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Analysis of the Threats and Consequences of Terrorist Acts in Urban Settings: Outline of a Protection System

Vladimir Z. Dvorkin*

Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of the

World Economy and International Relations

This report presents selected results of the project “Terrorism in a Megapolis: An Assessment of Threats and Levels of Protection,” which was completed in late 2002 by the Center for Political Research in Russia in cooperation with the Expert Innovation Center for Civil Defense and Emergency Situations and the National Anticrime and Antiterrorist Foundation.

The modern industrial infrastructure of highly developed states, in particular in megacities, includes many thousands of radioactive, chemical, and biological facilities and therefore presents a real opportunity for terrorists to inflict catastrophic damage even without using their own weapons of mass destruction, although their desire to obtain such weapons is clear.

The tragic events in New York City and Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2001, represented the end point in the process of realizing the threats from mass-scale terrorist acts, many dozens of which were committed in the last decade of the last century throughout the world. However, it is impossible to disagree with Senator Richard Lugar, who emphasized that regardless of how monstrous the September 11 tragedy was, the death, destruction, and panic were minimal compared with what would have resulted if weapons of mass destruction had been used.

This tragedy and the obvious threats of variations on it have added powerful impetus to efforts to strengthen cooperation in the world community in all areas related to combating international terrorism, including the military operation in Afghanistan, exchanges of intelligence information, the blocking of illegal fi-

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Translated from the Russian by Kelly Robbins.



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