As Boston and U.S. security agencies congratulate themselves over the apparent neutralization of a pair of Chechens that bombed the Boston Marathon, troubling questions are beginning to arise.
First and foremost is, why a pair of Chechens, born in the former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, apparently committed the attack?For possible answers, one must looks beyond the present and delve into Russia’s and the USSR’s past policies towards Chechnya, and since 1991, U.S. policy in the Caucasus, which since the 1991 implosion of the USSR had a single focus – the exploitation of the Caspian’s massive energy reserves.
It is a history that makes for deeply uncomfortable reading, but one that may eventually provide some answers to seemingly intractable questions.
After Iran transferred Chechnya to the Russian empire under the Treaty of Gulistan following the 1804-1813 Russo-Persian War, Russian troops entered the region to assert control, resulting in a long-drawn out and bitter campaign marked by numerous atrocities until Imam Shamil surrendered to the Russians in 1859, causing many Chechen Muslims to emigrate to the Ottoman Empire. Following the 1917 Russian revolution, Chechnya suffered the travails of the rest of the Soviet population until 23 February 1944, when Stalin ordered Chechnya’s population deported en masse to Soviet Central Asia on suspicions of them being traitors and working with Nazi forces. In eight days, the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), predecessor to the Committee for State Security (KGB), forcefully deported 350,000 to 400,000 Chechens and 91,250 Ingush from the Caucasus, mainly to Central Asia, primarily Kazakhstan, but others as far as Kyrgyzstan and Eastern Siberia.
Soviet officials assessed that during 1944 to 1948, between 14.6% and 23.7% of the exiled population perished.
And many Chechens were swallowed up by the NVKD’s Gulag archipelago, but even there, their toughness and militancy set them apart. As Russian Nobel Prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn noted his is three-volume study, The GuLAG Archipelago, "There was one nation which would not give in, would not acquire the mental habits of submission - and not just individual rebels among them, but the whole nation to a man. These were the Chechens... They had been treacherously snatched from their home, and from that day they believed in nothing... The years went by - and they owned just as little as they had to begin with. The Chechens never sought to please, to ingratiate themselves with the bosses; their attitude was always haughty and indeed openly hostile.”.......