Fifteen people died and forty-five more were injured when a man took a briefcase with a bomb inside to the St. Petersburg Metro on April 3rd of this year. A twenty-two-year-old man born in Kyrgyzstan and with ties to ISIS has been identified as the likely planner of the attack. Now, Russian intelligence officials have disclosed that the terror cell responsible for carryout out the bombing communicated with each other via Telegram Messenger service.
Telegram is a Russian messenger app that was started in 2013 and today claims 40 million users, 6 million of which are in Russia. The app is popular, in part, for a high level of encryption on its messages. Other governments, such as France, have also claimed that groups plotting and executing terror attacks have kept in contact via Telegram.
The Russian government has requested that Telegram deliver its encryption technology so the government can monitor messages, which Telegram has refused.
Telegram has been called “the app of choice” for ISIS and other jihadi-inspired groups. Officials in the United States had also criticized Telegram for not doing more to block radical groups from the app. Telegram’s founder, Pavel Durov, has disagreed and pointed to the numerous groups that the messenging service had shut down after discovering them. Durov has been living on the island of St. Kitts and Nevis, a Carribean island, since 2014.