Local Official Hurls Molotov Cocktails at Russian Military Recruitment Center

In this handout photo taken from video released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Thursday, May 25, 2023, a Russian army soldier fires a Fagot anti-tank missile system toward Ukrainian position at an undisclosed location. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP)
Russian Defense Ministry Press Service photo via AP

Police detained Zhanna Romanovskaya, a 55-year-old employee of the Architecture and Construction Ministry of the Russian city of Vladimir, on Wednesday for throwing firebombs at a military recruiting center.

Arson attacks against recruiting offices spiked after Russian leader Vladimir Putin launched his brutal attack on Ukraine in February 2022. Dozens of such attacks were reported in the first six months of the war, and the pace increased throughout last summer.

Many of the arson incidents involved individuals or small groups throwing Molotov cocktails at the recruiting offices, a hit-and-run tactic that often allowed them to avoid arrest. That approach did not pan out for Romanovskaya, who was immediately detained by police guarding the recruitment center she firebombed.

Local media in Vladimir, which is about 125 miles east of Moscow, said Romanovskaya was “wearing a camouflage suit” and carrying a “five-liter canister of gasoline and rags” when she was arrested. If she told the police anything about her motivations, it was not passed along to the media.

According to the independent Russian Free Press, Romanovskaya is (or was) the head of the finance department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Construction for the Vladimir region. She arrived at the enlistment office by car, jumped out, and threw three Molotov cocktails at the building, setting its gate on fire. The guards were able to extinguish the fire in addition to detaining the arsonist.


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