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17 Aug, 2023 10:04

‘Citizens of the USSR’ arrested on Siberian bomb plot charge – FSB

Members of a group that denies Russia’s existence had planned a sabotage attack to stop draft notices from being sent out, the agency has said

Russian law enforcement agents have apprehended two members of a sect that believes that the Soviet Union still exists who were planning to blow up cell towers in the central part of the country, according to officials.

In a statement on Thursday, the Federal Security Service (FSB) said that Russian operatives prevented a “terrorist act” in the closed town of Zelenogorsk in Krasnoyarsk Region. It noted that the suspects were planning to destroy cell towers belonging to the Rostelecom and Transtelecom mobile operators in a bid to prevent draft notices from being sent out online.

Zelenogorsk, which is home to uranium enrichment facilities, is located some 150km east of Krasnoyarsk and can only be accessed with a special entry permit.

According to the FSB, the alleged culprits were in the process of purchasing TNT demolition slabs, as well as a detonator device, but were detained by Russian agents while receiving the delivery.

The agency also released a video showing operatives apprehending the suspects and a crate containing the alleged explosives. Agents were also seen examining several rifles, apparently found during the search. The FSB did not say whether or not the arms had been acquired legally.

Officials described the two suspects as supporters of a group called the ‘Citizens of the USSR’, which is outlawed in Russia. Founded in 2010, the conspiracy theory movement believes that the Soviet Union never really collapsed in 1991 and still exists as a sovereign state.

Members of the group do not recognize the Russian Federation, refuse to obey its laws, and often do not pay taxes or utility bills.

In the past, some members of the group have attempted to capitalize on widespread nostalgia for the Soviet era among older citizens by tricking them into donating large sums of money or signing over their apartments and other property to the scammers.