Syrian Crisis Undermines Moscow’s Control of the North Caucasus

Syria Map

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 5, 2013) The Syrian crisis, which gave Vladimir Putin a much-celebrated diplomatic victory, now threatens  Russia’s territorial integrity not because Russian citizens are among the combatants in Syria but because Moscow’s mishandling of the Circassian issue in the Middle East is radicalizing the Circassian republics of the North Caucasus. Circassian activists […]

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Bishop: ethnic Russians discriminated against in south Russia

Church Domes with Crosses file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – A senior Russian Orthodox bishop has claimed that Russian speakers “often suffer ethnic and religious discrimination” in regions in Russia’s North Caucasus where they are in the minority. “We are used to thinking that it is only smaller ethnic groups that need protection. That is not true. In many of the republics (of Russia), Russians […]

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Russia’s Female Suicide Bombers: Well-Organized and Hard to Stop

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

MOSCOW, October 24 (Nabi Abdullaev, RIA Novosti) – Investigators say that moments after Naida Asiyalova, a wan 30-year-old from Russia’s violence-plagued republic of Dagestan, boarded a public bus one afternoon this week in the city of Volgograd, the bomb she was carrying exploded, claiming six lives. The apparent attack serves as another reminder of the grim effectiveness of female suicide […]

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Interfax: Foreigners worried about North Caucasus ‘had better look at themselves’ – Putin

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Sitting at Desk

(Interfax – Novo-Ogarevo, September 9, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin believes that it is necessary, while defending human rights and freedoms in the North Caucasus, not to ignore sweeping accusations of allegedly widespread violations of human rights in the region. “Attempts by foreign states to use the existing problems in the North Caucasus to the detriment of Russia should be […]

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Russia’s North Caucasus, Islamists seen as main terrorist threats – poll

Map of Chechnya and Environs

(Interfax – September 7, 2013) A majority of Russians (55 per cent) are confident, to greater or lesser extent, that the authorities are able to protect the public from new terrorist attacks, Russian Interfax news agency reported on 3 September, quoting the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM). (1) This answer has become more popular over the past three years […]

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Kadyrov denies Islamization of Chechnya

Ramzan Kadyrov file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 23, 2013) Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of Chechnya, said there is no Islamization in Chechnya, the people of the republic simply have deep respect for Islamic traditions and unity with Russia is a choice of the Chechen people. “We don’t have any Islamization. To our great regret, we have young women who go around naked, without […]

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No political will to find rights activist Estemirova’s real murderers – activists

File Photo of Flowers and Photo of Natalya Estemirova

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 15, 2013) Russian human rights activists do not believe the murder of Memorial center activist Natalya Estemirova in Grozny is being properly investigated and say there is no political will to find the actual murderers. “It is certain that there is no political will to solve this case,” Svetlana Gannushkina, the head of the Civil Assistance […]

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Politkovskaya Suspect Shot in Central Moscow

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – August 16, 2013) A defendant in the ongoing trial over the murder of prominent investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya was shot and wounded near Ulitsa 1905 Goda metro on Wednesday evening, his lawyer said. Dzhabrail Makhmudov, who along with his two Chechen brothers Rustam and Ibragim is accused of being involved in the […]

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Thirty Border Conflicts Simmering Among Russia’s Federal Subjects

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, August 8, 2013) At the present time, there are approximately 30 territorial disputes among Russia’s federal subjects, a situation that makes changing borders anywhere a such an extremely dangerous proposition  that one Moscow commentator calls these conflicts “a slow acting bomb under Russian sovereignty” as a whole. Indeed, Ruslan Gorevoy argues in […]

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Almost 60% of Russians assert tension in North Caucasus – poll

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, August 1, 2013) The majority of Russians continue to claim that tensions exist in the North Caucasus but their number is declining, Levada Center sociologists told Interfax. Nineteen percent of 1,601 respondents polled in 130 towns and cities in 45 regions in July argued that all was quiet in the North Caucasus and two percent even said […]

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Politkovskaya children to boycott ‘undignified trial’ of mother’s alleged killers

