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27 Mar, 2024 21:34

US state media defends ‘compassionate’ terrorist suspect

An American propaganda outlet deemed one of the accused over the Crocus City Hall massacre to have been a “happy young man”
US state media defends ‘compassionate’ terrorist suspect

A US government-funded news outlet has come to the defense of one of the alleged perpetrators of last week’s concert hall massacre near Moscow. The man, who is accused of taking part in the killing of 140 people, has been described in a Radio Free Europe article as “very compassionate.” 

Muhammadsobir Fayzov was caught by Russian security forces near the Ukrainian border on Friday and formally arrested at a Moscow court on Sunday. Along with three other Tajik nationals, Fayzov is accused of carrying out a mass shooting at the Crocus City Hall, a concert venue northwest of Moscow, on Friday. As of Wednesday, the attack has claimed at least 143 lives.

Although Fayzov was allegedly responsible for the deadliest terror attack on Russian soil in two decades, he has been portrayed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Taijik branch as a kind and caring young man.

“He was the best kid in the family. He was very compassionate,” Fayzov’s mother told RFE/RL. “He loved his cousins. He loved his friends’ weddings. He danced with the boys at parties. He was a funny boy, but no one complained at school. He actively participated in school activities.”

“He was afraid of hurting someone, and someone probably set him up,” his mother claimed.

Based on a glance at Fayzov’s social media accounts, RFE/RL determined that the accused murderer “seems to be a happy young man and a good worker.” The news outlet also spoke to Fayzov’s employer, who described him as a skilled worker.

RFE/RL has run similar stories on Fayzov’s accomplices, interviewing relatives who described alleged gunman Faridun Shamsiddin as “very timid,” and Saidakrami Rachabalizod – who pleaded guilty to his role in the attack – as someone who “could not kill a chicken.”

A terrorist group calling itself Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) claimed responsibility for the massacre. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that while the attack “was carried out by radical Islamists,” further investigation is needed to determine “who ordered it.” Putin and Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Aleksandr Bortnikov have both suggested that Ukrainian agents or officials may have been involved.

The US and EU have insisted that ISIS-K was solely to blame, denying that Ukraine had anything to do with the act of terrorism.

Originally founded as a CIA cut-out after World War 2, RFE/RL – which is funded by the US Congress – spearheaded Washington’s Cold War-era anti-communism propaganda efforts in the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc. RFE/RL has been considered a “foreign agent” by the Russian authorities since 2020. In 2022, it was blocked in the country for spreading “fake news” about the conflict in Ukraine.