Russian studies professor talks bomber's Chechen heritage


by Chris Patterson

MILWAUKEE -- According to the people that knew them, the brothers who are accused of the Boston Marathon bombing were largely Americanized. Some are wondering if their Chechen roots has something to do with a motive. We talked with a Marquette University professor who says Chechens don't like to be associated with terror plots, because they've been accused of it in their homeland.

Russian Studies Professor Peter Tarnoff says Chechens were labeled as terrorists by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chechens don't want to feed that stereotype. "Immigrants from Chechnya can be really refined, really well educated, well spoken people," says Tarnoff.

After hearing about the suspects and their family fled during the Chechen-Russian conflict, he believes the family may be less entrenched in the Chechen way. He says, "The Chechen connection isn't really that strong so these are either disaffected or somehow radicalize they are Muslim."

Professor Tarnoff also says radical extremist will try to exploit this as well as possibly Russian President Putin to further their agenda.


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