At least 35 were killed
in Moscow when two
suicide bombers set off explosions in the city's massive subway system
early on Monday morning. Russian police say the attackers were female. CNN has reported
that Chechen rebels claimed responsibility for the attack. Chechnya
is a small, war-torn, majority-Muslim province in the Caucasus
mountains that has fought for independence from Russia since 1991. Here are the early reactions to the attacks.
Putin Make Another Power Grab? The New York Times' Clifford Levy
contextualizes the early-2000s attacks. "The earlier raft of attacks
had repercussions far beyond the security situation in the Caucasus and
rest of the country. In 2004, Mr. Putin, the president at the time,
responded by greatly tightening control over the government, saying that
the country had to be united against terrorism. He pushed through laws
that eliminated the election of regional governors, turning them into
appointees of the president, and that made it harder for independents to
be elected to Parliament."
- Retaliation for Russian Missions
in Chechnya Radio Free Europe's Ron Synovitz says Russian
officials already suspect "retaliation for the recent reported killings
of militant leaders in the North Caucasus." Russian security forces have
killed two senior insurgent leaders in recent weeks. "Chechnya itself
has seen a rise in violence in recent months as pro-Kremlin local
authorities seek to clamp down on an uprising by militant Islamists."
Putin or Medvedev Lead? With the power balance between Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev, a Guardian reader wonders,
"Will be interesting to see the extent to which Putin allows Medvedev
to take the lead on the response to this. It is all very well pretending
to have handed over power when it comes to chats with EU delegations
and diplomatic bun fights with the Americans, but at moments of national
crisis like this he may feel obliged to flex his muscles."
Up the Chechen Conflict Politics Daily's Tom Kavanagh writes,
"Chechnya, located between the Black and Caspian seas, has struggled for
independence from Russia since 1991. Thousands of Chechens have been
killed and many more displaced in the ongoing conflict with Russian
- Nothing New for Moscow Michelle Malkin sighs,
writing of the insurgency, "It never left. The jihadists have been here
and done that, over and over again." She adds, "Chechen Muslims have
been training female homicide bombers for years." Malkin repeats a
"heart-wrenching" quote from one of the survivors: "This is how we
- Black Widows The Guardian explains the theory behind female suicide
bombers. "Some reports are linking the fact the attackers were women to
phenomenon of the so-called black
widows, a series of previous female suicide bombers from Chechnya,
some of whom were reputed to be the widows or sisters of men killed by
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