Cui Bono? Putin. The alleged actions of the Tsarnaev brothers are a massive setback to the cause of Chechen nationalism. The Russian government have been trying for a decade to conflate the repression of Chechen nationalism with the western construct of “the global war on terror”, with very limited diplomatic success. Now expect to hear continually about “Al Qaeda in the Southern Caucasus” in the next few years. Events in Boston have been a massive diplomatic coup for Putin.
In the late 1830’s, Palmerston launched a (disastrous) secret service operation to ship weapons to anti-Russian rebels in modern Chechnya and Dagestan. This was contributory to the tensions that caused the First Anglo-Afghan War, and will feature in my forthcoming biography of Alexander Burnes. For almost two hundred years now there has been covert Western encouragement of anti-Russian movements in the Caucasus – which is not to say that the West was involved in or encouraged the urban terrorist wing of the Chechen nationalist movement in modern times. But links between Chechen nationalists and the US government have been maintained, and there is no support whatsoever among any significant Chechen nationalist leadership for the Boston bombings.
I cannot recommend too highly “Darkness at Dawn” by David Satter, a book which is crucial to an understanding of a key part of the modern world. Satter sets out an extremely strong case, from eyewitness interviews at the time, that The “Chechen” apartment bombings which paid such a crucial part in building the cult of Putin, were false flag – something which the British Embassy in Moscow also strongly inclined to believe. There is a history of false Chechen bombings being very helpful to Putin. These bombings are very helpful to Putin.
It is perfectly possible that this is not relevant at all, and the Tsarnaev brothers became radicalised in the United States by real, and non-Chechen related, terrorists, or simply auto-radicalised. But presuming the Tsarnaevs really did plant these bombs, just who was ultimately pulling the strings and why may be an extremely complex question – and one to which young Dzokhar Tsarnaev is most unlikely to know the real answer.