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.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

Ingrid Betancourt, A Hostage Heroine Reinvented As Feminist For President

Although Betancourt is best known for surviving six years as a hostage of the Colombian terror group FARC, and is considered a centrist politician, her unlikely new campaign for president will be centered on gender issues.

Betancourt in Bogota announcing her candidacy Tuesday

Chepa Beltran/LongVisual via ZUMA
Felipe García Altamar

-Analysis-

BOGOTA — Exactly 20 years after she was kidnapped by the FARC terror group in the middle of her campaign for Colombian president, Íngrid Betancourt is launching a new campaign to lead her nation. She will do so on behalf of her party, Verde Oxígeno, becoming the only female candidate from the Centro Esperanza Coalition (CCE), which for months received a barrage of criticism for grouping only male candidacies and traditional politicians.

Keep reading... Show less
Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Stories from the best international journalists.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS
MOST READ