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Moscow Hotel Demolition Terrifies Unwarned Neighbors

MosNews | October 8 2004

The 24-storey building of the Sport hotel in south-west Moscow was destroyed by a blast in late September. The operation was conducted quite professionally but no one warned the residents of the neighboring apartment blocks and many people suspected another major terrorist attack.

“The demolishing of the Sport hotel can be described as a major mistake,” the head of the Center for Legal and Psychological Aid in Extreme Situations, Mikhail Vinogradov, said in an interview with the Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily.

“The demolition of the Inturist and Moskva hotels in the city center were announced long before it took place. Those demolitions were conducted relatively calmly. Now they say they are going to dismantle the Rossiya hotel. And the Sport case was quite an insane one. The people who did not know about the demolition experienced fear, terror and psychological stress. I myself switched on the TV and saw how a hotel that I knew well was pierced by something from inside. I did not immediately understand what was going on. What I recalled were the ill-fated twin towers in New York. Can you imagine the feelings of someone who happened to be near and knew nothing about the demolition?” the expert said in the interview.

The Russian Nature Ministry also criticized the demolition of the Sport hotel as an act not sanctioned by the city ecology agencies.

Bombings have become all too common in Russia as the country wages a long war with Chechen separatists. The most devastating attacks took place in September 1999 when powerful blasts destroyed two apartment blocks in the capital killing 228 people.

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