Putin provoking rather than preventing Islamist terrorism in Russia, Portnikov says

Vladimir Putin: 1952 - ?


Analysis & Opinion, Russia

The 1999 apartment bombings led to actions by Vladimir Putin that contributed to the stabilization of Russia, but the metro bombing in St. Petersburg and the Kremlin leader’s reaction to it are likely to have exactly the opposite effect, Vitaly Portnikov says, provoking rather than preventing a new wave of domestic Islamist terrorism.

The reason, the Ukrainian commentator says, is that what has just happened was entirely “predictable” because “when a country with a multi-million Muslim population is drawn into a bloody war in the Middle East … could there be any doubt that sooner or later, the citizens of this country would become victims of terror?”

Pictures on Moscow television of the Russian bombing of Muslims in Aleppo, Portnikov continues, “are worth hundreds of propagandistic statements. And if one wants to name the chief recruiter for ISIS, then I will give his name: This is Vladimir Putin.” And now he doesn’t know what to do.

It is one thing to block extremists coming back from battles in the Middle East, but it is quite another thing to be able to block “citizens of the Russian Federation” who are animated by the same hatreds and goals. It was a Russian who carried out the latest attack, “and his Central Asian roots do not have any importance” in the matter.

“There are already thousands and tens of thousands of such people in Russia,” Portnikov says; “and there are also people from the North Caucasus, who always had Russian citizenship.” The FSB isn’t up to the task because unlike the KGB or even the security services at the end of the 1990s, it is focused on other tasks, including enriching itself and its masters.

According to Portnikov, “this terrorist action was not organized by Putin or for Putin. It is the result of Putin’s policies, and this is much more horrific. Instead of promoting a political resolution in Syria, the Russian president is seeking the victory of Bashar Assad.” That may have given him some advantages in foreign policy, but those have come at a horrific cost.

And that cost is now obvious: Putin’s policies have transformed Russia itself “into a territory of terror.”

The Kremlin leader’s response to the St. Petersburg bombing will only make Portnikov’s prediction more likely. He has turned to repression even though history, including Russia’s own experience, shows that such a strategy tends to provoke more terrorism rather than to block it.

And there is a more immediate problem: Putin’s statements and actions in the wake of the St. Petersburg bombing have dramatically increased hostility toward and discrimination against Muslims within Russia, something that cannot fail to cause some of them to think about turning to violence.

At the end of Soviet times, many thought that the division between the Slavic nations, on the one hand, and the Muslim nationalities, on the other, would lead to the demise of the Soviet Union. That did not turn out to be the case: it was instead the actions of the Balts, the Ukrainians, the Georgians, and the Russians themselves that ultimately brought down the USSR.

But if Putin continues to anger Russia’s Muslims in the ways that he has and if there is more Islamist violence, it is entirely possible that Islamic groups will play a far greater role in the demise of the Russian Federation, an outcome he routinely has committed himself to oppose but in fact may be unwittingly promoting instead.


Edited by: A. N.

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  • Yoshua

    The Soviet Afghanistan war created the jihadi groups that have then spread throughout the Islamic world and grown in numbers and strength.

    The Islamic terror groups have now also spread throughout Europe with the refugee floods and are today attacking European capitols.

  • zorbatheturk

    Terrorists attacking other terrorists. Putin is reaping what he and the FSB sowed in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

    • Alex George

      And what he continues to sow with his foolish foreign ventures in Syria and Ukraine, while at the sand time he lets corruption go unchecked in Russia – it’s always the ordinary people who suffer, which creates fertile recruiting ground for insurgents.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        Chechnya has been pacified- for now. But I don’t believe for one second that the Chechens have forgotten the vicious wars Yelstin and Pedo Putolini fought on their territory, nor have they forgiven Dwarfstan for those wars and Stalin’s deportation.

      • zorbatheturk

        Putin is a moron.

        • Alex George

          No he isn’t. He’s quite intelligent, but a fool.

          • zorbatheturk

            If he thinks he can just keep on irritating the West without consequences he is an idiot.

          • Mick Servian

            Don’t worry you’re good then.lol

          • zorbatheturk

            You suck the dumb one.

  • Dagwood Bumstead

    What Portnikov does not mention is that Pedo Putolini is in an alliance with Shia Iran and Hezbollah and is bombing Sunnis in Aleppo and elsewhere, when Dwarfstan’s Muslims are overwhelmingly Sunni. This factor should by no means be ignored. Admittedly the alliance is one of convenience as the ayatollahs have their own agenda and I’m not sure that a permanent alliance with Dwarfstan is one of their agenda points. Like Qatar and Saudi Arabia Iran wants to sell gas to the EU and transport it by pipeline, which has to cross Syria and/or Turkey. But Moscow wants neither a Saudi/Qatari nor an Iranian pipeline to the EU as that would mean serious competition for Gazprom.

    • Alex George

      Good points.

      I agre it’s just a marriage of convenience for Iran – they intend eventually to recover the central Asian territory which russia took from them.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        The ayatollahs would find recovering those territories pretty heavy going as the population is overwhelmingly Sunni. And I’m not sure whether the Iranian people would be willing to fight another long war after the losses of the Iran-Iraq war, especially an offensive one.

        Dwarfstan is in Syria for several reasons: it doesn’t want to lose Assad, its only ally in the region, and the bases on the coast, and it wants to prevent the Saudi/Qatari gas pipeline being laid. Iran theoretically can bypass Syria as it has a border with Turkey, This puts Erdogan in a pretty strong position as the dwarf wants to run Turkstream through Turkey to bypass the Ukrainian transit pipelines and wants to prevent Ayatollahstream being laid through Turkey at the same time, while at the same time the ayatollahs want to prevent Turkstream. Sultan Erdogan will exploit his position ruthlessly and I’m not sure that the dwarf will be willing to pay the price Ankara will demand for prohibiting Ayatollahstream, or the ayatollahs for preventing Turkstream.

        • Alex George

          Who says they intend to fight a war?

          China is well on the way to owning Siberia and the Far East, without a war.

          If there is a war, it will be by proxy.

  • Brent

    “When the CHECHENS come home to roost”………

    • zorbatheturk


    • Mick Servian

      Sowing some ethnic disord there.
      Racist sob