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The terrorist attack in Moscow and Russian-Ukrainian relations

The terrorist attack in Moscow and Russian-Ukrainian relations

4 Apr, 2024

The terrorist attack during a concert in a modern "multiplex" on the outskirts of Moscow raises a number of questions and justifies serious concerns about the future of the conflict with Ukraine and relations between the West (US, NATO, EU) and Russia.

Responsibility was claimed by the Islamic State, a Muslim mish-mash affiliate of Al-Qaeda (part of the US strategy against the Taliban, which eventually turned against the US and spread across the globe, from Iraq to Africa) which he fights everyone with no discernible goal. 

Is this true? How did the US embassy know of the possibility of a terrorist attack and warn foreign citizens not to frequent "concert venues" etc.? Had he properly informed the Russian authorities? If not, he is at least morally involved in the destruction. If so, why didn't the Russian authorities react? The case is somewhat reminiscent of 9/11 – there were warnings from the relevant agencies, but the US authorities ignored them. Did they want to have some basis for escalating the fight against the West? Did they want to "drop them" on Ukraine and the USA (as it happened)? 

The Russian narrative about the responsibility of Ukraine and the West is unconvincing, although it is possible that it is true. The information released by the Russian authorities contains contradictions and appears to be "fabricated" ("strange" terrorists, a cheap car that took them to the Russian-Ukrainian border in record time, etc.). 

War, however, is "dirty" and no means are excluded. At this moment, the main argument for the renewal of the term of President Putin (it is not disputed that the election was not fair) was shaken: The defense adequacy and stability of the Russian Federation. Moscow again became a terrorist target and the effectiveness of the security forces was lacking. The US was quick to trumpet Ukraine's "innocence", President Zalensky disclaimed any responsibility and took the opportunity to highlight Moscow's crimes.

If the Islamic State is indeed behind the terrorist attack, this means that the republics of the North Caucasus (and the integrity of the Russian Federation) are at risk. The conflicts in Chechnya (where the Russian "victory" contributed to the initial election and popularity of President Putin) was the first attempt to secede a piece of Russian territory and establish an Islamic Caliphate in the region. "Order" may have seemingly been restored (and maintained through Ruslan Kadyrov), but the Islamic Caliphate still operates underground and threatens the stability of the region, where the majority of the population are Muslims who are favorably disposed towards a possible state change. 

It should be recalled that Tsarist Russia waged long wars to conquer the Caucasus and/or incorporate independent territories into the empire (wars against the Ottoman Empire and Iran/Persia, "voluntary" subjugation of Georgia, etc.).

It is not excluded that the Western strategy consists in the destabilization of the Caucasus and the final secession of the republics from the Russian Federation (this was the goal of the Germans with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk). This risk is more important than the "loss" of Ukraine and will provoke a strong reaction from the Kremlin. The Russian leadership has made it clear that, according to the country's defense strategy, a threat to its territorial integrity will entail the use of nuclear weapons. 

This will be the real escalation and, perhaps, the climax of the conflict. For better or worse, Russia accepts the "sanctity" of the national territory and is willing to take all measures to preserve its territorial integrity. 

 

(A. Katranis)

Editorial team: Margarita Antoniou, Alexandros Katranis, Stefanos Lazaridis, Vasiliki Skara, Bill Stamos, Georgia Chronopoulou 

 photo https://edition.cnn.com/ 

The articles we publish do not necessarily reflect our views and are not binding on their authors. Their publication has to do not with whether we agree with the positions they adopt, but with whether we consider them interesting for our readers.

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