During his annual Q&A media session on Thursday, Vladimir Putin spoke at length about Russia's connection to the Boston Marathon bombing, complaining that the Western media has a double standard when it comes to discussing terrorism in other countries. Putin said that when incidents happen in Chechnya or Dagestan or even Moscow, the attackers are often referred to as "insurgents," but when they strike in American they are "terrorists."
It's a new take on the "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" and one that's not entirely without merit, since not everyone in America was willing to connect the Chechnyan war to the larger "global war on the terror" of the last decade. Though incidents like the Moscow subway bombing and the Beslan school seige, were clearly labeled as the terrorist attacks that they were. More importantly, from Putin's perspective, the Boston bombing has given him a chance to say "I told you so." He has said in the past that Western nations should support Russia's attempts to suppress revolts in the region, because extremists movements there were a common enemy of the world. "Those two [the Boston attackers] have proved our position all too well,” he said.
It's still unclear if this attack will bring Russian and American interests closer together on terrorism (as Putin asks for) or simply create another talking point for diplomats to argue about, but Putin is not passing up the chance to make it winning political issue at home. He also mocked the idea of calling Dzhokhar Tsarnaev an enemy combatant, saying, "Are they out of their mind? What kind of a PoW is he? Do they fight the Civil War between the North and the South again?"
Putin's comments came during an hours-long, town-hall style Q&A that he conducts once a year on live television. He talked about the Pussy Riot trial, the upcoming Winter Olympics, and almost any other topic that interests the Russian people.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.