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Profile: Tamerlan And Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

New Boston Suspect Photo Released i
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April 19, 2013
Boston police have released a new photo of the surviving Marathon bombing suspect. The picture was taken from the video camera in a convenience store in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The other suspect died after a shoot-out with police. (AP)

Boston police on April 19 released a new photo of the surviving marathon-bombings suspect. The photo was taken in a convenience store in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The other suspect died after a shoot-out with police. (AP video)

By Richard Solash and Claire Bigg
The young men identified as suspects in this week's Boston Marathon bombing are brothers of ethnic Chechen origin with family ties in Central Asia, and at least of one of whom reportedly had taken an increased interest in Islam in recent years.

The suspect who was captured alive late on April 19 after a massive manhunt was identified as 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Police launched the hunt for Tsarnaev after his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan -- also a suspect in the bombing -- was killed earlier in the day in a shootout with police in Watertown, near Boston.

Biographic details on the Tsarnaevs are now beginning to emerge.

Tamerlan was born in Kyrgyzstan and Dzhokhar is thought to have been born in the southern Russian republic of Daghestan, according to some relatives and Kyrgyz officials interviewed by RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service*.

ALSO SEE: Boston Authorities Say Second Bombing Suspect Caught Alive After Massive Manhunt

According to Ruslan Tsarni, who identified himself to U.S. media as the boys' uncle, the family moved to the United States around 2003.

However, details of the men's status in the United States remain unclear.
Dzhokhar TsarnaevDzhokhar Tsarnaev
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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Unnamed sources told CNN that Dzhokhar came to the United States as a tourist with his family before requesting asylum. A number of reports said he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2012.

A source told CNN that Tamerlan came to the United States several years later and was a green-card holder.

The information could not be independently verified.

Prior to moving to the United States, the family also spent time in the North Caucasus.

INTERVIEW: More About Tsarnaev Brothers And Their Ancestral Homeland

On what appears to be his vKontakte page, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev says he studied at School No. 1 in Makhachkala, Daghestan, sometime between 1999 and 2001.

The school principal, Temirmagomed Davydov, said that Dzhokhar attended first grade while his brother Tamerlan attended eighth grade at the time.

Yelena Bandurina, a spokeswoman for the school, told RFE/RL: “They studied one year at our school. There were also two sisters. They arrived from Kyrgyzstan and then moved to America.”

WATCH: An interview with the headmaster of the school in Makhachkala that the Tsarnaevs attended:
Headmaster Of Tsarnaev Brothers' Former Schooli
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April 19, 2013
The headmaster of Boston bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's former school in the Russian republic of Daghestan, Temirmagomed Davydov, says they all left Makhachkala for the United States in March 2002. (Reuters video)

Dzhokhar was later enrolled at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Massachusetts, winning a $2,500 scholarship in 2011 and captaining his high-school wrestling team as a senior.

He is currently enrolled as a student at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Czechs Aghast As Twitter Users Conflate Them With Boston's 'Chechen' Suspects

Tamerlan, meanwhile, appears to have had Olympic boxing ambitions, training at a martial arts center in Boston and appearing in a photo essay by Johannes Hirn called "Will Box For Passport" and going on to represent New England in a 2009 national boxing competition in Utah.

That story quotes Tamerlan as saying that unless his native Chechnya becomes independent, he would rather compete for the United States than for Russia.

"I don't have a single American friend," he is quoted as saying. "I don't understand them."

Tamerlan studied at Bunker Hill Community College with aims of becoming an engineer. He had a wife and a young daughter.
An FBI handout photo of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar (left) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the crowd near the finish line on April 15.An FBI handout photo of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar (left) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the crowd near the finish line on April 15.
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An FBI handout photo of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar (left) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the crowd near the finish line on April 15.
An FBI handout photo of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Dzhokhar (left) and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the crowd near the finish line on April 15.

Sources quoted in the U.S. media, including the brothers' aunt, say that Tamerlan, and perhaps Dzhokhar, had taken an increased interest in Islam in recent years.

An unnamed "family friend" quoted by "The Wall Street Journal" says Tamerlan dropped out of school and had become drawn into religion. The source says Dzhokhar had also devoted more attention to Islam recently.

Maret Tsarnaeva, the aunt, told AP that Tamerlan had started praying five times a day two years ago or so.

What appears to be Tamerlan's YouTube page lists links labeled "terrorists" and videos of Islamic teachings. In one video, singing is heard as bombs explode from high-rise buildings.

BACKGROUND: Analyst Liz Fuller's 2010 overview of websites linked with the North Caucasus insurgency

“The elder went to the mosque. The FBI often came to our home and asked about us, about our thoughts," Anzor Tsarnaev, the father of the two suspects, told RFE/RL's North Caucasus Service from Makhachkala. "The younger studied and was far away from all this. They just killed them. If anything had happened, they would not have killed them. They just needed to get rid of them."

Dzhokhar's vKontakte page lists his world view as "Islam," his personal priority as "career and money," and his languages as English, Russian, and Chechen.

It also has jokes: "A car's on the move. A Daghestani, a Chechen, and an Ingush are sitting in it. Question -- who's driving? Answer -- the police."

It also known that Tamerlan traveled out of the United States at least twice.

Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler said he spent 10 days in Turkey in 2003.

Law-enforcement officials told U.S. media that Tamerlan traveled to Russia from the United States in 2012 and returned six months later.

Meanwhile, those who knew the brothers in Cambridge are expressing shock.

George McMasters, the aquatics coordinator at Harvard University, hired Dzhokhar as a lifeguard several years ago.

"I knew he was from Russia. I had asked him where he was from, with his name, [but] he seemed like a regular, young American boy," McMasters told RFE/RL. "He did know that I had been in Iraq [as a military reservist] and I was going to Afghanistan, so he asked me a little bit about what the wars were like. I told him it was tough duty and a lot of sad things, but he never pressed me for any information on explosives or anything like that."

Samuel Gebru, one of Dzhokhar's schoolmates, told RFE/RL that he was "bright" and "happy" and "an active member of our community."

He said he hoped that observers would not rush to judge Dzhokhar before a complete investigation. He also said he hoped others would consider "the bigger picture."

"This incident does not define who we are as a people in Cambridge and worldwide, as a whole," Gebru said, "that there is more to Cambridge, there is more to Chechnya, there is more to Islam, there is more to immigration than this issue in particular."

*CORRECTION: This story previously quoted a Kyrgyz Interior Ministry source confirming that both Tsarnaev brothers were born in Kyrgyzstan. Other sources say that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, was born in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan, near the border with Kazakhstan, and 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was born in Daghestan.

Written by Richard Solash in Washington and Claire Bigg and other Central Newsroom staff in Prague; with additional material from RFE/RL's North Caucasus and Kyrgyz services
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by: Jack from: US
April 19, 2013 16:34
Tsarnaev brothers are peaceful Sunni Muslim activists, who came to US to do peaceful protests. US government supports and sponsors peaceful Sunni Muslim activists everywhere, from Kosovo to Syria. Hillari Clinton is big friend of peaceful Sunni Muslim activists. She and her husband brought in tens of thousands of peaceful Muslims into US, and trained some of them in flight schools
In Response

by: Mack
April 20, 2013 10:38
Before attacking Muslims or the Clintons very broadly, you might check out how Hillary is spelled.

by: Bill Webb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
April 19, 2013 17:25
Just like most of us knew from the start - muslims. How did this human garbage get into the U.S. to begin with? Follow the money.
In Response

by: Annoyed
April 20, 2013 00:41
Really? I think that comments like that come from human garbage.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
April 19, 2013 18:59
VIDEO: The Tsarnayev brothers and how their sad life in the US made them angry - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aiXKpRFt_c&feature=youtube_gdata_player
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
April 20, 2013 10:09
Eugenio and his Russia, with well prepared "plausibility",
Pinning preparation of Russian invasion into Georgia
And Azerbaijan again, use convenient "deny-ability".
Like last USA-Russia hockey's "may-hammier" -
Behind-kick "nevznachay", scoring cannily.

Sure USA is as ugly racist plagio-enslaver,
As is Russia - mostly Russian's instigated.
I and my mother suffered, from USA killers,
But agencies staffed with Russia-provoker.
Your set-up here to kill us was propagated.

Chechens too, not unlike me, victims here.
Eugeinio with Russia got killed my mother.
Plagiarized Prince of Vaziristan killed father
Triggered him - the "dead" CIA agents case
Was used put him in prison, for plagiarizers.

USA is as bad as Russia that instigates US.
Still, Russia most likely used it to brainwash,
Scare Bostonians ask US let Russia invade
Dagestan-Azerbaijan corridor for your "vosh"
To invade it and Georgia - breed in their land.

Look my post on "Chechs Aghast as Twitter"...
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
April 20, 2013 13:08
Constantine, I am just wondering: did the Russo-Prussian-Austrian Pact of 1954 have anything to do with this heinous crime against humanity :-))? Anyways, I am sure that if Mischa Saakaschwili was in charge of preventing such acts from happening, he would have anticipated those bad terrorists well in advance and would have shown them there place - the same way he did with bloody Russia in August 2008 :-)).
Cheers from Vienna, Consti :-)!! Imagine, here no one is bombing no one even those the city is full is (primarily Turkish) Muslims :-))! Why is it, actually? Any ideas, Constantine :-))??
In Response

by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
April 20, 2013 20:08
Sure it does, initially, however, humans adapt to situation.
They also play each-other turning "Pact" into impaleation
Of co-conspirators - by Russian pipelines dependency
And dismantling USA to level of Russian's insurgency,
Taking over the world - to breed-out neighbor nations.

by: Sergey from: Chicago, Illinois, USA
April 20, 2013 08:04
What's most important about these brothers is not their ethnicity or country of origin, but the fact that they are Jihadists who essentially committed an act of war against the country that took them in and gave them all the opportunities in life, including possibility of good education, career, personal safety, etc. They chose the path of Jihad against the country that sheltered them. Lesson: Islamic fanatics should be kept out of the US or any other civilized country.

http://frontpagemag.com/2013/robert-spencer/jihad-in-boston-2/


In Response

by: Andy
April 20, 2013 11:26
Seems a bit early to presume to know their motives.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
April 20, 2013 08:56
So, guys, why is it that there are not too many comments on this forum explaining why it is that people like the brothers pictured above - who live in the US legally, who apparently have no money problem, who could just pursue the careers as ingeneers in this "wonderful" country - hate the US so much that they are ready to bomb the damn ... out of it? What is it, guys, that makes you, Beavuses, so universally hated? Please explain!
In Response

by: Andy
April 20, 2013 11:27
The actions of what appears to have been two deranged terrorists warrant introspection as to why the citizens of a country are "universally hated"? You're losin' it, Eugenio. Quoting the president of the United States here, who unlike leaders in many places around the world is unafraid of actually asking wrenching questions: "Obviously tonight there are still many unanswered questions. Among them: Why did young men who grew up and studied here as part of our communities and country resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks, and did they receive any help? The families of those killed so senselessly deserve answers."
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
April 20, 2013 13:04
Well, Andy, thank you for trying to answer my questions by quoting Joseph W. Goebbels, and yet your claim that this is just one isolated action by "two deranged terrorists" is not very convincing. You know perfectly well that there are PLENTY of such actions committed on a weekly basis and aimed at killing US citizens: those actions regularly take place in Afghanistan, for example, and - when the US had troops in Iraq - those actions were happening there on a regular basis as well. So, you see a pattern of "universal love" towards the United States here? Ok, it's your right to see it this way of course :-)).
But another thing appears interesting: the United States has spent the last 12 YEARS implementing anti-terror measure on its onw territory. Those measures are aimed specifically at preventing this kind of terrorist acts from happening - and yet they happen!!! So, why is it that US govt and its agencies are so inept and incompetent that they can not prevent two guys legally residing in Boston from from carrying out those acts? At any rate, to me it sounds like those US agencies are staffed with a bunch of incompetent losers who have no idea what they are doing. And those are the people who think they should tell others how to live and how not to :-)).
In Response

