In the era of Vladimir Putin, fighting terrorism has become a top priority for the Russian government. It has proved to be a defining aspect of the Russian president's tough-guy persona — one of his most famous comments was that he would pursue Chechen terrorists everywhere, even in the “outhouse,” and “rub them out.”
But incidents like Monday's bombing in St. Petersburg remain a problem for Russia, where more than 3,500 people are estimated to have died in over 800 attacks since 1970. Here's a WorldViews list of some of the deadliest attacks.
December 2013 — Two suicide bombings a day apart targeted the public transport system in the city of Volgograd on Dec. 29 and 30. A total of 34 people were killed in the attacks on a train station and a trolley bus, including the perpetrators. The bombings, which came just two months after a suicide blast killed eight in Volgograd, occurred weeks before the start of the 2014 Winter Olympics, being held about 400 miles away in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.
January 2011 — A suicide bombing at Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Jan. 24 killed 37 people and wounded 172. The attack was claimed by Doku Umarov, a powerful Chechen warlord who runs an Islamist extremist group called the Caucasus Emirate movement.
March 2010 — Two suicide bombings on the Moscow subway killed more than 40 people on March 29. Russian officials called it “the deadliest and most sophisticated terrorist attack in the Russian capital in six years.” Notably, one of the stations targeted — the Lubyanka station — is just by the building that houses Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the KGB.
November 2009 — The high-speed rail link from Moscow to St. Petersburg was hit by a suicide bombing on Nov. 27, killing 28 and injuring 130. Ten men were imprisoned for their role in the attack, nine of whom were from the same family in the North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia. Umarov's Caucasus Emirate was reported to have ordered the attack.
October 2005 — Islamist militants launched attacks in the city of Nalchik, capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria republic near Chechnya, on Oct. 13. Buildings housing the Russian security forces were targeted by a large group of attackers, and more than 100 people were killed in the violence, including civilians.
September 2004 — One of the most infamous and shocking attacks in Russia's recent history began Sept. 1, when a few dozen militants raided a school in Beslan, in the province of North Ossetia, and took children, teachers and parents hostage. After a days-long standoff, Russian troops stormed the school, resulting in a bloodbath in which more than 300 people were killed, many of them children.
August 2004 — Twin suicide attacks on flights from Moscow's Domodedovo airport occurred Aug. 24. All 90 passengers on the flights were killed. The two female attackers were later found to have boarded the planes by bribing an airline agent with 1,000 rubles (about $34 at the time). Just days later, on Aug. 31, a suicide bomber killed 10 people on the Moscow subway.
May 2004 — A suicide attack at a stadium in Grozny, capital of Chechnya, killed 24 people on May 9. Among those killed was Akhmad Kadyrov, the Moscow-backed Chechen president and father of the current Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov.
February 2004 — A suicide bomber hit the Moscow subway during rush hour on Feb. 6, killing 41 people and wounding more than 100. The attack was later claimed by a little-known Chechen group.
October 2002 — Moscow's crowded Dubrovka Theater was seized by 40 to 50 militants on Oct. 23. Eventually, Russian forces pumped a chemical agent into the building's ventilation system to incapacitate the militants and start a rescue operation. In the end, at least 170 people died, including 130 of the nearly 1,000 hostages. Most appeared to have been died after inadequate medical care following the use of the gas.
September 1999 — Bombings of apartment buildings killed almost 300 people in Moscow, Buynaksk and Volgodonsk between Sept. 4 and 16. The attacks were blamed on Chechen separatists and eventually led to the second Chechen war, but some conspiracy theories link Russia's intelligence services to the attacks.
June 1995 — During the first Chechen war, Chechen fighters stormed a hospital in Budyonnovsk near the border with Russia, taking many civilians hostage (some estimates say that as many as 2,000 people were held) and threatening to kill them unless the war ended. Attempts by Russian forces to raid the hospital failed, and more than 100 people were killed before an agreement was reached and the militants were allowed to return to Chechnya.