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Domodedovo 300

Moscow's Domodedovo Airport (above) was hit by a suicide bomber Jan. 24. Image via Creative Commons.

U of M expert available to comment on Moscow airport bombing

January 24, 2011

The news of today’s suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport has shocked the world. As Russian leaders have moved quickly to increase security at the country’s airports and other key transportation hubs, the attention has now focused on the suspect’s motives and origin. How has Russia been affected by terrorism in recent years and what are the developments that may have led to attacks like today's?

A University of Minnesota expert who can provide insight is:

Kathleen Collins, professor of political science, College of Liberal Arts

Collins says the deadly bombing today is yet another indication that the Kremlin’s policy in the north Caucasus region is failing.

“Over the past sixteen years, the regime’s repression of Chechnya has radicalized and transformed the Chechen independence movement, and spread its influence among Muslims throughout the north Caucasus,” Collins says. “Today, unlike in 1994, Russia has an Islamist problem, not just a Chechen problem."

She says the Chechen-Caucasian insurgency has largely adopted the ideology and strategy of Al Qaeda: Islamist jihad in pursuit of an independent Islamist state for the Muslims of the Caucasus. “Suicide bombing is a key element of the insurgency’s strategy. In this particular instance, however, the jihadists may have chosen their target poorly, for according to CIS news accounts, many Muslims arriving from Tajikistan were among those killed today, and targeting other Muslims risks undermining the credibility and legitimacy of the movement.”

Collins' research and teaching interests include: political transition and democratization, Islam and politics, civil and ethnic conflict, clan politics, informal institutions, civil society development, and Soviet and post-Soviet political development, especially in Central Asia and the Caucasus. She is the author of Clan Politics and Regime Transition in Central Asia, and is completing The Rise of Muslim Politics: Islam and State in Post-Soviet Eurasia.

Expert Alert is a service provided by the University News Service. Delivered regularly, Expert Alert is designed to connect university experts to today's breaking news and current events. For an archive and other useful media services, visit umn.edu/news. Views expressed by experts do not represent the views of the University of Minnesota.

To interview Collins, contact Jeff Falk, University News Service, jfalk@umn.edu or (612) 626-1720.

Tags: College of Liberal Arts

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