News / Europe

Moscow Airport Bomber from Russia's Muslim South

Multimedia

Audio
James Brooke

Russian news agencies report that the suicide bomber at Moscow's airport was from Ingushetia, one of Russia's three so-called Green Republics, where Islamic extremists seek to impose Sharia law.

Citing security officials, Russian news agencies report that Magomed Yevloyev, 20, a resident of Ingushetia, set off the massive bomb that killed 36 people and wounded 168 at Moscow's busiest airport.

Russian security officials have not publicly released the identity of the suicide bomber. Russian reporters who visited Yevkoyev's home village reported that the young man had disappeared last August.  They said that last week security officials interviewed his parents, a school teacher and a retiree, and took DNA samples.

Alexander Bortnikov, the head of the Federal Security Service, said Thursday that tests of the bomber's remains showed that he was heavily drugged.  In a televised meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev, Bortnikov said: "A huge amount of highly potent narcotic and psychotropic substances in parts of the suicide bomber's body"

He added that police detained several suspects who have information about the airport bombing and a separate attempt to set off a bomb amidst crowds of revelers on Moscow's Red Square on New Year's Eve.

The Ingush connection came days after the Republic's President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov told visiting reporters that terrorism was down in the republic, part of Russia's predominantly Islamic Caucasus region.

The president, the victim of a car bombing 18 months ago, said that terror attacks were down in the republic. He cautioned that it was too early to claim victory.  He estimated that the number of active rebels in the republic had dwindled to 30.

Ingushetia's prosecutor Yuri Turigin agreed.  After reeling off statistics that indicated an improvement, he added that there was a significant drop in young men "going into the forest," as joining the insurgency is called here.

But in face of this cautious optimism, police on Thursday discovered a bomb making factory, only 10 kilometers from Ingushetia's highly guarded administrative center.

Also on Thursday, the Kremlin's top envoy to the Caucasus, Alexander Khloponin, warned that average age of young men joining the insurgency has dropped to 18. Easy recruits for extremism, these men graduate from high school and face the choice of fighting for a job in local economies where the unemployment rate is often 50 percent, or migrating to central Russia where police harassment of labor migrants from the Caucasus is common.

Slide show reflecting on the culture of Ingushetia Republic

Khloponin, sometimes called Moscow's viceroy for the Caucasus, estimated that there are now about 1,000 active rebels operating in a region about the size of Greece.

Hours after he spoke, armed men in one part of the Caucasus ambushed a police convoy, killed three policemen and freed a prisoner.  In a nearby region, gunmen invaded a café and shot four traffic policemen dead.

Tamerlan Akiev, head of the Memorial human rights office in Ingushetia, said that young people in the Caucasus are easy recruits for the violence.  Without jobs or marriage prospects, they fall prey to the call of creating an Islamic emirate under Sharia law.

To preempt the fundamentalists, Caucasus leaders are adopting increasingly austere rules.  On Thursday, Chechnya's mufti, or spiritual leader, called on women to wear modest dress in public.  He defined this as dressing where only the hands and face are visible.

With head scarves common and alcohol bans in place, a cultural divide is growing between Russia's Slavic Christian core and the 'Green Republics' on the nation's southern edge.

Last month, the Levada center conducted a nationwide poll of Russian public.  Taken before the January 24 airport bombing, the poll found that Chechen militants topped the United States and NATO as the top threat held by Russians.

Almost half of respondents supported the slogan "Russia for Russians," a code phrase for curbing labor migrants from the Islamic south.

In Ingushetia, Ramzan Ugurchiev worries that Russians are demonizing the Caucasus. As a leader of the republic's youth parliament, he fears that, in an election year, the Kremlin is letting Russia's nationalist genie out of the bottle.

He says that politicians are courting votes by blaming all of Russia's problems on the Caucasus. One year from now, when Russia's parliamentary and presidential elections are behind us, he says, it may be hard to bind together again Russia's Christian North and its Muslim South.

You May Like

Afghan Government: Taliban Leader Mullah Omar Died in 2013

President Ashraf Ghani's office confirms reclusive Taliban leader died in 2013, but Taliban itself claim Omar is still alive More

Erdogan in China Amid Tensions on Uighurs, Missile System

Turkey's president has criticized China's heavy-handed policies toward Uighurs in violence-plagued Xinjiang region, where China says it is fighting foreign-backed separatists More

Critics: China’s President Using Law to Tighten Grip on Power

President Xi, who has stressed importance of 'rule of law' and law-based governance, has exerted increasingly tighter grip over society since coming to office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponentsi
X
Henry Ridgwell
July 28, 2015 9:53 PM
A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video Special Olympics Athletes Meet International Friends

The Special Olympics are underway in Los Angeles, California, with athletes from 165 countries participating in an event that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to take part in an international competition. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that for athletes and their families, it's also an opportunity to make new friends in an international setting.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs