Shaun Walker: 'I know nothing of Chechnya, except they're dangerous people'

Angry and nervous, Muscovites gathered to mourn the victims
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The Independent Online

The scent of freshly cut flowers and candle wax wafted through Lubyanka metro station yesterday lunchtime, where just a day earlier the air had been thick with the smell of explosives.

At both stations where the blasts occurred, impromptu memorial stands were set up. Mourners piled up roses and carnations in the central hall between platforms; some also left Orthodox Christian icons, and lit candles.

A makeshift red notice had been erected, stating that a terrorist attack occurred that had caused loss of life.

The friends and relatives of victims were in floods of tears, while other well-wishers stood by quietly and crossed themselves.

"Why would they do something like this?" asked Irina, 19, who was laying flowers yesterday at Park Kultury metro station, the site of the second blast.

Her brother had studied with a girl who died on the train. "To be honest I don't know anything about Chechnya. I just know they are dangerous people. They should all be kicked out of Moscow."

Police presence in the metro was heightened, and people with dark skin who looked like they might be from the Caucasus region were singled out by policemen waiting at the bottom of escalators, and asked to show their passports and Moscow registration papers. These document checks are routine in Moscow, but police have been ordered to be extra vigilant, and yesterday appeared to be stopping more people than usual.

On the platform at Lubyanka station there were no signs of the horror that had unfolded so recently, save some tiny shrapnel marks in the marble walls and a few flowers that had been tossed on to the tracks.

Muscovites are nervous about the prospect of repeat attacks, but they are stoical people and yesterday the trains were packed full of commuters as normal.

And as trains pulled up to Lubyanka station, people poured out of the doors of the second carriage, on to the platform – where just 24 hours earlier there had been mangled limbs and trails of blood – and continued about their business as usual.