Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Gas Attacks in St. Petersburg Stores Caused by Rivals

At least 66 Christmas shoppers (Russia celebrates Christmas on January 6th) were hospitalized and 78 others required medical attention after being poisoned by gas on December 26th at two home-improvement stores in St. Petersburg. Homemade devices containing capsules of a gas identified as mercaptan were planted in three "Maxidom" stores but only at two of the sites was the gas released. However, police discovered other suspicious boxes at two more stores in the chain located in other districts of St. Petersburg.

The gas bombs were first thought to be acts of terrorism created by Chechnyan separatists but now authorities are pointing to a "commercial dispute." An Interior Ministry official was quoted, "Competition is the most probable version of the incidents." Competition, huh? Oh, for the good old days when Soviet Communism prohibited capitalistic competition altogether. They didn't have gas bombs to bother consumers back then.

Of course, they didn't have home-improvement stores, Christmas shopping, or a press that was allowed to report bad news either.