January 2, 2014

What people are saying about the terrorist attacks in Volgograd before Winter Olympics.

Michael Weiss, The Daily Beast: “The twin terrorist bombings that struck the city of Volgograd (Russia) came just five weeks before the most expensive Winter Olympics in history. … The return of big terror to central Russia tarnishes an otherwise excellent calendar run for serially awarded ‘person of the year’Vladimir Putin. He’s outfoxed the United States inSyria, bribed Ukraine out of moving closer to the European Union, transformed himself in the eyes of many from being a foremost human-rights abuser to the reluctant host of ‘human-rights campaigner’ Edward Snowden … and generally overseen the return to Russia to a position of geopolitical prominence.”

Chicago Tribune, editorial: “Putin’s stern response to the horrific suicide bombings in Volgograd this week may be seen as understandable and justified. But when a Russian strongman threatens terrorists with ‘complete annihilation,’ the words suggest he will not be terribly discriminating about meting out punishment. … Putin may have thought hosting the Olympics would boost his stature in Russia and elsewhere. The actual effect, though, has been to focus more attention on his thin skin … and unquenchable need for control.”

Ariel Cohen, Fox News: “Moscow-run security services do provide … poor intelligence work against terrorist targets and sloppy security procedures. Throw in rampant corruption among the secret police and law enforcement, and you have all the ingredients needed for continuing security disasters.”

Masha Gessen, The New York Times: “The Soviet combination of powerlessness and pretense has been recreated. … State employees are afraid to make a move unless directed to do so by a higher-up. But … they are finely attuned to expectations and always ready to say whatever they feel the audience is waiting to hear. They know that if they report that they have identified the terrorist, in time someone else will report that the terrorist’s accomplices have been arrested, and then someone else will announce that the accomplices have been brought to justice — and all together they will move up the career ladder.”

Brian Michael Jenkins, U.S. News & World Report: ” Would it not have been more effective to carry out a terrorist attack in Sochi itself, and to do so during or just before the Olympics? The easiest explanation is that the terrorists had an operational capability in Volgograd and chose to use it before it was detected by authorities. … Carrying out attacks in Volgograd also reminds Russians that heavy security in Sochi is no guarantee against terrorist attacks elsewhere in Russia.”