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Our Own Bin Laden

Published: January 14, 2014 (Issue # 1792)


The bombings in Volgograd just before New Year's Eve have shown that the terrorist threat in Russia remains extremely high. Both of these attacks had been carefully prepared beforehand. Following a bus bombing in October and the bombing of the Volgograd train station, Russian intelligence agencies were unable to prevent the third attack: another bus bombing killing dozens. Authorities still have not identified those who ordered those attacks, and with less than one month remaining before the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the issue of safety of the participants and guests of the Games has come to the fore.

The threat is ever greater and more serious in light of the fact that Doku Umarov, head of the Islamic extremist group Caucasus Emirate, released a video in July calling on his followers to disrupt the Winter Olympics and ending the moratorium on terrorist attacks in Russia, including attacks against civilians. It is very likely that the Caucasus Emirate organized the series of attacks in Volgograd as a response to Umarov's recent statements.

The Caucasus Emirate wants to establish an Islamic Sharia-based state in the North Caucasus and even beyond, and it has declared jihad against all infidels.

The creation of the Caucasus Emirate has fundamentally changed the nature of armed groups and terrorist organizations in the North Caucasus. For many years before that, insurgents in the region followed a separatist ideology aimed against the "Moscow occupiers." Now they have adopted the ideology of radical Islamism and jihadism. The Caucasus Emirate wants to establish an Islamic Sharia-based state in the North Caucasus and even beyond, and it has declared a holy war against all infidels. The militants refer to themselves as mujahedeen, the same name once used by insurgents in Afghanistan.

The Caucasus Emirate has no definite boundaries and does not recognize the division of the North Caucasus into its current national republics. The emirate claims to be the only legitimate authority wherever mujahedeen are found. Just as he denounced the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, Umarov labeled the earlier Universiade in Kazan as "satanic games" and called on the Muslims of Tatarstan to oppose it. There is information that Caucasus Emirate militants are also found in Bashkortostan and several other regions of the Volga.

The extremist Islamist jihadist movement in the North Caucasus, with Umarov at its head, has long considered itself part of the global Islamic Ummah, or community. It has expressed solidarity with militant Islamists fighting in Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq and Somalia, and considers not only the Moscow Kremlin its enemy, but also the U.S., Britain, Israel and "all others who wage war against Islam and Muslims." Published reports also indicate that Arab terrorists with close ties to al-Qaida have heavily influenced Umarov.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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