GRU Chechen specialist surprised at Boston attacks

Monday, April 22, 2013 7:10 PM
Last updated Tuesday, April 23, 2013 1:37 AM
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Craig Albert, a Georgia Regents University assistant professor, said he was both surprised and terrified to hear of Chechen links to last week’s violence in Boston.

“I was terrified that there would be a Chechen network inside the United States,” he said. “I was terrified because of the type of warrior the Chechen (terrorist) is. My second reaction was that there was no way it could be the Chechens because Chechens don’t attack Americans.”

Albert’s interest in Chech­nya goes back to his days as an undergraduate political science student at Augusta State University. That led him to become more familiar with Chechen culture as he completed his doctoral dissertation at the University of Connecticut in 2009.

When it was reported last week that Boston suspects Tamerlan and Dzohkhar Tsar­naev came from Chech­nya, Albert said, he started getting calls not only from Washington but also from major news media outlets, all asking the same questions: Who are the Chechens, and what they like?

“The average person on the street in Chechnya (is) known for this very distinct
hospitality,” he said. “Mor­al­i­ty and public manners are very important to Chechens.”
He said that Chechens with terrorist ties amount to less than 5 percent of the overall population and that only a handful commit acts of violence.

Albert said that while researching Chechnya’s conflict with Russia, he came across reports of Chechen civilians taking in wounded enemy soldiers and nursing them back to health. That is something, he said, characteristic of the majority of the Chechen Republic.

The professor said he had trouble believing the first reports that Chechens were involved in the violence in Watertown, Mass., because Chechens don’t typically attack Americans, though there have been some reports of Chechen jihadists engaging U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The jihadists are believed to be some of the world’s fiercest warriors, Albert said.

Religion, though not as revered as family ties, is becoming more of a factor in Chechen life, he said. Chechnya has experienced an influx of Sunni Muslims since the mid-1990s, which Albert attributes to an increase of radicalization.

“I’m starting to think (the Tsarnaev brothers) might have more ties to terrorist groups,” he said. “It’s clear that the older brother had gone to Russia in 2009 or 2010, and it appears that he might have gone to Chechnya during that time. If that’s the case, it’s likely that he made some Islamist connections.”

Albert said he believes Tamerlan Tsarnaev perhaps used the Chechen value of family unity to influence his younger brother.

“For all Chechens, family authority is important,” he said. “An older brother asking a younger brother to do something would have been very important to follow through with.”

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Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 04/22/13 - 08:27 pm
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Cub Reporter

Welcome to the Chronicle, Mr. Highfield. This sentence from your story leads one to the wrong conclusion:

Chechnya has experienced an influx of Sunni Muslims since the mid-1990s, which Albert attributes to an increase of radicalization.

The influx of Sunnis doesn't "attribute" to an increase of radicalization. Rather, the influx of Sunnis (presumably Arabs, though not explicitly stated in the story) causes the radicalization.

KSL
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KSL 04/22/13 - 09:16 pm
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So his extensive knowledge is

So his extensive knowledge is from study and research. Any extensive first hand, on the ground experience?

Young Fred
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Young Fred 04/22/13 - 10:47 pm
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"He said that Chechens with

"He said that Chechens with terrorist ties amount to less than 5 percent of the overall population "

5% of approx. 1.3 million is a fairly large number. Just saying.

jmo
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jmo 04/23/13 - 02:31 am
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If 5% of the population.....

of the United States had terrorist ties, we would be in a "heap" of trouble.

deestafford
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deestafford 04/23/13 - 04:24 am
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Correct me if I wrong but was it not in Chechnya that the

"peace loving religion" of Islamists execute over 100 school children? Just askin'.

ReleehwEoj
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ReleehwEoj 04/23/13 - 06:35 am
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Huh ? ! ?

"He said that Chechens with terrorist ties amount to less than 5 percent of the overall population"

If Mr. Albert did say this, I wonder if he grasps how big a deal it is that(.049 X ~1.26M =) ~620K people in Chechnya have terrorist ties. If the reporter misquoted him, Mr. Albert should ask for a retraction.

Dudeness
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Dudeness 04/23/13 - 09:18 am
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It sounds like his

It sounds like his conclusions are outdated based on his own knowledge of how Chechnya has changed since the mid-90's.

my.voice
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my.voice 04/23/13 - 03:29 pm
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The average person on the

The average person on the street in Chechnya (is) known for this very distinct hospitality,” he said. “Mor­al­i­ty and public manners are very important to Chechens.”

Well, they have a funny way of showing it.

I was disappointed they pulled this punk out of the boat alive. Why? Because of exactly whats happened since then. He has been mirandized? Really? Now the story is his brother made him do it. Now they killed the MIT officer because they needed a gun. But before this is over with it will be OUR fault this happened.

Had the Baptists or Methodists bombed us, CNN, ABC, FOX, MSNBC, etc would be all over this like stink on a monkey. But the M's get a pass. That's right, they get a pass. They burn us in effigy, cut off our heads, fly jets into our buildings and we sit and explain it away. And the media can say all day long that they are a "peaceful people"....... horse crackers. Call them extremists, call them fringe, but whatever you do, don't you dare offend them.

UPDATE:
FOX REPORTS: "The American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world," Richard Falk, the UN Human Rights Council's Palestine monitor.

Domination? You mean like our cities being terrorized so we go over and kick some behinds? Our response should have been more simplistic:

**You fly your planes into our buildings
**We determine your home address(es)
**We make a parking lot out of said address(es) for a 100-mile radius
**We leave a note saying "KEEP OUT"

Maybe then you'd get the point. Leave us alone.

KSL
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KSL 04/23/13 - 08:57 pm
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Question

Why would an older brother hold the weight of so much authority when there is a father living?

KSL
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KSL 04/23/13 - 09:07 pm
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2 transplanted Chechens were

2 transplanted Chechens were NOT known for their being on the street in Boston and being hospitable.

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