Chechen leader on Boston suspects: 'Seek the roots of evil in America'

Chechnya's pro-Russian strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov has just posted a statement about the Boston marathon bombing suspects on Instagram, his social media outlet of choice. Here's the Google-translated version: 

The tragic events took place in Boston. The blast killed people. We have previously expressed their condolences to the people of the city and the people of America. Today, as reported by the media, while trying to arrest a Tsarnaea was killed. It would be logical if he was detained and investigated, found all the circumstances and the degree of his guilt. Apparently, the special services needed by all means to calm the result of society. Any attempt to make the connection between Chechnya and Tsarnaevys if they are guilty, [is] in vain. They grew up in the United States, their attitudes and beliefs were formed there. It is necessary to seek the roots of evil in America. From terrorism to fight the whole world. We know better than anyone else. We wish recovery to all the victims and share the feelings of sorrow Americans. # # Boston # bombing investigation

Meanwhile, Kavkaz Center, the propaganda and news site associated with the Islamist militant movement in the North Caucasus, has posted an item in Russian expressing skepticism about the guilt of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. 

Headlined, "Strange 'Terrorists,'" the article notes that the suspects are "as if to order" for the U.S. media to link the events in Boston to the violence in Chechnya, and reports that "experts" have suggested that the only evidence used by U.S. investigators was looking at photos of people wearing backpacks near the bombing.

Ramzan Kadyrov on Instagram


Inside the deadly Russian region the Tsarnaev family used to call home

As new details emerge about the two brothers suspected of carrying out the Boston Marathon bombings, we're learning that the Tsarnaev family briefly lived in Makhachkala, the capital of Russia's Dagestan region near Chechnya, before moving to the United States in 2002. The Associated Press says it's spoken to the suspects' father, who is in Makhachkala ("My son is a true angel," he declares). And here's the AP on the suspect who is still at large:

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's page on the Russian social networking site Vkontakte says he attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, graduating in 2011, the year he won the scholarship, which was celebrated with a reception at City Hall, according to a news release issued at the time. Before moving to the United States, he attended School No. 1 in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia's North Caucasus that has become an epicenter of the Islamic insurgency that spilled over from Chechnya. On the site, he describes himself as speaking Chechen as well as English and Russian. His world view is described as "Islam" and he says his personal goal is "career and money."

Back in 2011, Tom Parfitt wrote a fascinating dispatch for FP from the very city where Dzhokhar reportedly went to school. Here's what Parfitt had to say about the violence-plagued republic:

Speaking about what drives terrorism in this republic and across the rest of the North Caucasus, [former Russian President Dmitry] Medvedev identified "monstrous scales of corruption" as one of the chief causes. Dagestan is not just the most welcoming of the North Caucasus's troubled republics; it is also the most deadly. And the corruption that Medvedev pointed to is at the very heart of the violence that is destroying this self-contained, traditional society.

Dagestan's isolation has preserved customs of hospitality and honor that are common to all its 32 indigenous ethnic groups. Yet Dagestan has also been shielded from moderating outside influence, something that has made it vulnerable to religious fundamentalism. The republic has the deepest Islamic tradition in the region (Arab invaders were here in the seventh century A.D.), and when religious emissaries from the Middle East began to pour in after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, they found a fertile breeding ground for new recruits.

Conservative Salafis entering Dagestan came into confrontation with the Sufi "tariqats" (orders) that had dominated religious life here before the Bolsheviks. In the following two decades, a growing number of locals became Salafis -- known derogatively as Vakhkhabity (Wahhabis) in Russian -- and some joined the Islamist insurgency spreading out of Chechnya.

Dagestan has paid heavily for its involvement. The Caucasian Knot website recorded 378 insurgency-related deaths and 307 people wounded in the republic in 2010 (compared with Ingushetia with 134 deaths and 192 wounded, and Chechnya with 127 and 123). In Makhachkala, the militants -- operating from safe houses and mountain bases -- shoot and bomb the cars of police and officials. People calmly follow the plumes of smoke to take a look and film the scorched remains on their cell phones.

This terrorist war against Russian rule has been intensified by clumsy religious policy, persecution by Russian security services of suspected rebels and their families, ham-fisted economic plans that have kept many out of work, and -- as Medvedev said -- suffocating corruption.

The effect of graft is twofold. First, it feeds social discontent, as the gap widens between rich and poor. And secondly, it nurtures deeply criminalized Islamist guerrillas who rely on extortion and racketeering to keep their fight alive.

The article is worth reading in full here.