When Russia's FSB wants to score a more-than-routine propaganda point or two, it generally tries to arrange a "Baltic" connection to some negative event on Russian territory. The latest example of this can be seen in yesterday's carefully orchestrated attack in downtown Nazran, Ingushetia, which none the less killed two police officers, and probably scared the large crowds of shoppers at the city's market. A car with what appeared to be Lithuanian numberplates was conveniently parked at the site of the shooting, beside an armoured police vehicle. Then the car sped off, removing the shooters to safety.
For years, Russia's security forces have attempted to create a link not only in the Russian public's mind, but also in that of the international community, between the the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia (detested by the "law enforcers") and the events that take place in the North Caucasus - the most memorable being the tales about the "White Pantyhose Brigade", "supplemented by jokes and the recollections of eye-witnesses, even more funny than jokes. In these recollections, legends and myths, the slender blondes from Lithuanian villages had come to Chechnya to avenge themselves for the misdeeds of Molotov and Ribbentrop hitting our soldiers and imagination from sniper rifles," as Ilya Milstein wrote in the New Times a few years ago.
At first, the obviously manufactured, artificial nature of the violent events in Ingushetia this year made some observers wonder just who the forces behind these actions were. On the basis of the foregoing, it's becoming increasingly evident who they are.