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Russian massacre suspect’s homeland plagued by poverty, religious strife

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — Four men have been charged with Moscow Theater Massacre Authorities have identified them as Tajikistan citizens, part of thousands of people who immigrate to Russia each year from the former Soviet Union’s poorest republic to seek a life on the margins.

In addition to extreme poverty, Tajikistan is rife with religious tensions. Hardline Islamists were one of the main forces opposing the government in the civil war of the 1990s that devastated the country.Militants claim responsibility for Moscow incident Massacre that killed 137 people A branch of the Islamic State group in neighboring Afghanistan has reportedly recruited heavily from Tajikistan.

Four suspects went on trial in a Moscow court on Sunday night. terrorism charges While in custody, they appeared to have been beaten or injured. One of them, wearing only a hospital gown, was wheeled onto a gurney.

Here’s a look at the people, militant groups and political history linked to the Moscow attacks:


The oldest defendant is 32-year-old Dalerdzhon Mirzoyev, who may have been living illegally in Russia. Photos showed him sitting in a glass cage in the courtroom with a black eye and a bruised face.

According to reports, Mirzoyev was granted a three-month residence permit in the city of Novosibirsk, but the permit has expired. In footage of the interrogation shared on Russian social media, he reportedly said he had recently stayed in a Moscow hotel with another suspect. He said he was married with four children, but it was unclear if he had a job.

Saidakrami Murodali Rachabalizoda, 30, is apparently unemployed. According to Russian news reports, he was registered as a Russian resident, but could not remember which city. When he appeared in court, Russian officials reportedly sawed off one of his ears.

Shamsidin Fariduni, 25, is apparently the most stable of the four suspects. He was registered in Krasnogorsk, a suburb of Moscow where the killings took place, and worked in a flooring factory. He reportedly told interrogators that he had been offered 500,000 rubles (approximately $5,425) to carry out the attack – the equivalent of 2.5 years’ average salary in Tajikistan.

Mukhammadsobir Fayzov, 19, appeared to be losing consciousness as he was brought into the courtroom on a gurney with a catheter inserted into his body and an injured or missing eye. He worked as an apprentice in a barber shop in a declining textile shop. Ivanovo factory, but reports say he quit the job in November.

Islamic tensions in Tajikistan

It is estimated that as many as 1.5 million Tajik immigrants have arrived in Russia, fleeing the poverty and unemployment that plague their landlocked, mountainous country. Tajikistan is rich in mineral resources, but the sector has been slow to develop due to lagging foreign investment and poor geographical data.

Although the country’s nearly 10 million people are overwhelmingly Muslim, tensions related to Islam remain.

Islamists were the main opponents during the 1992-97 civil war in which the government killed up to 150,000 people and devastated the economy. After the war, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon took steps to significantly restrict religious freedom.

The government limited the number of mosques that could be built, banned women and children under 18 from attending mosques, and banned outdoor religious education for children. Critics say the restrictions encourage people to turn to underground and radical Muslim sects online.

Tajikistan has yet to make any official statement regarding the arrest of the four men suspected of being involved in the attack. But the Tajik government press service quoted Rakhmon as telling Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call that “terrorists have neither a nationality nor a homeland nor a country”. religion. “

Islamic State and Russia

Most of the attacks linked to Islamic extremists that have plagued Russia over the past quarter-century have been carried out by Chechen separatists, such as the 2004 Beslan school hijacking that killed more than 300 people, or have been blamed on them, e.g. The 1999 apartment bombing that sparked the second attack. Russian-Chechen war.

But attacks that began in 2015 were either responsible for or blamed on the Islamic State group. The group opposes Russian intervention in Syria as Moscow seeks to turn the tide in favor of President Bashar Assad’s forces.

After the Islamic State declared a caliphate in Syria and much of Iraq in June 2014, thousands of men and women from around the world joined the extremist organization, including thousands from the former Soviet Union, hundreds of whom The name comes from Tajikistan.

One of the most prominent figures to join the Islamic State is Gurmurod Khalimov, a former Tajik special forces officer who defected to join the Islamic State in Syria in 2015. In 2017, the Russian military said Khalimov was killed in a Russian airstrike in Syria.

IS claimed responsibility for the 2015 bombing of a Russian airliner returning tourists from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Two years later, it claimed to be behind a suicide bombing on a St. Petersburg subway train that killed 15 people.

Two weeks before the Moscow theater massacre, Russian officials said they had eliminated members of the Islamic State group who planned to attack synagogues. Earlier this month, there were reports of the killing of six Islamic State militants in the Ingushetia region adjacent to Chechnya.


Bassem Mroue in Beirut, Lebanon, contributed to this report.

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