Two Russian airliners flying from Moscow to cities in southern Russia crashed almost simultaneously on Aug. 24, killing all 89 on board. Police investigators have found no initial evidence of terrorism, but many experts suspect foul play. The disaster comes just days before presidential elections in Chechnya, where Russia is at war with separatist rebels, and follows an intensification of violence there that has killed dozens in recent days. Chechen groups have been responsible for several previous terrorist attacks in Russia, including the October, 2002, siege of a Moscow theater that left 129 hostages dead. The Aug. 29 poll will elect a successor to Chechnya's former President, Akhmad Kadyrov, who was assassinated in a bomb attack in May. The main rebel group denies responsibility for the crashes.
EDITED BY Edited by Christopher Power