The recent Boston Marathon bombings were devastating, and left many searching for answers. Pickett Professor of military history for Kansas State University, Dr. David Stone, gave a presentation Thursday evening on Chechnya’s violent history and how it may have influenced the bombing suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
“It’s very difficult to say, without knowing a lot more specifically; and so what I’m suggesting is a general picture without necessarily saying this is exactly what happened to these two guys. But I think it is fair to say that the Chechen cause, over time, has become more radical, more interested in violent interpretations of Islam, less about traditional Islam in Chechnya, which is much more tolerant, and so there may be a link. It’s a little early to say, but there might be a link between the radicalization of the Chechen cause, and what we saw from these two young men in Boston,” said Dr. Stone.
Nearly two decades of war between Chechnya and Russia ended in early 2009. The war-torn republic is rebuilding and is relatively stable under the leadership of President, Ramzan Kadyrov.
“Chechnya itself is quite calm. The Russian Government has been able to find Chechens it can work with. It’s providing an awful lot of money to keep the population there relatively satisfied; and it’s giving a free hand to the President of Chechnya now, Ramzan Kadyrov, in order to let him maintain order. The Russian Government doesn’t have to because Kadyrov is doing the dirty work for them. He’s doing quite effective job of keeping people in line,” said Stone.
Ramzan Kadyrov has publicly expressed sadness for the bombing victims and has denied any link between Chechnya and the bombings. Kadyrov has even suggested that the Tsarnaev brothers formed their beliefs during their time in the United States.
“…He (Kadyrov) is in power in Chechnya essentially to keep things quiet for the Russians; and so he does not want anything that looks like instability or recurrence of this level of violence that they had before. So it’s very much in his interest to treat what happened in Boston as having nothing to do with him, nothing to do with Chechnya, that what happened to these two young men happened to them in America, not back in Chechnya,” said Stone.