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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Attacks in Moscow may change Russian policies in Chechnya

Two terror acts shook Russia on March 30 and 31. The first attack occurred when two bombs ripped through Moscow subway stations, killing 39, and the other consisted of a pair of suicide bombings at a police station in Dagestan that killed 12. Recently, Chechnya has been increasingly peaceful, but fighting has reached Dagestan and Ingushetia, where violent Islamist insurgencies are growing. BBC reports claim that poverty, unemployment, and the presence of the Russian military have motivated young men to join Islamic rebel groups.

Radical Chechen leader Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for the police station bombings hours after the Dagestan attacks in a short video on the Caucasus Emirate Web site.

Umarov in the five minute video said that the bombings were in retaliation to an attack on impoverished Ingush and Chechen civilians gathering wild garlic outside the Ingush village of Arshty on Feb. 11. According to Umarov, the Federal Security Service (FSB) (the successor of the KGB) commandos attacked the gatherers with knives.

Umarov went on in the video to promise that the attacks would continue. According to a report made by Democracy Now, a week prior to the incident Umarov said, “the zone of military operations will be extended to the territory of Russia.the war is coming to their cities.”

The attacks at a Dagestan police department targeted security forces and officers. As police and emergency services arrived at the scene of the first blast, a man disguised as a police officer detonated explosives that he was wearing.

The first explosion in the Moscow subway station occurred one day earlier as the train stood waiting for commuters underneath the main offices of the FSB. The next bombing took place about 40 minutes later and six stops away at Park Kultury as commuters were boarding.

In an interview with BBC, President Dmitri Medvedev stated that he did not rule out the possibility that the bombings in Dagestan could be linked to the same group responsible for the subway bombings.

The attacks have now forced the Russian government to re-evaluate Medvedev’s liberal approach to the Caucasus region. According to The New York Times, Medvedev has previously resorted to a type of soft power, focusing on easing poverty and joblessness – what he sees as the roots of unrest in the Caucusus. Now, however, Medvedev is leaning toward the methods of his mentor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

“Recently, we have had some successes in the fight against terrorism,” said Medvedev in a New York Times report. “We were able to take the heads off the most notorious gangsters. But apparently it was not enough. In any case, in due time we will find and punish them all.”

In an interview with The New York Times, Caucasus specialist at the Carnegie Moscow Center Aleksei V. Malashenko stated that if the attacks continue then, “it means a war against terrorism.”

Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science Robert Duncan expects that Russia will not wage a conventional war. Alluding to the struggles typically faced by governments attempting to stamp out insurgents and their leaders, Duncan said that the Russians are “facing the same kind of insurgent terrorists we are.

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