Chechen president rejects ethnicity as a motive

(Musa Sadulayev/AP)

Chechen President Ramazan Kadyrov has blasted those looking to Chechnya for the source of evil in the Boston Marathon bombings.

“Any attempt to link Chechnya and the Tsarnaevs, if indeed they are guilty, are futile,” he wrote on Instagram, as the Daily Beast reports. “They grew up in the USA, their viewpoints and beliefs were formed there. You must look for the roots of [their] evil in America.”

The rebuke did nothing to stop people from wondering how the two Chechen brothers — Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev — became linked to the blasts that killed three and wounded more than 170 on Monday afternoon.News channels explored the link throughout the day Friday, serving up endless details about Chechnya.

NPR tapped a former BBC Russia analyst to detail Chechnya’s war-ravaged history and tense relationship to Russia (it’s a republic within the Russian Federation). Former Moscow correspondents were trotted out to paint broad strokes about the region’s people and history (the BBC already does it well). Many noted Chechnya’s large Muslim population — with caveats, of course, about what, if anything, this might mean.

The Chechen president is not the only one to balk at suggestions that the answers to Monday’s tragedy will be found in his country. Some Chechens are asking how much the media, in its scramble to assemble profiles of the young men, can hope to learn about a possible motive.

Even members of the brothers’ family have worried publicly about how this reflects on their homeland. The men have “put a shame on our family, put a shame on the entire Chechen ethnicity,” their uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, told media during a heated press conference Friday morning.

For the record, Kadyrov has disowned the suspects. “If they were ‘bad guys’ that is a question for those who brought them up,” his press spokesman told Russian media.

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