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Djohar Tsarnaev
Djohar Tsarnaev
Pavel Tarasenko and Elena Chernenko

MOSCOW - As the U.S. woke up to discover that the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing had been identified and one had been killed, the news also came out that the two young men were Russian citizens, Chechen brothers who appear to have grown up in Dagestan. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was killed in a police chase through the outskirts of Boston, while his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, remains at large.

Profiles

There was something to be learned about the two brothers from their profiles on vKontacte, the Facebook-like website that is popular in Russia. According to Dzhokhar’s profile, he speaks Chechen, Russian and English, and his birthday is July 22. He went to school in Dagestan from 1999 to 2001, a north-Caucasus republic in Russia that is home to many Chechen refugees, and then went to Massachusetts to attend the Cambridge Ringe and Latin School. He identifies himself as a practicing Muslim.

According to the profile, his most important goals in life are “career and money.” He is a member of groups called “Chechnya” and “Everything for the Chechen Republic.” There aren’t many posts - one photo, one video and one joke. The joke is as follows: There’s a riddle given at school. A Dagestani, Chechen and Ingush are going somewhere in a car. Who is driving? The correct answer: The police. The last time he visited the site was 5:04 a.m. on April 19, Moscow time.

Not A Single American Friend

Tamerlan, the older brother who was killed by police, kept a personal channel on YouTube, and by the selection of videos posted he appeared to be interested in Islam and boxing. His playlists include a Chechen singer who sings about war, Islam and jihad, and "terrorist" videos that are addressed towards fighters. Not long ago Tamerlan posed for a photo-reportage by Johannes Hirn called "Will Box For Passport,” although the link on Hirn’s site appears to be down. In the text that goes along with the photos, Tamerlan says, “I don’t have a single American friend, I don’t understand them.”

It also explains in the text that Tamerlan’s family fled Chechnya at the beginning of the 1990s, first to Kazakhstan, then to the United States. He was studying at the Bunker Hill Community College in Boston and wanted to be an engineer. He was a boxer and dreamed of making the American national team. He said that as long as Chechnya was not independent, he would box for the U.S. not Russia.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Is Turning Into A "New Israel" — Where Everyone Is A Soldier

From businessmen to farmers, Ukrainian society has been militarizing for the past six months to defend its sovereignty. In the future it may find itself like Israel, permanently armed to protect its sovereignty.

Ukrainian civilians learn how to shoot and other military skills at a shooting range in Lviv on July 30, 2022.

Guillaume Ptak

KYIV — The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. Vladimir Putin's army has suffered its worst setback since the beginning of the invasion. The Russian army has experienced a counter-offensive that many experts consider masterful, so it must retreat and cede vast territories to its opponent.

The lightning victory that the head of the Kremlin had dreamed of never took place. The losses are considerable — Ukrainian troops on the battlefield now outnumber the Russians.

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On April 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that at the end of the conflict, Ukraine would become a "big Israel". In an interview with Ukrainian media, he said then, "In all the institutions, supermarkets, cinemas, there will be people with weapons."

The problem of national security will be the country's most important one in the next decade. An "absolutely liberal, and European" society would therefore no longer be on the agenda, according to the Ukrainian president.

Having long since swapped his suit and tie for a jacket or a khaki T-shirt during his public appearances, Zelensky has undeniably become one of the symbols of this growing militarization of Ukrainian society. However, the president claimed that Ukraine would not become an "authoritarian" regime: "An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. Ukrainians know what they are fighting for."

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