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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, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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