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The Boston Globe

Opinion

The Podium

Judge the bombing suspects — not the Chechen people

The terrorist attack in Boston has regrettably played into the hands of Russian propagandists in their long-running campaign of slander against the Chechen people. As soon as it became evident that the Tsarnaev brothers, suspected of carrying out the terrorist attacks, were ethnic Chechens, Russian and some Western media began looking for links to the armed underground in the North Caucasus, promoting the notion that “the Chechens have declared a war of terror on America.” There are, however, numerous circumstances that show how baseless these attempts to incriminate an entire nation are.

The US investigative services have revealed that the Russian intelligence agencies in 2011 asked the FBI to investigate Tamerlan, the elder of the Tsarnaev brothers, whom they suspected of being involved with the insurgency in the Northern Caucasus. The FBI made its checks and reported to its Russian counterparts that it had found no compromising evidence against him. They, in turn, asked the Russian Federal Security Bureau to forward more information about Tsarnaev – but their request was ignored. Later, in January 2012, Tamerlan Tsarnaev flew from the United States to Moscow and from there to Dagestan, where he stayed for some six months. He was even given a new Russian passport. Yet the Russian intelligence agencies, which a year before had shown such an interest in him, and which monitor the situation in the North Caucasus closely, neither detained nor questioned him. This nonchalant attitude on their part is one of many aspects of this case that is odd and inexplicable. In his address on the attacks on Boston, President Barack Obama also emphasizedthat there are many unanswered questions.

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