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 23, 2013) The trial of the alleged murderers of Russian investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya that is starting on Wednesday will be “patently illegitimate,” the journalist’s son and daughter said on Tuesday, refusing to attend the trial. “In our absence and that of our lawyers, the judge began to select jurors and approved the jury,” Ilya Politkovsky […]

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Investigative Committee denies Estemirova murder probe stalled

File Photo of Flowers and Photo of Natalya Estemirova

(Interfax – MOSCOW, July 15, 2013) Russia’s Investigative Committee has denied allegations that the investigation of the 2009 assassination of Chechen human rights activist Natalya Estemirova has stalled and reiterated that, contrary to what is claimed by rights defenders, it sees militant Akhazur Bashayev as the primary suspect in the case. Investigations into Estemirova’s murder “have never been suspended” and […]

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After Fatal Brawl, Russia’s Ethnic Tensions Hard to Cool

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, July 10, 2013) ­ Russian officials and community leaders tried Wednesday to cool interethnic tensions by calling for a liquor ban, evacuating “radical” youngsters and promising justice, after a stabbing death in a small town triggered days of angry protests demanding that residents from Russia’s war-scarred republic of Chechnya be kicked out. President Vladimir Putin’s regional […]

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Rights Council Members Shown a Transformed Chechnya

Map of Chechnya and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 11, 2013) During the Second Chechen War, witnesses described Chechnya’s Chernokozovo prison as a place where suspected Chechen rebels were tortured until their relatives paid a bribe sufficient for their release. Prisoners arriving at the facility were greeted with the phrase “Welcome to hell” and subsequently forced to undergo a series […]

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Beijing’s ‘Carrots and Sticks’ Keep Xinjiang from Being a ‘Chinese Chechnya,’ Russian Analyst Says

China Map

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 2, 2013) China’s massive investments in Xinjiang combined with its willingness to repress quickly any challenges to its rule there is keeping that still 50 percent Muslim region from become “a Chinese Chechnya,” according to a Russian analyst who has travelled there regularly since 1991. But that does not mean that […]

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Poll Shows Half Of Russians Don’t Oppose Chechen Split

Map of Chechnya and Environs

(RFE/RL – rferl.org –  Claire Bigg – July 2, 2013) Every other Russian citizen would not be opposed to Chechnya’s secession from Russia, according to a new poll by the Levada Center, Russia’s top independent polling agency. The study, conducted across Russia and published on July 1, shows that 24 percent of respondents would be “glad” if Chechnya were no […]

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One Russian in Eight No Longer Views Chechnya as Part of Russia, Poll Finds

Map of Chechnya and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, July 1, 2013) Twelve percent of Russians say Chechnya is already independent, 24 percent say they would welcome that outcome, and 27 percent more suggest they’d be indifferent to that development, while only 10 percent say they would back the use of force to prevent that step, according to the results of […]

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Russia Wants Tourism, Not Terrorism, for Embattled Caucasus

Map of Dagestan, Georgia and Environs

(Voice of America – James Brooke – June 6, 2013) A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors. Car bombs and shootings make Dagestan the leader in political […]

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Arrest of Makhachkala Mayor Seen as Sign of Changing Tide

Map of Dagestan, Georgia and Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – June 4, 2013) As the fallout from the arrest of the leader of Dagestan’s capital continued on Monday, experts agreed that the event would likely send tremors throughout all of Russia. Makhachkala Mayor Said Amirov, 59, was detained Saturday with the help of special forces sent by Moscow, who blocked all of […]

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Experts in Russia Say Moscow Should Heed Lessons from Wars in Syria, Libya and Yugoslavia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 101 – Valery Dzutsev – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – May 29, 2013) On April 26, the authoritative Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta hosted a roundtable of experts on the situation in Syria. Although almost all the experts, as usual, accused the United States and the West of fueling civil unrest in Syria now and […]

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Radicalization of Tsarnaev Brothers Likely Did Not Occur in Chechnya

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Eurasia Daily Monitor – Volume 10, Issue 88 – Mairbek Vatchagaev – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – May 9, 2013) The role of the brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the Boston bombings is assessed differently on either side of the Atlantic. In the United States, few doubt they are terrorists and that the youngest son, Dzhokhar, who remains alive, […]

