News / Europe

Chechen Brothers Suspected in Boston Bombings Grew Up as Refugees

A combination of handout pictures released through the FBI website show the brother suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, Apr. 18, 2013.A combination of handout pictures released through the FBI website show the brother suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, Apr. 18, 2013.
x
A combination of handout pictures released through the FBI website show the brother suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, Apr. 18, 2013.
A combination of handout pictures released through the FBI website show the brother suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, Apr. 18, 2013.
James Brooke
Russian TV reported Friday that two ethnic Chechen brothers are suspects in terrorist bombings. But, for Russians, there was a new twist: the bombings were in Boston.

In recent years, ethnic Chechens were charged in bombings of the Moscow metro, a Moscow airport and a train from Moscow. But this time, Russian reporters fleshed out the biographies of two young Chechen men, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, suspected of attacks in the United States.

Chechnya Republic, RussiaChechnya Republic, Russia
x
Chechnya Republic, Russia
Chechnya Republic, Russia
In Dagestan, a traditionally Islamic republic bordering Chechnya, school principal Temirmagomed Davudov said the Tsarnaev family came to Dagestan in 2001 from the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan. During World War II, Stalin deported most of the population of Chechnya to Central Asia.

Davudov told reporters that the two brothers and their two sisters attended school for one year, in 2001, in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. Then, he said, the family emigrated - apparently first to Turkey, then to the United States.

Separate lives

Oliver Bullough, Caucasus editor for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting in London, said that Chechen refugee groups often live in isolation, maintaining their traditions.

"The Chechens in Turkey, I know - I have been to several of their refugee camps,” he said Friday. “They live in total separate lives, ruled by their own people. There is no connection, really, to wider Turkish society."

When the Tsarnaev family left the Caucasus in 2002, Chechnya was in the middle of its second war of secession in one decade.

Chechen officials told reporters Friday that there was no evidence the family ever lived in Chechnya.

Jihadist videos

Andrei Soldatov, a security expert in Moscow, said he was surprised that American security officials failed to pick up on the jihadist music and video clips posted on a public YouTube site maintained for the last year by Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older brother.

Soldatov said of the Chechen singer whose clips Tsarnaev posted:  "He is quite radical. His song are mostly about jihad. The second category is clips, or, you might say accounts, of operations carried out in Dagestan."

Angry comments are filling a Russian social network account, on Vkontakte, belonging to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of Boston.  He lists his languages and English, Russian and Chechen, and his main interests as: “Chechnya and everything connected with the Chechen Republic."

Bullough, a frequent traveler to Chechnya, said the main tension in Chechnya is with Russia, not with the United States.

Alienation, not extremism

"I don't think there is an intrinsic anti-Western feeling in Chechen society,” he said. “Again, I would say this much more about two young men and about their own personal problems than about something ingrained in society."

On Friday, Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, angrily dismissed any connection between his republic and the Tsarnaev brothers.

He posted on Instagram:  "Any attempts to draw a parallel between Chechnya and the Tsarnaevs, if they are guilty, are futile. They grew up in the U.S., and their views and beliefs were formed there. The roots of the evil should be looked for in America."

In Chechnya, Kadyrov has imposed a conservative rule closely based on Islamic sharia law. Occasionally, he has blamed the region’s ongoing insurgency on Israel and the United States.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid