Tuesday night, one day after the Boston Marathon explosions, I had a speaking engagement focusing on Vladimir Putin and my novel. I ended the talk saying that if the police and FBI were to find out the perpetrators of the explosions were international terrorists, Putin would be involved. He’s been calling for a joint blacklist of terrorists between the US and Russia to no avail, since the US believes that Russia’s blacklist consists of political dissidents as well. I asked the audience if Putin is still the bad guy for wanting to serve his country’s interests first by protecting it, and meanwhile, cooperate with the US. All I heard was crickets and a few anti-Putin grumbles in the back.
Fast forward to yesterday, Friday. I wake up to hear that…surprise, surprise, the terrorists may have Chechen ties. One even went back to Dagestan last year on a mystery trip. The manhunt then came to end last night, thankfully, and I woke up again this morning to hear that Vladimir Putin is calling for a cooperation between US and Russian intelligence; he will help the US in any way possible.
Bet those audience members from Tuesday night are saying, “Damn, that little woman who wrote about Putin was right!”
Damn straight I am. I know Putin and I know that, like any leader of any country, he serves his nation’s interests first, and rightfully so. (When has the US not served its interests first?) Russians have been fighting Chechen terrorism since the 19th century, including most notably the Beslan school hostage crisis in 2004 and the Moscow theater siege in 2002. Both events ended horrifically and both were caused by Chechen rebels. This group of terrorists is no joke. They’re terrifying; and if you look up the details of Beslan and what happened to the children, I promise you, you’ll want to vomit.
Thus it makes sense that Putin is calling for a joint blacklist and shared intelligence. The US needs to cooperate. I know we’re sore over the Russian adoption ban, and Russia is pissed about the Magnitsky Act…but even stubborn Putin understands what happened in Boston is much bigger than all of it. He and Russians, they understand terror, much more than we do here; they’ve lived with it on a daily basis…not once in a while, like here. They’ve seen black widow suicide bombers on their streets, apartment buildings blown up, children thrown from windows like pieces of garbage, and two bloody wars with Chechnya. In other words, Putin and Russia have a vested interest in finding these terrorists too and bringing them to justice.
Putin’s interest extends even further due to one major upcoming event: the 2014 Winter Olympics. This is his baby and will be held in Sochi, Russia, a mere 300 miles from the terrorist region. The last thing Putin wants is a terrorist plot to be carried out at his precious Olympic games. If that were to happen, all hell would break loose. Just look at Putin’s bloody, brutal Second Chechen War that he started as prime minister in 1999. That war went on for a long time, and if you go to Chechnya today…I guarantee you, you won’t see much except a lot of leftover destruction and dirt.
I hope the result of this tragedy will be that the US and Russia cooperate on intelligence. We’re fighting the same war. We have a common enemy, thus we’re friends.
By the way, in my novel, I, Putin, I had an extensive chapter about Chechnya and the Chechen War, but I ended up taking it out. I felt it didn’t fit with the rest of the book. But I will go back and look at that chapter today; perhaps I’ll post it online…
My thoughts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon explosions and the police officer killed and the other seriously wounded during the manhunt.