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Tsarnaevs’ Story Reveals Web of Ethnic Ties and Tensions in CIS

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – May 8, 2013) When the parents of “Misha,” the enigmatic Ukrainian-Armenian convert to Islam who allegedly helped radicalize Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, moved to the United States in the 1990s, they likely could not have imagined that their son would eventually be accused of coaching a Muslim terrorist. Yury Allakhverdov, a […]

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Why Tamerlan Tsarnaev Is Outside of Chechen Mentality

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 83 – Mairbek Vatchagaev – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – May 2, 2013) Why did Tamerlan Tsarnaev­ – one of the alleged April 15 Boston Marathon bombers who died in a shoot-out with police on April 18 – ­not demand an end to the bloodshed in Dagestan, but was instead interested in what happened […]

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re: Jackson Diehl on Extremists; from: John Evans

File Photo of Boston Bombings Aftermath with Ambulance and Security Personnel

Subject: Jackson Diehl on Extremists From: John Evans <evansinusa@aol.com> Date: Thu, 2 May 2013 Jackson Diehl’s attempt to conflate the Chechen rebels with the Syrian rebels (“Extremists of Putin’s Own Making,” Washington Post op-ed, April 29, JRL #80) and then blame it all on the Russian President risks misleading readers into imagining that Russia, not Islamist extremism, is our current […]

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Boston Bomb Trail Leads Into Heart of Putin’s Own War on Terror

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov & Henry Meyer – May 1, 2013) Six blocks from the Caspian Sea, on Kotrova Street in central Makhachkala, sits a mosque being watched by undercover Russian agents charged with preventing acts of terror. As worshipers spill out into the streets, American investigators are watching now, too, as they try to reconstruct the events […]

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Tsarnaev Case Highlights Communication Breakdown Between Daghestani Agencies

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Liz Fuller – April 30, 2013) The Boston Marathon bombings have served to corroborate many observers’ previously unsubstantiated hunch that one reason for the Russian security services’ inability to contain the North Caucasus insurgency is that the various agencies responsible fail to share information among themselves. In this particular case, Daghestan’s Center for the Struggle Against […]

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Russian Security Services Offer Surprising Revelations About Boston Bombings

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 80 – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Valery Dzutsev – April 29, 2013) On April 27, the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta published an article on the dead Boston bomber suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, based on information it received from the Russian security services. It cited officers of the Dagestani Center for Combating Extremism who said […]

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Testimony on Russian-American Relations on the Question of Chechnya

File Photo of U.S. Capitol Dome

(Andranik Migranyan testimony – House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade – April 26, 2013 – http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/joint-subcommittee-hearing-islamist-extremism-chechnya-threat-us-homeland) Joint Subcommittee Hearing: Islamist Extremism in Chechnya: A Threat to the U.S. Homeland? Prepared Testimony of Andranik Migranyan  Director of the Institute for Democracy and Cooperation, New York U.S.-Russian relations on Chechnya have a […]

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Boston Bombers Reflect Specific Experiences of Some North Caucasians in Soviet and Post-Soviet Times, Moscow Analyst Says

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 29, 2013) The two brothers who carried out the horrific Boston bombing are not simply Muslims who were inspired by radical websites or Chechens who were continuing their struggle against Moscow by other means, as many in both Russia and the West have insisted, according to a Moscow analyst. Instead, Konstantin […]

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Tsarnaev did not contact Islamic radicals while visiting Dagestan in 2012 – official

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Interfax- Moscow/Makhachkala, April 24, 2013) Dagestani Interior Minister Abdurashid Magomedov has denied allegations that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the two men suspected of committing bomb attacks at the Boston Marathon, started practicing radical Islam during his stay in Dagestan in 2012. “According to our information, Tamerlan Tsarnaev did come to Dagestan in 2012 in order to have his Russian passport […]

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Reassessing the Caucasus after Boston explosion

