Armenian Church in Russia Damaged By Blast

KRASNODAR (RFE/RL/Armenpress)–An explosion rocked the Armenian church in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar early on Friday–according to a local Armenian newspaper. Dikran Tavadian–editor of the "Yerkramas" newspaper–told RFE/RL on Monday that the blast was caused by an unknown explosive device and seriously damaged the church door. No one was hurt in what he called a "terrorist attack" aimed at further intimidating the Krasnodar Krai’s large Armenian community. Tavadian said local police–who arrived at the church five hours after the blast–refused to open a criminal case into the incident after concluding that it most probably resulted from an accidental explosion of a fire-cracker. "This was clearly a terrorist act because it is impossible to cause so much damage with a fire-cracker," he said. One of the attendants of the church–who refused to disclose his name–told the paper that the police initially tried to force the guard of the church to take blame–but he refused. Krasnodar has been the scene of a series of violent anti-Armenian incidents for much of this year–which local Armenian widely blame on the regional authorities led by Governor Aleksandr Tkachov. Visiting Yerevan with a top Kremlin official late last month–Tkachov assured President Robert Kocharian and other Armenian leaders that he has put an end to such attacks.

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