainian connection.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has presented its accusations

On April 8, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a message on Telegram in which it accused the authorities of Western countries of instructing the editors of the world’s leading media to support the version of ISIS’s involvement in the terrorist attack. Furthermore, the posted information stated that the West denied any connections between Islamists and the Ukrainian government, as well as Western intelligence services. They also discredited the findings of the Russian investigation and promoted conspiracy theories about the involvement of Russian security forces in the attack. However, no evidence was provided to support these allegations.

On the night immediately after the attack, reports surfaced regarding ISIS’s involvement. Aaron Zelin, an expert on the activities of the Islamic State, was the first to tweet about the participation of Islamic terrorists. However, there were doubts raised in the Russian media about the authenticity of the document that claimed ISIS took responsibility for the attack, as the format of the document was based on an outdated template.

The report’s integrity was promptly verified by a team of Site investigators who have been professionally examining Islamist activities for 20 years. Afterward, additional reports surfaced in media associated with ISIS, indicating that Islamists were involved in the attack. One of the attackers even recorded a video of the moment of the invasion, which was shared online.

Ukraine, not ISIS

According to the Russian Ministry, citizens of Western countries could not learn about the version that the Ukrainian authorities were behind the attack. The Western media allegedly did not report on the possible involvement of Ukraine or the West in the terrorist attack carried out by Islamists. Moreover, these media outlets only conveyed the statements of the highest officials of the Russian Federation, who, from the very beginning, accused the Ukrainian authorities of involvement in the attack. It is worth noting at this point that the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also does not deny the part about Islamists being behind the attack in Crocus City Hall.

On March 25, The Guardian reported that Russia is urging the United States to reconsider its claims that ISIS was behind an attack. The following day, the BBC published an article titled “Attack in Moscow: Russia Blames the West and Kyiv for the Jihadist Massacre.” Similarly, The Washington Post reported that the FSS did not provide evidence of Ukraine’s involvement in the attack.

rosja kreml msz crocus zamach terroryzm rosja oskarżenia USA UE wielka brytania teorie spiskowe
Saidakrami Rachabalizoda, one of the suspects in the terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall. Basmanny District Court in Moscow March 24, 2024
Photo: Tatyana Makeeva/AFP/East News

Verifying the allegations made by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs about discrediting the investigation results is difficult because the proceedings still need to be completed. It is currently known that more than ten individuals are in custody in different parts of Russia, but their connection to each other needs to be clarified. Some foreign media outlets, like the French publication Le Monde, have reported on additional arrests of suspects but without providing specific details.

After the arrest of the four probable suspects responsible for the terrorist attack, photos and videos surfaced online showing that they were deliberately beaten and tortured to obtain their testimonies. Russian state media aired materials that suggest there are links between detained citizens of Tajikistan and Ukraine. On April 8, the Investigative Committee stated that the data retrieved from Tajikistani phones may indicate their connections with the Ukrainian special services. Additionally, State Channel One aired footage of interrogations of alleged vigilantes who were involved in the attack on Crocus City Hall near Moscow. They claimed that Kyiv was behind the attack, supporting Putin’s hypotheses and his officials.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused Western media of spreading conspiracy theories. According to the Russian news agency Regnum, the most prevalent conspiracy theory being spread by Western media is that the Russian intelligence services failed to take action after being warned by American secret services. Russia disregarded the USA’s warnings and the announcement of the American embassy in Moscow before the recent attack. Putin called the warning blackmail and an attempt to destabilize the country in the statement following the announcement. After the attack, representatives of the Russian secret services admitted to receiving intelligence data from the US but dismissed it as too general.

Western media immediately attributed the attack to ISIS. However, according to the Regnum commentator, ISIS is currently in a defensive position and, therefore, willing to claim responsibility for any terrorist attack.

Compassion and Humanism

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has accused Western countries of preventing foreign media from displaying compassion and humanity towards the Russian people. The ministry claims that foreign media failed to report the accurate scale of the tragedy, including the number of all victims, including children who were killed or injured. It is further alleged that publishers were advised not to show the reactions of ordinary citizens to the tragedy.