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sergei Markedonov, special to RBTH – April 24, 2013) The bombing during the Boston Marathon brought Chechnya back to the attention of the West, but the public, the press and the politicians fail to realize the situation there has changed ­ and the threat is greater. Sergey Markedonov is a visiting research fellow […]

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Daghestani Insurgency Denies Any Role In Boston Bombings

File Photo of Boston Bombings Aftermath with Ambulance and Security Personnel

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Liz Fuller – April 22, 2013) The Daghestani wing of the North Caucasus insurgency has formally denied any role in the Boston Marathon bombings. In a brief statement posted on April 21 on the website vDagestan.com, its leaders stress that their primary enemy is Russia and they “are not engaged in military hostilities with the United […]

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Daghestan a Failed State and Must Be ‘Built Anew,’ Abdulatipov Says

Map of Dagestan, Georgia and Environs

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 24, 2013 – windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2013/04/window-on-eurasia-daghestan-failed.html) The government of Daghestan “has been completely destroyed and must be build anew with the participation of various political forces” including the formation of new political parties, according to Ramaan Abdulatipov, who is the current acting head of that North Caucasus republic. Confessing that the situation is […]

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The Boston Marathon Attack, the North Caucasus, and U.S.-Russian Relations

File Photo of Boston Bombings Aftermath with Ambulance and Security Personnel

(Center for American Progress – Cory Welt – April 22, 2013) Cory Welt is an Adjunct Fellow at the Center for American Progress and associate director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs –www.ieres.org. In the days following the dramatic manhunt in Boston for surviving terrorism suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, […]

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For Tsarnaev Brothers, Family Model Broke Down

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 23, 2013) As more details surfaced Monday regarding the complex family history of the Tsarnaev brothers, suspected of detonating deadly bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the traditions of Caucasian families became a focus of inquiry into why Tamerlan and Dzhokhar may have turned into terrorists. The Tsarnaev […]

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Is the Boston Attack a Ripple Effect of the Conflict in the North Caucasus?

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Eurasia Daily Monitor – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 10, Issue 75 – Valery Dzutsev – Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – April 22, 2013) The focus of the media on the suspected Boston bombers, the Tsarnaev brothers is fully justified, but understanding the wider context of the crime may be just as helpful (http://www.kavkaz-uzel.ru/articles/223152/). Whatever the brothers’ personal experience was, if […]

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Tsarnaev brothers have not visited Dagestan in past few years – Interior Ministry

Map of Dagestan, Georgia and Environs

(Interfax – MOSCOW – April 22, 2013) Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston terrorist attack, has not visited Dagestan in the past few years, the republic’s Interior Ministry, told Interfax. “Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar have not visited Dagestan in the past few years,” the ministry said. The ministry officials said they had learned about the Tsarnaev brothers […]

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The motivation of the Boston Bomber: The ethnic background of the Tsarnaev family must provide some clues to mass murder.

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(opendemocacy.net – Susan Richards – April 23, 2013) Susan Richards is a non-executive director and founder of openDemocracy. She has produced a number of feature films and written a prize-winning book, Epics of Everyday Life, about the lives of ordinary Russians in the transition from communism. Lost & Found in Russia, Encounters in the Deep Heartland, which covers the period […]

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Risks Seen as U.S. Media Spotlight North Caucasus

File Photo of Groznya, Looking out Through Hole in Damaged Building at City Landscape in Daylight

(RIA Novosti – Christopher Boian – WASHINGTON, April 22, 2013) A week ago, most Americans had never heard of the North Caucasus. But the region in southern Russia has abruptly filled TV screens in US homes after it became part of the Boston Marathon bombing story, and experts warn such speed reporting on a complex subject can distort as much […]

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Hunt for Boston Clues Reveals Tangled Caucasus Web

File Photo of Boston Bombings Aftermath with Ambulance and Security Personnel

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 22, 2013) The quest for answers to what possibly inspired Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev to plot two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon exposes the complex and convoluted history of the North Caucasus, which for centuries has instigated violence across Russia. The Boston bombings have shown how boiling […]

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No evidence of connection between Tsarnayev brothers and Doku Umarov – source

