With Boston top of mind, House panels to hold hearing on Islamist extremism in Chechnya

Chris Moody
Political Reporter
The Ticket

More than a week after two ethnic Chechen men allegedly detonated two deadly bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, a House panel plans to examine Islamist radicalism in Chechnya.

The House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, and the subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats have scheduled a joint hearing on Friday to explore whether the separatist movement in Chechnya—a republic in southwestern Russia—poses a threat to the United States.

At the panel—titled, "Islamist Extremism in Chechnya: A Threat to the U.S. Homeland?"—lawmakers will hear testimony from two experts on the region's politics: professor Paul Globe of the Institute of World Politics and Craig Douglas Albert, assistant professor of political science at Georgia Regents University Augusta.

For many years, ethnic Chechen rebels have tried to assert control of the area, at times using terrorist tactics to fight against the Russian government.

Early reports suggest that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is suspected of planting the bombs with his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev—killed last week after a shootout with police—did not have ties to the Chechen separatist movement. Both brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan. Dzhokhar was a naturalized U.S. citizen, while Tamerlan's citizenship application was still pending at the time of his death.