As previously covered by Examiner.com on April 19, 2013, the Associated Press was the first news agency to report that the terrorists sought by police for the Patriot’s Day Attack in Boston were from the Russian region of Chechnya.
With the revelation of the Tsarnaev brothers’ ethnicity, the vast majority of Americans found a new and unfamiliar word had just been hammered into the nation’s lexicon: Chechnya.
As unfamiliar to the average American in 2013 as Viet-Nam was in 1964, Chechnya’s level of bloodshed in its recent Islamist-fueled insurgency against the Russian government has been rivaled only by the sheer brutality and disregard for even the basics of human decency.
A Brief History…
Armed insurgency of varying degrees against Moscow have been taking place for decades, but with the fall of the Soviet Union, the on-again, off-again rebellion degraded into total war.
As cited by the Council on Foreign Relations, the main separatist factions are firmly grounded in Islamic fundamentalist Sharia’a Law.
Heavily funded by benefactors on the Arabian Peninsula with links to al-Qaeda, the following Chechen factions have all been designated by the U.S. State Department as terrorist organizations:
- The Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade.
- The Special Purpose Islamic Regiment.
- The Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs.
It has been widely understood within counter-terrorist circles that Chechen jihadists have been active in violent acts against American and other allied forces in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Examples of Chechen terrorist attacks within Russia include:
- An August 1999 bombing of a shopping arcade and a September 1999 bombing of an apartment building in Moscow that killed sixty-four people.
- Two bombings in September 1999 in the Russian republic of Dagestan and southern Russian city of Volgodonsk. Controversy still surrounds whether these attacks were conclusively linked to Chechens.
- A bomb blast that killed at least forty-one people, including seventeen children, during a military parade in the southwestern town of Kaspiisk in May 2002. Russia blamed the attack on Chechen terrorists.
- The October 2002 seizure of Moscow’s Dubrovka Theater, where approximately seven hundred people were attending a performance. Russian Special Forces launched a rescue operation, but the opium-derived gas they used to disable the hostage-takers killed more than 120 hostages, as well as many of the terrorists. Basayev (the most wanted man in Russia at the time) took responsibility for organizing the attack, and three Chechen-affiliated groups are thought to have been involved.
- A December 2002 dual suicide bombing that attacked the headquarters of Chechnya’s Russian-backed government in Grozny. Russian officials claim that international terrorists helped local Chechens mount the assault, which killed eighty-three people.
- A three-day attack on Ingushetia in June 2004, which killed almost one hundred people and injured another 120.
- Street fighting in October 2005 that killed at least eighty-five people. The fighting was in the south Russian city of Nalchik after Chechen rebels assaulted government buildings, telecommunications facilities, and the airport.
- An attack on the Nevsky Express, used by members of the business and political elite, in November 2009 killed twenty-seven people.
- In March 2010, two female suicide bombers detonated bombs in a Moscow metro station located near the headquarters of the security services, killing thirty-nine people. Islamist Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for the bombing; he had also claimed responsibility for the derailment of the Nevsky Express.
- Two days after the metro station bombing in March 2010, two bombs exploded in the town of Kizlyar, in Russia’s North Caucasus, killing at least twelve people.
New Russian Saint…
A particularly vicious example of Chechen-jihadist conduct involves the recently canonized saint on the Russian Orthodox Church, St. Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Rodionov.
Private Rodionov was captured in 1996 by Chechen Muslim guerillas and endured over 100 days of starvation, beatings and torture. When finally given the option of mercy if he converted to Islam, and only if he proved it by removing the Orthodox Crucifix given by his late grandfather, the Army private refused. Rodionov was executed on his 19th birthday, his head slowly severed with a rusted saw.
Yevgeny Rodionov was declared a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2002.