‘Volgograd blasts blowback for Putin’s Syria policy’
RT:What do you think is the general message behind theattacks?
Eric Draitser: I think that there are a number of things, of course. An attack of this magnitude is not simply for one reason or the other, but a confluence of reasons. First and foremost, it has been stated many times that this is to send a message on the eve of the Sochi Olympics, on the eve of the New Year, to send a message that the Russians are not safe, that Russian society is not safe and that the so-called war from Chechnya, from Dagestan and Ingushetia and various terror organizations in that region, that the war is still very much a hard war and is still very much continuing.
The secondary, and perhaps more important message that has been sent, is that Putin’s maneuvers vis-a-vis Syria are not being taken kindly in certain quarters. There are certain interests around the world, and certainly within Syria, who are rejoicing at the fact that Russia has been made to suffer for its protection of Assad. Many people have discussed the possibility of blowback with regard to Syria, and I think that although it’s somehow an oversimplification, it’s certainly true. I think people are quick to forget that Syria is really only about 1,000 miles away from this region, not a terribly far distance to travel, and certainly we’ve seen documented evidence of Chechen fighters, those from Dagestan, Ingushetia and elsewhere being found on the battlefield in Syria, and certainly there is this political and geopolitical message that have been sent to the Kremlin. And I think to some degree it has been heard loud and clear.
RT:What measures should be taken to prevent the repetition of these tragedies?
ED: Certainly the Russian security services have made attempts in the past to neutralize these various terrorist organizations. In fact, the Russian Intelligence service has probably the most extensive intelligence of any agency anywhere in the world related to these so-called rebels, these terrorists, such as Doku Umarov, the highly renowned and well-known terrorist in the Dagestan region. Certainly the Russian secret services are going to attempt to root this up, but all of that has to be done with an eye towards public opinion. Russia cannot be seen as coming down in a heavy-handed manner precisely as the world turns its attention toward Russia for the Olympics. So what we are going to see is certainly a very public crackdown, one that is intended to send a message but likely the real machinations are going to happen in private as the Russian intelligence services and various other relevant agencies do their work behind the scenes. Remember, this is precisely the kind of work the Russian intelligence services were doing in the aftermath of the Boston bombings in the United States, which according to the narrative also emanates from the very same region. So we’ll see much of the same and hopefully, at least from the prospective of the Russian society, we will see an improvement in this situation, as these services attempt to rule out the terrorists.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.