File Photo of Boston Bombings Aftermath with Ambulance and Security Personnel

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 21, 2013) Information about possible contacts between the Tsarnayev brothers – the suspected Boston bombers – with extremist grouping calling itself the Caucasus Emirate will be checked but so far there is no reliable evidence to that end, a source in Russian law enforcement has told Interfax. Earlier certain foreign media reported a possible connection between […]

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In Small Boston Diaspora, Echoes of Chechnya

File Photo of Boston Bombings Aftermath with Ambulance and Security Personnel

(RIA Novosti – Carl Schreck – NEEDHAM, Massachusetts, April 22, 2013) ­ Echoes of Chechnya are everywhere at this small suburban Boston homestead. Traditional ram’s wool hats hang on the walls; a computer monitor glows with the green of the Chechen flag; and the sapling of a medlar, an ancient fruit-bearing tree rare in America but common in the North […]

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More About Tsarnaev Brothers And Their Ancestral Homeland

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(RFE/RL – rferl.org  – April 19, 2013) Two ethnic Chechens, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, are suspected of having perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15 that killed three people and injured 170 others. As information accumulated — and confusion swirled — about them, RFE/RL Central Newsroom Director Jeremy Bransten sat down with Aslan Doukaev, director of RFE/RL’s North Caucasus […]

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Boston bombing suspects not known to Dagestani, Chechen security services

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Interfax – MOSCOW/GROZNY/MAKHACHKALA. April 19, 2013) Brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who are suspected of committing the Boston Marathon bomb attack, are not on the Chechen or Dagestani law enforcement agencies’ wanted lists. “The Tsarnaev brothers are not on our databases of those wanted,” the Dagestani Interior Ministry told Interfax. “We have one Tsarnaev, who did not pay an administrative […]

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For Boston Suspects, Was Chechnya’s Violent Past a Motive?

File Photo of Groznya, Looking out Through Hole in Damaged Building at City Landscape in Daylight

(RIA Novosti – Nabi Abdullaev – MOSCOW, April 19, 2013) ­ As investigators hunt for evidence about the Boston bombing suspects, some of their questions ­ like the American public’s ­ will focus on Russia’s restive North Caucasus, including the war-scarred republic of Chechnya, a region that has produced a number of violent militant groups, but none that has been […]

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Chechen Brothers Linked to Boston Bombings

File Photo of Boston Bombings Aftermath with Ambulance and Security Personnel

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko, Jonathan Earle and Ezekiel Pfeifer – April 19, 2013) U.S. authorities have linked two Chechen brothers to the Boston bombings that killed three people and injured more than 170 this week, U.S. media reported Friday. The Russian Foreign Ministry told The Moscow Times that it was aware of the reports and looking into […]

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Boston bombing suspect’s account tracked down to Russia’s VKontakte social network

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Interfax – April 19, 2013) Internet users have tracked down an account in the social network VKontakte which allegedly belongs to a Boston bombing suspect. Links to the page which Boston Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnayev ran in the network, have emerged on other social networks. There is a notice on Tsarnayev’s page saying that its host last visited it at […]

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Boston bombing suspects’ father: My kids were framed

Boston Bombings Suspects File Photo Adapted from FBI Image

(Interfax – MAKHACHKALA, April 19, 2013) An Interfax correspondent has managed to talk on the phone with a man introducing himself as Anzor, the father of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who are suspected of committing the Boston Marathon bomb attack on Monday. “I learned about the incident from TV. My opinion is: the special services have framed my children, because […]

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Chechen ‘Jihadist International’ emerges in Syria

Syria Map

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Mark Galeotti, special to RBTH – April 15, 2013) Mark Galeotti is Professor of Global Affairs at New York University. His blog, ‘In Moscow’s Shadows,’ can be read here: inmoscowsshadows.wordpress.com/ The result of the Syrian crisis is likely to affect Russia’s positions in the world and influence in the Middle East. At the […]

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Big Changes Afoot – But Only After Sochi

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 11, 2013) The number 303 stood Wednesday on a digital clock on Manezh Square that counts down the days to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and President Vladimir Putin is watching it closely as the government races to make the final preparations for the Games. But that clock may be counting down […]

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