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Boston suspects' Chechen family traveled long road

Posted by on Apr. 21, 2013 at 9:49 PM
  • 20 Replies

Boston suspects' Chechen family traveled long road

TOKMOK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) — The two brothers accused of blowing up homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon came from a Chechen family that for decades had been tossed from one country to another by war and persecution.

Their father and former neighbors from Kyrgyzstan — home to many Chechens who were deported from their native villages bySoviet dictator Josef Stalin — tell of a family often on the move in search of safety and a better life.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who was killed in a shootout, and his 19-year-old brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was captured alive, had moved to the United States about a decade ago with their parents and two sisters. By all accounts, the younger brother had many friends, but his older brother felt alienated from American society and in recent years had turned increasingly to Islam.

Although neither spent much time in Chechnya, a province in southern Russia that has been torn apart by war and an Islamic insurgency, both strongly identified themselves as Chechens. They took up boxing and wrestling, two of the most popular sports in Chechnya, where people are proud of their warrior traditions.

The brothers' story begins in Tokmok, a town about 60 kilometers (35 miles) from the capital of Kyrgyzstan, a country in Central Asia that was once part of the Soviet Union. Stalin rounded up the Chechens and shipped them east during World War II, seeing them as potentially disloyal. Their father, Anzor Tsarnaev, was born in Kyrgyzstan.

"This was a very good family," Badrudi Tsokoev, a fellow Chechen who lived next door to the Tsarnaevs, said Saturday. "They all strove to get a higher education, to somehow set themselves up in life."

The brothers' grandfather had died tragically when a shell exploded as he was scavenging for metal that could be sold as scrap, neighbors said.

After the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, the family moved to Chechnya, only to have war break out in 1994 between Russian troops and Chechen separatists fighting for an independent homeland. Dzhokhar was born in 1993 and shares the name of Chechnya's first separatist leader.

The fierce battles, which reduced much of Chechnya to rubble, sent the Tsarnaevs fleeing back to Kyrgyzstan with their two young sons, a daughter and another one on the way.

"As soon as the war started they came back," said Nadezhda Nazarenko, another former neighbor in Tokmok. The children's mother "described how they were in clothes they would wear only around the house and fled the bombing, managing only to grab their documents and a few things."

Neighbors said Anzor Tsarnaev, who had studied law and previously served in the prosecutor's office, worked hard to provide for his family.

"Soon they began to live well and renovated their home," Nazarenko said. "The children did well in school and were well behaved."

Russian troops rolled into Chechnya again in 1999 and took it under Moscow's control. The same year, the Tsarnaev family moved back to Russia, according to Anzor Tsarnaev, settling briefly in Dagestan, which like neighboring Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim republic. They left from there in 2002 for the United States, joining relatives who had emigrated earlier.

Anzor Tsarnaev told The Associated Press that the move to the U.S. was motivated in part by a desire to escape discrimination against Chechens in Russia and Kyrgyzstan.

He returned about a year ago to Dagestan, which has become the epicenter of the Islamic insurgency that spilled over from Chechnya to spread throughout the North Caucasus region.

His elder son visited him last year, according to neighbors in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan.

No evidence has emerged to connect Tamerlan Tsarnaev with the insurgents, who have carried out a series of terrorist attacks in Russia. The FBI said it interviewed him in 2011 at the request of an unspecified foreign government and found nothing of concern at the time.

Anzor Tsarnaev visited his hometown in Kyrgyzstan last year, according to Tsokoev, the former neighbor. "He was very happy and proud of his sons' success in the U.S.," Tsokoev said. "We also were happy for him. He worked hard to give his children a good education."

Tsarnaev, who worked as an auto mechanic in the U.S., seems unable to comprehend that his sons could have been involved in such a gruesome bombing.

"These children were brought up with kindness," Tsarnaev said in an interview shown Saturday on Russian television. "We're a family of lawyers, and everyone who knows us knows that."

by on Apr. 21, 2013 at 9:49 PM
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FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Apr. 21, 2013 at 9:54 PM
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Interesting.

At this point, I am at a loss as to where it all went south.

AlekD
by Gold Member on Apr. 21, 2013 at 9:55 PM
1 mom liked this
Interesting, thanks for posting.
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AlekD
by Gold Member on Apr. 21, 2013 at 9:59 PM
No wonder their family seems to be unanimous in thinking they were set up. It would be hard to accept your kids doing this after fighting so hard for so long to help them make a better life for themselves. I hope we get answers.
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muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on Apr. 21, 2013 at 10:02 PM

I dont think we will get answers. 

Quoting AlekD:

No wonder their family seems to be unanimous in thinking they were set up. It would be hard to accept your kids doing this after fighting so hard for so long to help them make a better life for themselves. I hope we get answers.


FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Apr. 21, 2013 at 10:04 PM


Quoting muslimahpj:

I dont think we will get answers. 

Quoting AlekD:

No wonder their family seems to be unanimous in thinking they were set up. It would be hard to accept your kids doing this after fighting so hard for so long to help them make a better life for themselves. I hope we get answers.


I like to hope we will but I highly doubt it.

Considering  the one who holds many of the answers people want is dead........... not that he would have gladly answered any questions otherwise.

OHgirlinCA
by Platinum Member on Apr. 21, 2013 at 10:11 PM
This family obviously wanted a better life for their children. They seemed to have found it, so why did the brothers do what they did? What caused them to hate the very place that gave them an opportunity for a good future? It's mind boggling to me.
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rfurlongg
by on Apr. 21, 2013 at 10:24 PM


Quoting AlekD:

No wonder their family seems to be unanimous in thinking they were set up. It would be hard to accept your kids doing this after fighting so hard for so long to help them make a better life for themselves. I hope we get answers.
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desertlvn
by Silver Member on Apr. 21, 2013 at 10:29 PM
1 mom liked this


I keep coming back to the mother who shoplifted and raves about the boys being set up. 

Quoting OHgirlinCA:

This family obviously wanted a better life for their children. They seemed to have found it, so why did the brothers do what they did? What caused them to hate the very place that gave them an opportunity for a good future? It's mind boggling to me.



muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on Apr. 21, 2013 at 10:36 PM


Quoting FromAtoZ:


Quoting muslimahpj:

I dont think we will get answers. 

Quoting AlekD:

No wonder their family seems to be unanimous in thinking they were set up. It would be hard to accept your kids doing this after fighting so hard for so long to help them make a better life for themselves. I hope we get answers.


I like to hope we will but I highly doubt it.

Considering  the one who holds many of the answers people want is dead........... not that he would have gladly answered any questions otherwise.

I dont understand why the older brother is the one who holds all the answers. I dont think the younger one is the way the media has been trying to portray him, a victim of his older brother.

KreatingMe
by Silver Member on Apr. 21, 2013 at 10:39 PM

According to a news program I watched today, it's " our" fault meaning general Americans because they didn't feel welcomed and accepted enough. Ugh, I don't know. Feeling disenfranchised is horrible. Feeling excluded is one of the worst things that a person can go through, after all we are nothing more than pack animals. However, something still doesn't sit right with me. Lots of people are disenfranchised in our society, the poor, the mentally ill, etc and the majority of them don't commit heinous acts. The majority of them never hurt anyone but themselves. I think it's absolutely true that we as Americans and as fellow human beings, need to be kinder to all people and look for similarities not differences. I also think we need to emphasize personal responsibility for ones actions. 

Quoting OHgirlinCA:

This family obviously wanted a better life for their children. They seemed to have found it, so why did the brothers do what they did? What caused them to hate the very place that gave them an opportunity for a good future? It's mind boggling to me.


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