Strange scenes: the Moscow concert hall attack (SPR)

Published: March 25, 2024
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A preliminary analysis of the March 22 Moscow concert hall attack.


Please note: Swiss Policy Research (SPR) is an academic open-source research group without any links to any intelligence services or any other “insider knowledge”.



On 22 March at 16:00 UCT, Swiss Policy Research published a post titled “Staged Terror on March 22”. The post discussed the 22 March 2016 “Brussels bombings” and the 22 March 2017 “London Westminster attack”, both of which have been exposed as staged events run by Western security services. In both cases, the “ISIS” terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Just one hour later, at 17:00 UCT or 20:00 Moscow time, a major attack on the Crocus City Hall in Moscow was reported. The Afghanistan-based “ISIS-KP” group claimed responsibility for the attack, but Russian authorities attributed it to Tajik militants hired and paid by Ukraine.

Naturally, the question arises if the Moscow concert hall attack, too, may have been a staged event. Given the many precedents, not asking this question, or rejecting it out of hand, would be just as unprofessional as simply asserting that the attack was indeed staged.

As a matter of fact, staging terrorist attacks and plane crashes with entire school classes, including subsequent state funerals, was already feasible in the 1960s, as documents pertaining to “Operation Northwoods” show. Moreover, even events with thousands of alleged victims, such as the “Timisoara massacre” in 1989 and the “Srebrenica genocide” in 1995, were already fabricated.

Putin and false-flag terrorism

Former Soviet KGB officer (1975 to 1990) and FSB Russian intelligence director (July 1998 to August 1999), Vladimir Putin, is no stranger to false-flag terrorism. Already in September 1999, for instance, the infamous Moscow apartment bombings occurred.

Russian authorities blamed the bombings on Chechen militants, but they were later exposed as FSB false-flag operations. As newly appointed Prime Minister, Putin leveraged these false-flag bombings right away to escalate the Second Chechen War.

The masterminds behind some other events of that era, such as the Moscow theater hostage crisis in October 2002, remain unclear, with some independent investigators and political opposition figures also suspecting the involvement of Russian security services.

15 years later, during the Syria War, the Saint Petersburg Metro bombing occurred in April 2017. Western sources attributed the attack to the Russian government, “ISIS” or “Al Qaeda”, but video evidence suggested a possibly staged event run by Russian security services, similar to the staged “Brussels metro bombing” claimed by “ISIS” one year before.

In fact, both “Al Qaeda” and “ISIS” have been exposed as synthetic terrorist groups controlled by Western and Israeli intelligence services, and most terrorist attacks in Western countries attributed to these groups turned out to have been state-run or staged false-flag operations.

During the Syria War, ISIS was supplied via Nato member Turkey and Nato allies Jordan and Israel; in turn, ISIS exported its oil via the Turkish Ceyhan terminal to world markets.

Finally, there is substantial evidence that Russian security forces staged several “Ukrainian provocations” in the days prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. These events were intended to suggest Ukrainian attacks not only on the Donbas, but on Russia itself.

Video evidence

The currently available video evidence of the Moscow concert hall attack – about 50 video clips – is consistent with, or even suggestive of, a staged event run by Russian security forces. Key snapshots and links to the original video clips are provided in the annex below.

To begin with, and contrary to widespread belief, the available high-quality and standard-quality video clips do not show a single execution by gunfire or other means.

In fact, all of the videos that appear to show murderous action are of low or blurry quality, well below current cell phone camera standards, even if shot in 720p or 1080p HD resolution.

This technique of low or lowered video quality is often used in staged events, since even a single high-quality photograph can expose an entire staged operation, as happened with the staged “Boston Marathon bombing” and the staged “Kenya shopping mall attack” in 2013.

Moreover, some of the “amateur videos” appear to show unexplained mid-sequence cuts, which might be indicative of post-production editing often used in staged events.

In addition, the appearance and posture of several apparently dead bodies is suggestive of the use of photo-realistic simulation bodies or manikins (i.e. dummies), which have been used in many previous staged events, such as in Los Angeles (2013), Brussels (2016), Kenya (2013), or Syria (2013).

In other cases, people apparently shot at close range appear to remain not only alive but unharmed; in yet other cases, people apparently long dead still move their arms or legs or keep them elevated.

