Chechnya found itself at the center of the Boston bombings as soon the quickly transpiring events on Friday morning revealed the two suspects, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, are ethnic Chechens. The president of Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, has already released a statement (via Instagram, by the way) condemning anyone who would blame Chechnya, a war-torn nation whose nationalists have been connected to terrorism in Russia for years, for the Tsarnaevs actions:
Any attempt to draw a connection between Chechnya and Tsarnaevs — if they are guilty — is futile. They were raised in the United States, and their attitudes and beliefs were formed there. It is necessary to seek the roots of this evil in America. The whole world must struggle against terrorism — that we know better than anyone else. We hope for the recovery of all the victims, and we mourn with the Americans.
His point is well-taken, but for those who are just brushing up on Chechnya, here are some facts about the country.
Location: The Chechen Republic is nestled in the North Caucasus Mountains in southeast Europe.
Nicknames: Chechnya; Ichkeria (Land of Minerals)
Population: 1,268,989 per a 2010 census
Predominant Religion: Islam
Chechnya, a federal republic, operates under a constitution drafted in 2003 that recognizes the region as a constituent entity of the Russian Federation, placing it under the rule of Moscow. The highest office of government, called the Head of the Chechen Republic, is currently occupied by Ramzan Kadyrov, a former rebel leader who defected to the Russian side during the Second Chechen War.