On August 31, 2004, a terrorist attack shattered the area near the Rizhskaya subway station in Moscow. The explosion was set off by a female suicide bomber and took the lives of 10 people, including the bomber and one of the explosion’s instigators, Nikolay Kipkeev, and left 50 people injured.
This terrorist attack followed two others on August 24, when two Russian domestic passenger airplanes crashed within minutes of each other after explosions were set off on board by two female Chechen terrorists.
The blast by the metro station entrance was so powerful that it knocked out the windows of the station’s hallway and a neighboring shopping center. Witnesses recalled bolts and other metal pieces scattered in the vicinity of the explosion site, which were probably incorporated into bombs; the sound of the explosion was deafening, as if a railway car had been thrown down from a high altitude.
The accidental death of Nikolay Kipkeev, one of the head terrorists, significantly simplified the investigation, which concluded that Kipkeev hadn’t intended to die, and was only present at the site as the suicide bomber’s supervisor. The woman must have detonated the bomb above ground since, afraid of the militia patrol at the entrance, she didn’t go down into the Metro. When identifying Kipkeev, the investigators discovered he belonged to the terrorist group “Muslim Society #3”, headed by one of the major terrorists, Achimez Gochyayev, who was suspected in the organization of the terrorist attacks in Moscow and Volgodonsk in 1999. The bomber herself was not identified, but analysis of the contact list in Kipkeev’s cell phone found at the scene enabled investigation to trace down his accomplices.
One of them, Maksim Panaryin, participated in the combat activities in Chechnya from 1999 until 2002, then gained residency in Russia to have no difficulty organizing terrorist attacks. After he was arrested, Panaryin confessed he was responsible for the Rizhskaya Metro station terrorist attack along with Nikolay Kipkeev. He also confessed to have been a part of the Avtozavodskaya Metro station explosion on February 6, 2004, which killed 41 people and left about 250 injured. He was also behind a series of other terrorist attacks in several cities across Russia.
Tambiy Hubiyev, detained in the spring of 2005, was Panaryin’s accomplice in the both Metro station blasts, but played a less-significant role in the operations. Investigators stated that Chechen militant leader Shamil Basaev was behind the bombings. He was subsequently killed in July 2006.
After a two-year investigation, in the February of 2007, Maksim Panaryin, Tambiy Hubiev, and their accomplice, Murat Shavayev – a former employee of the Ministry of Justice – were given life sentences. A 6 million ruble fine was also imposed on them to compensate for the moral damage. Only Hubyev made a confession; Panaryin admitted partial guilt, while Shavaev pleaded innocent.