Saturday, May 04, 2013

U.S.- Russia Relations After Boston

In Novoye Vremya, three Russian political analysts are asked how the events surrounding the Tsarnaev brothers will affect Russia-U.S. relations [my tr.]:

Vyacheslav Nikonov, President of the "Politika" Foundation:

They will have a bad effect.  When I saw the reports  about Boston, I immediately thought that a "Chechen trace" would definitely be found.  It’s not for nothing that  Kadyrov was included on the "Magnitsky list" .

Igor Bunin, Director-General of the Center for Political Technologies:

The most significant thing is that  Russia immediately showed sympathy for the United States, and offered its moral support. I would draw  attention to the reaction of Putin, who immediately expressed his condolences and, having flown in [to Sochi] for a  U.S- Russia hockey tournament, organized a minute of silence. This was reminiscent of the situation on September 11  2001, when  Putin was one of the first [leaders] to support the United States in the fight against terrorism. And now, making use of the same theme, he  is trying to repair relations with the United States. Back then, however, the U.S. was able to provide real assistance in connection with  the Afghan "Northern Alliance"... with which our FSB had close ties ...

This time an offer of  assistance is more difficult, as it’s unclear how it should be expressed. Most probably, the suspects are linked to "Al-Qaeda". But the fact that they came from the Russian hinterland has almost no significance. For example. Osama bin Laden, the world’s biggest terrorist, came from Saudi Arabia, but the U.S. did not then sever relations with Saudi Arabia.

Dmitry Trenin, Director of the Carnegie Moscow Center:

I don’t think relations between the U.S. and Russia will alter dramatically. In Russia there are very powerful circles that promote anti-Americanism. and in the United States there are those who deny the legitimacy of the current Russian government.

In America, the majority of public opinion doesn’t perceive what we call "Chechen and North Caucasus terrorism" as a problem of international terrorism. When people [in the West] talk about international terrorism, they’re referring to September 11, 2001 in New York, July 7, 2005 in London, March 11, 2004 in Madrid – they’re not talking about what has happened in Moscow and other Russian cities, such as the apartment bombings and subway terrorist attacks, they don’t see those as an international issue, but rather as a purely internal Russian one. The Russian leadership aims to see to it that that terrorists operating on Russian territory also qualify as international terrorists in the West.

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