And yet the abominable happened. At 14:30 on Monday January 24th, a suicide bomberdetonated his bomb in the arrival lounge of Domodedovo International Airport. The attack occurredafter Russian’s president visit to the Middle East and on the eve of the World Summit in Davos. It clearly intended to undermine theRussian government and to make the international community worry, by targetingforeigners. The toll was heavy: 35 dead and 180 injured. Besides, Russia could have ended the year in a worse way as the airport
suicide bomber was apparently linked to a terrorist cell, a cell that had been however identified and dismantled. This cell had planned an attack on the Red Square, in the evening of December 31.
Even in such a difficult time, Russia has only been facing much criticism and little support, with a special mention to the French press which, one more time, stands out. For Helene Blanc on France-Info, for example, one must be be particularly careful she says, mentioning the series of attacks that killed 293 in Russia in 1999: “TheChechens were not to blame for the attacks, although they were held responsible for it, as it was the work of the FSB” Anne Nivat says that: “Putin, just like Medvedev, exploit the obsession about security in order to get votes and both were elected because of their rhetoric on Chechnya”. The correspondent ofLe Figaro in Russia, Pierre Avril, tells us that “the country is close
from a civil war”. In the end, Vincent Jauvert thinks that the attack proves “the failure of the Putin system ”.
This assertion has already been hammered this summer, when the fires that hit Russia had supposedly demonstrated the failure of hypothetical “Putin system”. In addition,Mr Jauvert added: “The corrupt and incompetent security services have not identified the suicide bomber”.
Yet, far from the posh suburbs editorial offices of Paris or Moscow, in the field, the results of Russia’s anti-terrorism fight speak for themselves. In 2010 alone, in Northern Caucasus, 301 terrorists were killed and 468 were arrested. 4,500 raids were conducted, as well as
50 major anti-terrorist operations. 66 attacks have been foiled, although 500 terrorist acts (including 92 explosions and attacks) have killed over 600 people. In 2012 in Russia, over 360 Russian policemen were killed while on duty. Of course, the Muslim Caucasus and Chechnya particularly, have systematically been presented by Western media as a region of the world, occupied by tyrannical Russia aspiring to its independence and freedom. From that point of view, terrorism in Caucasus would only be a desperate reaction of local people against oppression. A large part of the French population, still having in mind the nostalgia of the Gaul village besieged by the mighty Rome, and being misinformed about the reality in the country itself, is easily persuaded. Yet this is not reality. The goal of terrorists is not to liberate oppressed people but to enslave them. Caucasian terrorists are more and more linked to the Wahhabi movement, an Arabian fundamentalist movement under strong foreign influence. This Wahhabi movement is connected to a destructive and revolutionary ideology which seeks to establish an Islamic Emirate across the whole region. Its core probably finds its roots in the first Chechnya war, when numerous foreign auxiliaries (Arabs, Afghans…) have joined the Chechens, thinking to transform the war of independence war into a religious conflictand bring the holy
war in the region.
We know what happened next: Chechen nationalists though they lost the war on the ground against the federal army, ultimately obtained a very important political and religious independence for Chechnya, but within the federation.
Since then, tensions between Caucasians and foreigners haveexploded. Caucasians acknowledge with difficulty the foreigners methods and their uncompromising radicalism which is far from the Caucasian Sufism and not really adapted to the local traditions. Kadyrov also recently and symbolically proclaimed the defeat of Wahhabism in Chechnya. The separation of Caucasus and Russia as wished by the Wahhabis, by the Islamists and by some intellectual foreigners, would not be a solution in any way.
It seems clear that the primary consequence of such a decision would be an abandon of the area and a start of internal conflicts and probable development of internal terrorism. Let’s also remember that these regions of southern Russia are mostly Russianand since much longer time for instance than the city of Nice has been French. Moreover, many Muslims feel Russian and full citizens of the Russian Federation. They indeed represent one of the facets of the Russian multicultural identity.
It would be really nice if foreign commentators could focus their attacks and their energy on criminals and not on the Russian state.
As far as I know, from Madrid to London or Moscow,victims are victims of a one and only terrorism. I do not recall having read from Russian commentators, when similar events struck other European democracies such as Spain or England, in 2004 and in 2005, that the attacks meant a failure of the countries’s governments or that their security services had not done their job properly. The reason is that it is virtually impossible to prevent all terrorist attacks. The Spanish, the Israelis, the Turks or the Indians, whose countries are often targeted by terrorism, have since long understood the need for drastic security measures in order to prevent most of these attacks, with varying degrees of success. So even if those measures restrict some individual liberties, they are probably essential in order to let life to follow a peaceful course despite the threat.
Minds are prepared if further attacks occur in Russiaand perhaps again in the capital, a fact which unfortunately seems inevitable. The goal of terrorists is always to frightenthe population and to destabilize the society. But we, Russian and foreign citizens, must not be destabilized. Rather, it is the coordination of a determined State and of a united and attentive population that will be the best shield against terrorism.
Russia has the ability to overcome these challenges. As Alexei Pimanov, broadcaster of the program Chelovek i Zakon (Rights and law) perfectly summarized in a recent broadcasting dedicated to these events: “Those who spontaneously and voluntarily offered their help after the attack, those who transported passengers for free from the airport to the subway, those who gave their blood and those who helped the rescue in the first difficultmoments, those people represent the real Russia”.