Some of the guns used by the attackers produce a bizarre, movie-like “sparking effect” instead of a standard muzzle flash, although this might theoretically be due to a damaged muzzle.

The alleged “decapitation video” (18+), supposedly released by a media channel linked to “ISIS”, does not show a decapitation at all. Instead, it shows a supposedly shot man lying on the floor in a fixed posture that is physiologically difficult to explain and suggestive of a simulation body: the legs and feet are flexed upwards while the buttocks and hands are in the air.

One of the attackers then approaches the man and apparently cuts several times into his throat with a knife. Although available in full HD resolution, the video of this incident is again of remarkably low and blurry quality so that no details can be discerned (see images below). The blood that is visible on the floor is consistent with or suggestive of stage blood used in staged beheadings.

Just like the guns, the knife used by the assailant produces a strange and unusual “sparking effect”. The man on the floor, who appears to have been dead or unconscious already and whose entire lower body is not visible in this scene, then suddenly rolls to his left and appears to move his arm, which again is very difficult to explain physiologically.

About ten seconds later in the 80-second video clip, the slain man can briefly be seen in the background. Surprisingly, he is again lying on his back and his legs, which he previously stretched out, are flexed again. This, too, is suggestive of a simulation body and video editing effects.

Available videos of the aftermath of the attack show covered and uncovered bodies on the floor, but none of the bodies can be seen up close in high resolution, and the posture of some of the bodies is suggestive of manikins (e.g. flexed and elevated knees or hands).

In addition, it remains unexplained how the entire and quite large building was engulfed in flames and ultimately collapsed, as there is no footage of the attackers engaging in large-scale arson. At any rate, during the staged 2013 Kenya shopping mall attack or the staged 2016 Brussels airport bombing, the buildings were also partly destroyed.

During the capture of one of the Moscow attackers near the Ukrainian border, a Russian security officer supposedly severed one of his ears and tried to put it into his mouth. Aside from the fact that this is a rather brutish and bizarre behavior, the 25-second video clip (18+) currently available on some Telegram channels does not show the “severing” of the ear.

In staged events, the supposed attackers can be played by role players, patsies, or entrapped individuals. In the case of the staged 2013 “Boston Marathon bombing”, for instance, one of the official perpetrators was supposedly killed (but the “leaked” mortuary photo was staged), while the official trial of his captured brother has been ongoing for more than a decade.

In sum, the currently available video evidence is consistent with, or even suggestive of, a staged event run by Russian security forces. However, additional footage, especially footage in higher quality, could still change this preliminary assessment.

Possible motivations

Russian authorities stated that the Moscow concert hall attack was perpetrated by Tajik militants who were hired and paid by Ukrainian intelligence. Thus, if Russian security forces staged (or orchestrated) the attack themselves, the motivation obviously was to blame it on Ukraine and use it as a pretext to escalate the stalling Russian war in Ukraine.

This would be very similar to how the false-flag 1999 Moscow apartment bombings (which may have been real or staged) were used by then-Prime Minister Putin to escalate the Chechen War.

Such a scenario would also explain why the supposed attackers apparently fled towards Ukraine, despite the fact that trying to cross the Russian-controlled border into Ukraine would not make much sense from the perspective of real assailants or their Ukrainian sponsors.

The Western sponsors of Ukraine, notably the United States and Britain, cannot expose a potential Russian false-flag or staged operation because they themselves routinely use staged terrorist attacks to justify wars and other actions. These Western (and Israeli) false-flag operations, in turn, have never been exposed by Russian intelligence services. In some cases, Russia even participated in the official narrative.

Rather, Western intelligence services could only try to direct the blame away from Ukraine and onto the synthetic “ISIS” terrorist group controlled by Western intelligence services themselves. This would explain why the US in early March issued a “warning” of a potential terrorist attack in Moscow and why “ISIS” reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack.

Intriguingly, in the photos released by the “ISIS-linked” Amaq News Agency, the alleged perpetrators used the finger on their left hand to do the “Shahada” Islamic oath, which is strictly forbidden in Islam. Moreover, Amaq blurred their faces and never mentioned their names.

Nevertheless, it remains unclear how Amaq could acquire and release the supposed “beheading video” apparently shot inside the Moscow concert hall. In this video, too, the faces of the assailants were blurred and the assailants did not refer to “ISIS” in any way.

