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Boston blasts unlikely to worsen U.S.-Russia ties, analysts say

April 19, 2013|By Sergei L. Loiko
  • A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, seen Friday at a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, said Putin suggested that the U.S. not draw distinctions between foreign and domestic terrorist groups.
A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, seen Friday at a meeting in the… (Mikhail Klimentyev / Associated…)

MOSCOW -- Although the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings came from the Russian region of Chechnya, that isn't expected to worsen already strained U.S.-Russia relations, Moscow political analysts said Friday.

“The relations between Russia and the United States are reliably bad and I don’t expect them to significantly deteriorate even if it is proven that those Chechen lads were guilty of the Boston explosions,” said Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of the USA-Canada Institute, a Moscow-based think tank.

In fact, the Kremlin may take advantage of the Boston tragedy's connection to the hostile Caucasus republic by casting the Monday attack as an example of the global terrorism threat that should draw the major powers together in a campaign to eradicate Islamic extremism, rights activist Lev Ponomarev said.

“Most likely, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will argue that Russia and the United States should pay more attention to protecting lives in the ongoing war against terror instead of constantly complaining about such trifles, in his view, as human rights violations,” said Ponomarev, chairman of the For Human Rights organization.

Later Friday, a Putin spokesman suggested that the United States  avoid drawing distinctions between international and domestic terrorist groups.

"Putin has more than once said that there are no 'theirs' and 'ours' among terrorists,” spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russia-24, a television news channel. “They mustn’t be flirted with, and they shouldn’t be differentiated by whether you can deal with them or not; all of them equally deserve rejection.”

Washington condemned the violence in Chechnya during the predominantly Muslim republic's efforts to break away from Russian domination during the 1990s, but also criticized the Russian army's brutality and disregard for civilian casualties.


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