NewsMoscow attack exposes cracks in Putin's security facade

Moscow attack exposes cracks in Putin's security facade

"The wrath of the Kremlin will strike". Revenge for Corcus City Hall
"The wrath of the Kremlin will strike". Revenge for Corcus City Hall
Images source: © East News | MIKHAIL METZEL

12:56 PM EDT, March 25, 2024

German commentators have labelled the terrorist attack near Moscow as a significant embarrassment for Vladimir Putin. They argue that Russian security forces, preoccupied with suppressing dissent, overlooked clear warnings from the Islamic State and the United States. The Kremlin is expected to lash out at Ukraine in response.

Stefan Kornelius, in "Sueddeutsche Zeitung," recounts the suspicious bombings in Russia during August 1999, amidst Putin's swift ascension alongside President Boris Yeltsin, from leading the FSB to becoming Prime Minister. These bombings, which left a mysterious trail leading back to Chechnya and Dagestan, have sparked enduring speculation about the possible involvement of Russian special services. They bolstered Putin's image as a decisive leader, setting the stage for further military actions in Chechnya.

Kornelius suggests that these attacks and the fear they instilled served as justification for Putin's military endeavours in Chechnya, cementing his authoritative image. He views the recent attack on a concert hall in Krasnogorsk as both a tragedy and a direct threat to a regime that has redefined terror to target Ukraine. According to Kornelius, despite the overt focus on Ukraine, the inability to guard against Islamist threats signals a grave oversight.

The ambiguity surrounding the attack's perpetrators leaves room for speculation about Ukrainian involvement, yet the possibility of a Russian orchestration, akin to the 1999 scenario, cannot be dismissed. This scenario allowed for military mobilization and tightened control under the guise of security.
Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine, Putin has managed to maintain a semblance of normalcy within Russia, easing the economic strain on its citizens and promising extensive protection against both perceived and real threats.
"Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" describes the Moscow concert hall attack as heinous, underscoring the swift international condemnation. Despite varying interpretations, the failure to thwart the attack reveals Putin's Russia as more susceptible to external threats, contradicting his claims of fortified strength.
Gregor Schwung, in "Die Welt," stresses that the attack highlights Putin's failure to uphold his implicit contract with the Russian people, promising security in exchange for their freedoms. The immediate blame cast on Ukraine, although expected, serves to deflect from this failure.
For two years, Putin has depicted Kyiv as a significant menace, ignoring warnings of ISIS threats. This narrative's collapse signals a broader crisis of legitimacy.

In "Tageszeitung," Inna Hartwig criticizes the Russian government's fixation on labelling dissenters as terrorists while neglecting genuine threats. Putin's delayed response to the attack mirrors his historical pattern of evasive behaviour in crisis situations, indicating a preference for control over transparency.

The attack near Moscow underscores a habitual pattern of delayed and deflective responses by Putin in the face of disaster, reminiscent of his reactions to past crises such as the Kursk submarine disaster, the Dubrowka theater hostage situation, and the Beslan school siege. This reluctance to confront uncomfortable truths has led to intensified propaganda, especially regarding "a Ukrainian trail," as the Kremlin seeks to mute criticism and maintain its narrative.
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