In the past, many alleged “Al Qaeda” and “ISIS” videos, including the forged “Bin Laden videos”, were discovered and released by the Israeli-American SITE Intelligence Group. In a 2011 German court trial against members of a supposed “Al Qaeda” platform called “Global Islamic Media Front” (GIMF), it was revealed that SITE not only “discovered” these videos, but helped produce them.

Date of the attack and ownership of the concert hall

Some Russian analysts have claimed that the attack occurred on the day of the Jewish Purim festival and that the owner of the Crocus City Hall is a Jewish oligarch. Both claims are incorrect.

Nevertheless, the question is important because Israeli or rather “Zionist” operatives and advisers play a leading role in state-run and staged false-flag terrorism, likely due to their preeminent role in Hollywood and their decades-long battle against Palestinian and Arab militant groups. Several Mossad whistleblowers have revealed the use of such Israeli “black operations”.

An early example of an Israeli false-flag terrorist operation is the failed and exposed 1954 Operation Susannah, in which Jewish-Arab operatives prepared false-flag bombings in Cairo. Another classic example is the 1967 USS Liberty incident, when unmarked Israeli aircraft attacked a US intelligence ship to provide a pretext for a US entry into the Six Day War against Egypt.

During the staged 2013 Kenya shopping mall attack, Israeli advisers were on site and the shopping mall itself was indeed owned by Australian-Israeli billionaire Frank Lowy. Back in June 2001, three months before 9/11, Frank Lowy and Larry Silverstein famously acquired the lease of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. In 2017, Lowy was knighted by the British Queen.

It is true that the number “22” has often shown up in staged terrorist attacks. Examples include the Oslo attack on 22 July 2011, the “Brussels bombings” on 22 March 2016, the “Westminister attack” on 22 March 2017, or of course the “Manchester Arena bombing” on 22 May 2017, in which a 22-year-old “suicide bomber” allegedly killed 22 people after 22 Ariana Grande songs. The use of such numbers in staged events may be an inside joke or a coded message by the directors.

The Moscow concert hall attack also occurred on a March 22, which might be a further indication of a staged event. But March 22 wasn’t the date of the Jewish Purim festival, which in 2024 was on March 23 and 24. Thus, the Moscow attack occurred on the eve of the Purim festival.

The owner of the Crocus City Hall is Azerbaijani billionaire Aras Agalarov. Agalarov is not Jewish, but his wife, Irina Agalarova (born Irina Iosifovna Gril), is Jewish. The Jewish Forward claimed that their son, Emin Agalarov, identifies as Jewish, but other sources disagree. Until 2015, Emin Agalarov was married to the daughter of Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev.

In 2013, Aras Agalarov hosted Donald Trump’s “Miss Universe” contest in the Crocus City Hall in Moscow and, in the same year, received the Russian “Order of Honor” from President Putin. In 2016, Emin Agalarov asked his American-Jewish music producer, Rob Goldstone, to organize the notorious “Trump Tower meeting” that played a role in the “Russiagate” deception.

Thus, in terms of the date and the concert hall ownership, there might be an indirect “Zionist connection”, but it is certainly not as compelling as in some other staged terrorist attacks. In contrast, the owner of the Crocus City Hall is certainly linked to President Putin, and the date of the attack, March 22, may be suggestive of a simulated terrorist attack.

Preliminary conclusions

In conclusion, the currently available video evidence and some additional evidence concerning the March 22 Moscow concert hall attack is consistent with and possibly suggestive of a staged event run by Russian security forces in order to escalate the Ukraine War. Additional evidence may either confirm or refute this preliminary assessment.


You have been reading:
The Moscow Concert Hall Attack May Have Been A Staged Event
A preliminary analysis by Swiss Policy Research


Video clips of the event (18+)

Key video snapshots (18+)

The following images show some of the key video snapshots of the Moscow concert hall attack. All of the images use the highest resolution currently available to the authors of this analysis. Most images have been enlarged, some have been brightened. (18+)

Photorealistic simulation bodies (18+)

A photorealistic manikin used during the staged 2013 Kenya shopping mall attack. Right-click on the images to enlarge them. Sourcesvideo analysis and newspaper article.

Video: Shooting survivers (18+)

A group of people apparently surviving close-range gunfire unharmed (zoomed in) (Source)

SPR Media Archive

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