Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 6 Issue: 27

President Vladimir Putin on July 7 offered his condolences over the terrorist bombings in London and used the occasion to inveigh once again about what he sees as double standards in the international community’s attitude toward terrorism. “What happened today demonstrates yet again that we are doing too little to unite our efforts in the most effective way in the battle against terrorism,” Putin said, adding that there must not be any “double standards whatsoever in assessing bloody crimes similar to those carried out in London today,” the Moscow Times reported. Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin was somewhat more explicit, telling Channel One television in a clear reference to Chechen rebel envoy Akhmed Zakaev: “First, terrorists must be caught and tried – in Britain too, where sometimes, in our opinion, they have been granted asylum.”

State Duma International Affairs Committee Chairman Konstantin Kosachev on July 8 called on Russia’s law-enforcement agencies to be more efficient in seeking Zakaev’s extradition. Interfax quoted Kosachev as telling reporters that British judicial authorities might consider another request for Zakaev’s extradition irrespective of the London bombings.

Zakaev, for his part, expressed “deep sympathy and condolences” to all Londoners in a statement posted on the separatist Chechenpress website on July 7. “Only villainous ends can be pursued with terrorist actions,” the statement read. “Chechens like no one else understand Londoners, inasmuch as we ourselves have been terrorized by Russia for more than ten years. A majority of our cities and villages were wiped from the face of the earth, and the number of civilians killed exceeds 200,000. We have no doubts that the terrorists who attacked London and the terrorist state machine of Russia have long-standing ties, coordinate their actions and pursue common goals. As a person forced to live in London with my family, I express sympathy and condolences to Londoners, in the name of all Chechens who have found refuge in the United Kingdom.” In an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio on July 7, Zakaev said he thought the London bombings were related to Britain’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Chechen President Alu Alkhanov also offered condolences to those affected by the London terrorist attacks, Interfax reported on July 7. “I offer deep condolences to the families of those killed and injured in the terrorist attacks in London on the part of the leadership and the long-suffering Chechen people,” he said in a statement. “The events in Great Britain clearly demonstrate that we have to unite our efforts in the fight against terrorism and extremism, which have neither nationality nor religion.”