NewsKremlin may escalate aggression after Krasnogorsk attack, experts warn

Kremlin may escalate aggression after Krasnogorsk attack, experts warn

According to the OSW experts, Putin will want to use the attack near Moscow as a pretext for escalating aggression against Ukraine and Western countries.
According to the OSW experts, Putin will want to use the attack near Moscow as a pretext for escalating aggression against Ukraine and Western countries.
Images source: © PAP | PAP/EPA/ERDEM SAHIN
3:37 AM EDT, March 25, 2024
Regardless of who orchestrated the attack in Krasnogorsk, it will likely be leveraged by the Kremlin to unite Russian citizens against perceived external threats, according to experts from the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW). They observe that Russian political commentary aims to associate the attack's perpetrators with Ukraine and the West.
Experts Marek Menkiszak and Piotr Żochowski from OSW suggest that Russian propaganda has been framing Ukraine as a haven for Islamic radicals, including ISIS terrorists. They believe the Kremlin may use the attack as grounds to intensify its aggression towards Ukraine and Western nations.
They also note that the Russian government and military's disregard for Western cautions and their failure to enhance security for public events could fuel conspiracy theories about Ukrainian and Western complicity, masking their own negligence.

Anti-immigrant sentiment in Russia expected to rise

The attack's high casualty rate and emergency services' delayed response might amplify public dissatisfaction, including backlash against the government, though any political repercussions are deemed unlikely by OSW experts.
They foresee a surge in anti-immigrant sentiment within Russia. There could be sporadic violence against immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia. The analysis also suggests that the Russian government might tacitly encourage this reaction to divert societal grievances.

Russians may be more accepting of a draft

Following the attack near Moscow, Vladimir Putin vowed that all perpetrators of the "bloody and barbaric attack" would face justice.
Analyst Anna Maria Dyner from the Polish Institute of International Affairs commented on Putin's statement, which alluded to alleged Ukrainian official support for the attackers and likened them to Nazis, hinting at the probable direction of the Russian inquiry.

Experts posit that the incident could be exploited by the Kremlin to justify further mobilization efforts. With ambitions to penetrate Ukrainian defences, a significant recruitment drive is contemplated, potentially involving 300,000 recruits. The event may foster public acquiescence towards an extensive draft.

Russian media disseminates fabricated footage

Recalling the events of March 22, approximately five masked gunmen stormed the Crocus City Hall concert venue in Krasnogorsk, northwest of Moscow, unleashing gunfire on civilians and setting off explosives that collapsed the building's roof. The attack resulted in at least 133 fatalities and around 140 injuries.
The assailants, using vehicles registered in Belarus and Tver Oblast, escaped. The Islamic State, through its media arm Al-Amaq Agency, claimed responsibility, further substantiated by a subsequent release featuring images of four involved terrorists.
Following the catastrophe, Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of Russia's Security Council, warned of severe retribution against any "Kyiv regime terrorists" implicated. Meanwhile, certain Russian outlets circulated a mendacious video, allegedly showcasing a Ukrainian official celebrating the attack, illustrating the extent of disinformation surrounding the event.
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