How to bribe your way onto a Russian airplane for US $17

Randy Black sends this: 500 Rubles (less than $18) Clears the Path to the Airplane in Russia by Lyuba Pronina

People who privately sell and swap airline tickets -- like the person who helped two suspected suicide bombers board the planes that crashed almost simultaneously last month -- are still out in full force in airports, and a bribe of as little as 500 rubles ($17) can get anybody on board a domestic flight, according to aviation officials and media reports. "Everybody knows them and everybody loves them, including the police, because they bring in extra profits," an airline official said. "These are mostly former airport employees -- baggage handlers or porters. They know everyone in the airport." "Arutyunov is jobless but a former Domodedovo employee," the official said on condition of anonymity. "There are more like him who remain on the job." Armen Arutyunov is the man detained for helping two Chechen women get on board the Sibir Tu-154 to Sochi and the Volga-Aviaexpress Tu-134 to Volgograd on the evening of Aug. 24. Both planes exploded in midair at about 11 p.m. that night. Investigators found residue of explosives in the debris of both crashes, and suspicion has fallen on the two Chechen women, who boarded the flights at the last minute.  The identities of the women have not been established. They identified themselves as Satsita Dzhebirkhanova and Amanat Nagayeva, but were not using their own passports.

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last updated: October 23, 2004