Meanwhile, international media reported the terrorist attack’s death toll and quoted Western politicians’ words of sympathy, including United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken:

– We condemn terrorism in all its forms and stand in solidarity with the people of Russia as they mourn the loss of life due to this terrible event, he said.

Reuters, in turn, covered the national mourning in Russia.

On the night and morning following the attack, several news outlets, including The New York Times, Politico, and The Guardian, published articles reporting the increasing death toll and the hospitalization of several injured children. These news outlets, along with Russian and international media, continue to keep track of the number of people killed by terrorists, which currently stands at 145.

Fugitive oligarchs and oppositionists

In the statement from April 8, the Russian Foreign Ministry alleges that media platforms controlled by fugitive oligarchs and oppositionists have changed their editorial line and are spreading unjustified speculation about the causes and consequences of the Krasnogorsk tragedy.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not presented any evidence that the media outlets affiliated with the late opposition figure Alexei Navalny or exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky have altered their work following the terrorist attack. However, some instances bear the characteristics of disinformation in a few of these media outlets.

rosja kreml msz crocus zamach terroryzm rosja oskarżenia USA UE wielka brytania teorie spiskowe
Laying flowers at an improvised memorial site for victims of a terrorist attack near the Crocus City Hall, Russia, March 24, 2024.
Photo: Maksim Shemetov/Reuters/Forum

After the terrorist attack, the online broadcast “Popular Politics” promoted the theory of Ivan Zhdanov, the Head of the Anti-Corruption Foundation founded by Navalny. According to Zdanov’s statement, the Russian secret service agents present in the audience obstructed the evacuation process during the attack. They also coordinated with the attackers and played a role in their subsequent arrest. However, the media, labeled as foreign agents and considered unwelcome in Russia, including the Media Zona Conflict Intelligence Team and Meduza, have questioned this version of the event.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also mentioned a book titled “Blow Up Russia” in its statement from April 8. The book was published in Poland and authored by former FSS officer Alexander Litvinenko and historian Yuri Felshtinsky. However, the book is considered extremist in Russia. It presents a well-documented version of the 1999 terrorist attacks on Russian residential buildings. The authors’ findings suggest that the bombings were organized by the secret services and used by Putin as a pretext to resume the war in Chechnya.

Following the attack on Crocus City Hall, there were numerous speculations that the incident was also orchestrated by the secret services to achieve political goals.

Cannibalistic and Russophobic way of stirring up strong emotions

According to a statement from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kyiv and the West have made unfounded accusations about the Kremlin’s involvement in a terrorist attack. The ministry claims that Ukrainian media reports have ignored the results of the investigation, which indicate Ukraine’s responsibility for the attack, and instead blamed ISIS. The statement calls this behavior cannibalistic and Russophobic incitement.

On March 22, right after the terrorist attack, Andriy Yusov, who is the official representative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine (HUR), stated that the terrorist attack was a deliberate provocation by the Russian secret services.

– The Kremlin tyrant started his career in such a way and wants to end it with the same crimes against his citizens – he said, referring to the explosion of residential buildings in 1999.

The Ukrainian news agency UNIAN repeated Jusov’s speculations without providing any evidence to support them.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also stated that “Putin and other scum” are trying to shift the blame for the terrorist attack to someone else. He also mentioned bombed houses, executions, and explosions. HUR later stopped blaming the Kremlin but continued to deny Ukrainian involvement in the attack.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian media are highlighting the absurdities in the official findings of the Russian investigation into the terrorist attack near Moscow that implicates Ukraine.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement that echoes, in a less harsh form, the sentiments expressed on Platform X by Dmitry Medvedev, the former President and current Vice-Chairman of the Security Council. He directly accuses Western leaders of being involved in the attack near Moscow.

– Well, respected leaders of the USA and European countries! Are you not satisfied with the terrorists’ claims that they were promised a million rubles in Kyiv, and to get there, they had to go through a gap on the Russian-Ukrainian border? So, the terrorist attack was ordered by ISIS, right? The real payers are Bandera’s darkspawns, your pupils. And the accomplices to this murder are all of you: Biden, Macron, Sunak, Scholz, and other henchmen. We won’t forget this! – he wrote on the X platform.

Viktor Volkov jb/

Translated by PEV