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Russia’s terrorist attacks reveal Putin regime’s weaknesses

Russia’s terrorist attacks reveal Putin regime’s weaknesses

When Vladimir Putin finally addressed Russia’s worst terrorist attack in 20 years, he ignored the failure of the Russian security state to prevent the attacks, despite clear warnings from the United States on March 7. However, the attack on the field resulted in at least death. There may be 133 people.

He also did not mention the Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack on the Crocus City concert and which Putin has repeatedly said was responsible. . In 2017, Putin declared victory over the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

In a five-minute radio address on Saturday, Putin said the four criminals had “moved to Ukraine”. They were arrested and “the Ukrainian side prepared a window for them to cross the country’s border.” He did not directly address Ukraine, denying any involvement, but called the Ukrainian government “Nazis,” a label he frequently writes about. label – clearly indicates that he blames Kiev.

But the gruesome videos of the attackers with automatic weapons coldly murdering innocent concertgoers and setting ablaze one of the Russian capital’s most popular entertainment venues smashed through Putin’s efforts to present Russia as strong, united and resilient.

The strike occurred just five days after his triumphant claim of a new six-year term in an election that was heavily controlled by the Kremlin and widely denounced abroad as failing to meet democratic standards. Putin used the election to assert huge public support for his policies.

Despite Putin’s rhetoric seeking to implicate Ukraine, analysts, former U.S. security officials and members of the Russian elite said the assault underscored the vulnerabilities of Putin’s wartime regime, which were also evident when Yevgeniy Prigozhin led his Wagner mercenaries in a brief mutiny aiming to oust top defense officials in June.

“The government has also revealed its weakness in key situations, such as during the Prigozhin rebellion,” said Andrei Kolesnikov, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Center for Russia and Eurasia. said. Although Prigozhin Ren stopped the attack, the loss was obvious. Then, as this weekend, Putin lay low for several hours before the incident was finally resolved. “In difficult times, Putin always disappears,” Kolesnikov said.

Just three days before the Saffron City attack, Putin dismissed US warnings of possible “open extortion” of terrorists, saying they are “trying to intimidate and make our lives unsafe.”

Russia’s terrorist attacks reveal Putin

But Putin Power With the president in control and the number of people willing to challenge him small, the Russian leader is unlikely to face criticism or consequences for failing to heed harsher warnings.

In the past, when Russia was subject to attacks, Putin accused the West of fighting terrorists, especially during the 2004 Beslan school siege that killed more than 330 people. He later claimed that the attack was planned by those who wanted to weaken Russia and aimed for its “destruction”.

Leaders in Russia will definitely try to do this this time because the situation is so good, analysts say. The Kremlin’s press secretary, Margarita Simonyan, director of the state broadcaster RT, claimed in a statement on Saturday that the warning indicating the participation of Americans in the preparations for the attack was made before the attack.

The rhetoric accusing Ukraine and the West of rallying as Putin tries to push his country into a long war will likely continue and could lead to more violence, former US officials and analysts say.

Others say the bloodshed dates back to an era Putin believes is long gone: his first two terms as president in the early 2000s, when Russia was subjected to a series of brutal killings that he later used to determine the heavy-handed response of soldiers and soldiers.

It was pointed out that there is a clear lack of security in Crocus City, a large entertainment and shopping center on the outskirts of Moscow, despite the warnings of the US government.

“Saffron City is a big place with many courts,” said a Moscow businessman, noting that the offices of the Moscow regional government are nearby. – Tight security should be provided and there should be a large number of police officers. –

  • There is no security role at large public events, – said the businessman, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation. “Almost the same thing happened at the Nord Ost fair 20 years ago and nothing has changed since then,” he said. He talked about the violence that occurred in 2002 after Chechen terrorists invaded a theater hall, killing more than 115 people. Moscow city center.

A Russian diplomat close to senior diplomats in Moscow made a similar assessment Friday night about Russia’s failure to prevent it. “We will actually be looking for Ukrainian fingerprints and maybe even the fingerprints of the Western security service,” said the researcher, who asked to remain anonymous because Putin’s government often retaliates against such critics. – but the investigation is likely to reveal a failure in our security services. –

Russian security services devote significant resources to tracking the movements of opponents of Putin’s regime, using facial recognition technology to track the movements of opponents of Putin’s government. Find and question people who participated in recent protests against Putin’s election or left flowers for opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who died in prison last month.

However, analysts said that the population maintains sufficient security against threats, that the country has been subjected to violence for many years, including two in 2019, or is recognized as the Islamic State, but attacks by known terrorists can no longer be accepted. important.

Earlier this month, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said it had foiled a planned attack by the Islamic State on a mosque in Moscow and had “removed” the terrorist group’s unknown number. Opposite the Kaluga region in the southwest of the city. Kazakhstan later confirmed that two civilians were killed in the attack.

Last year, TASS reported that the Russian FSB killed two Islamic State fighters who were planning to attack the Kaluga chemical plant. “Everywhere there is a feeling that we live in a police state that takes good care of all citizens,” Kolesnikov said. said. – People are now constantly stopped and checked at subway entrances. Security at the airport has been further tightened. … There is of course a question as to how exactly this happens. “

Others say Russia’s security lapses are the rule, not the exception.

Unless it’s a major public event like the Olympics or Putin is involved in Russia’s Guard – A former US military official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, said: “It’s always big “You really need to have a special intelligent system to deal with these threats, and they are focused elsewhere.” In the assessment made by US officials, there is “no reason for the Afghanistan-based Islamic State branch to take responsibility.” ” was stated to be absent.

However, Russian state media published videos of at least two people suspected of being involved in the attack. During the interrogation, the suspect was speaking Tajik, the language of Tajikistan, a Central Asian country bordering Afghanistan.

The US president stated that his aim was to find a way out and that the potential terrorist threat from Central Asia had become a blind spot for the Putin government. Political opposition in Russia and threats from Putin’s invasion of Ukraine include drone strikes and crossings. – border attack.

—They are not the main threat from ISIS, which includes many Central Asians,” said Douglas London, a former CIA director who specializes in attacks and Central Asia and is now an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Languages Service.- Thousands of Central Asians joined the Islamic State, many returning from Syria and Iraq after the loss of the caliphate. Many rose to very senior positions in the military, police or intelligence services of some Central Asian countries. London, “

The Central Asian segment of ISIS has always focused on Russia,” he added. – I don’t think the Russian intelligence services are surprised or surprised that there is a problem. It’s not high enough on their agenda. “


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