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Russia plans to cordon off airports

Scene Outside Moscow Airport at Night, After Terrorist Attack, with Rescue and Security Vehicles and Milling People and PersonnelRussia's airports are to get a new security cordon in response to the Jan. 24 suicide bombing at Domodedovo.

According to new laws drawn up in the aftermath of that deadly blast, the entire perimeter of airports will be fenced off, with public access possible only through a special check-point.

These entrances will have baggage scanners and guards on hand, and all visitors to the airport will be expected to produce identification and explain their business. Facilities for more extensive inspection and interrogation will be available at the checkpoints.

Passports ready

At present passports or photo ID are only needed for airline passengers as they complete the formalities before boarding their flights.

But after last month's attack, which was launched among the crowds waiting to meet new arrivals at Moscow's largest airport, the rules will be tightened.

Passports or driver's licenses will be required to enter airport buildings, and visitors using a driving permit will also have to supply details of their vehicle.

At major international airport there will also be control centres where CCTV footage from the checkpoints will be constantly monitored and can be instantly referred to the FSB, the interior ministry authorities and the federal service for transport supervision.

Little change

In many respects, though, the new regulations offer little difference from the theoretical workings of airports.

The entrances to all major airports already have baggage scanners and a police presence ­ but as the Domodedovo attack showed these are rarely put into use.

In the early 2000s flying out of Moscow inevitably involved a security check before getting near a check-in desk, but on the weekend prior to the bombing a Moscow News correspondent saw no evidence of searches at Sheremetyevo airport, on departure or arrival.

Lack of detail

The new proposals remain unclear about exactly when and how the rules will be introduced.

The government's latest ruling does not set a deadline to install new scanners and create the latest security checkpoints, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.

It is expected that further decrees from the relevant ministries will clarify this situation in due course.

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