Sochi 2014: The Terror Threat and Russia’s Response
“The most daunting threat (to Sochi 2014) is suicide bombers,” Grigory Shvedov, chief editor of the Caucasian Knot, told The Associated Press. By Shvedov’s count 124 suicide attackers have struck Russia over the past 13 years.
While LBGT and other activist protests are planned for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, it is the threat of terrorist activity that looms greatest over the event which begins February 7th. Further to our baseline of Sochi 2014 threat intelligence, Analysis Intelligence highlights the following on-the-ground sources which regularly feed Recorded Future original information related to the terrorist threat:
– kavkaz-uzel.ru – the Caucasian Knot, an online news site that covers the Caucasus region in English and Russian. Established in 2001, it focuses on politics and human rights with a particular focus on freedom of the press.
– blogsochi.ru – Russian language blog which gained notoriety for its mid-January 2014 reporting on a potential suicide bomber within the Sochi city limits. Of note, according to the Moscow Times, Blogsochi has a contact in the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB).
Outside the Ring of Steel: Local language sources have been critical to understanding the Russian response, highlighting counterterrorist efforts undertaken in the Republic of Dagestan, a center of operations for the Caucasus Emirate’s Vilayat Dagestan. Our previous Sochi 2014 entry details the group, which seeks to establish an independent Islamic state in the North Caucasus. The below Recorded Future visualization highlights the uptick in security operations in Dagestan as Sochi 2014 approaches. Earlier today, Russian security forces killed Dzhamaldin Mirzayev, a militant who may have helped to train the two suicide bombers who struck the southern city of Volgograd.
Inside the Ring of Steel: Analysis Intelligence continues to monitor claims and perceptions of Russian security. Interestingly, local source vedomosti.ru has highlighted a fear that the overabundance of security personnel (estimates up to 100,000) in Sochi will leave the rest of the country vulnerable to an attack.
The below visualization tracks the growth in Russian security force estimates which in recent days have risen to 100,000 total security personnel (police, security agents and army troops). For reference, Sochi security forces (Operational Staff for the Olympics), fall under the jurisdiction of FSB deputy director Oleg Syromolotov.
Analysis Intelligence utilizes Recorded Future’s patented Temporal Analytics Engine, mining threat intelligence from the open web. We will continue to monitor Sochi 2014’s cyber and physical threats as they emerge.