by: Andy
April 20, 2013 17:20
You're equating the Boston Marathon bombings to attacks on an occupying military? Whoof, not sure that one requires a response.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
April 20, 2013 18:34
Dear Andy, what happened in New York in 2001 and in Boston in 2013 is intimately linked with the US policy of supporting Islamic terrorism abroad. Look, for example, the US has spent the entire decade of the 1980s to arms and finance such individuals as Osama bin-Laden in Afg. - and in 2001 this very same Osama used the skills and aptitudes acquired with the US help to bomb New York.
The same way the US govt has spent the entire decade of the 1990s arming and financing the Chechen rebels (with the purpose of weakening Russia) and in 2013 some of those whose families have apparently been armed and trained by the US govt are using these skills in order to bomb Boston.
And if not, Andy, how do you explain the fact that these two guys who are not even 30 years old were able to put together TWO functional explosive artefacts that killed people on the streets of Boston? Do you really think that those two youngsters managed to build those artifacts without any previous specialized technical training? Who trained them? Who financed them? Those very same people who trained, financed and armed the Chechen rebels throughout the 1990s - the US and Saudi Arabia, those two "great democracies".

by: Jack from: US
April 20, 2013 15:19
according to news reports FBI questioned Tsarnaev brothers "on request of a foreign government". The "foreign government" was Russian government. While evil Russian government claimed Tsarnaev brothers are "terrorists", FBI officials correctly followed US government directive that Sunni Muslims are peaceful activists and big friends of Hillary Clinton. US government continues to sponsor and support peaceful Sunni Muslim activists everywhere, from Kosovo to Syria. US government continues to bring more and more peaceful Sunni Muslims into US because US government is afraid of Christians who think bad of Hillary Clinton
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
April 20, 2013 18:09
Jack is making an interesting point as usual. And the fact that the US apparently ignored those repeted warnings of the Russian govt ones again emphysizes the same point: the US govt agencies are utterly incompetent. Or maybe are they getting paid by Saudi Arabia to ignore the warning similar to those of the Russian govt??? Any thoughts, Andy???

by: Vlad from: Ukraine
April 20, 2013 17:22
It doesn't really matter whether they were islamic extremists, false-flag victims, or simply some loners who didn't have anything better to do.

The point is that America had it coming. Americans should realize that most of the world dislikes them. Not because of jealousy, but because USA really does interfere with and ruin the lives of most people who refuse to conform to the American way.

Killing is bad and nobody should take the life of another. That said, lets start to see this incident in a more positive light. Start to look at it as an addition to the constant reminder that the world hates the USA.

Time to wake up Americans! Stop causing problems for everybody else and people will stop causing problems for you.
In Response

by: Jack from: US
April 21, 2013 13:48
70,000 Syrian people killed by peaceful Sunni Muslim activists should thank US government and US-propped flourishing democracies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar who sponsor and support peaceful Sunni Muslim activists, killing hundreds of Syrian people on a daily basis. That's how it should be because Syrian people did not agree with US government. They did not agree to replace their president with US-appointed one. But Ukrainian people had US-approved president Yuschenko, under whom the Ukraine reached new highs in economic development and democracy. Half of Ukrainians volunteer for low-paying jobs in Russia because Russia is so poor and the Ukraine is so rich, and Ukrainians have nothing to do in the Ukraine because it is so rich, all thanks to the US-approved president Yuschenko
In Response

by: Vlad from: Ukraine
April 21, 2013 21:25
It's a good comment - I think you proved my point even further. Imperialistic views held by Americans will always be one of the main driving forces for terror.

I respectfully disagree though, that Sunni Muslim activists are responsible for terrorism. They are just the only ones with enough courage to stand up to the American empire. As I said before, most people in the world would love to put a stop to American imperialism. Look at the North Koreans for example. Should they launch their missiles will we immediately attach an irreversible stigma onto buddhism too?

America is a land of immorality hidden behind the mask of liberal religious values. The world would be better of without it.

by: Anonymous
April 20, 2013 20:39
found some intriguing interviews.

maybe some positive and some controversial impressions.
the chechen family (of the boston suspects) in exile amongst all the rather negative features:

a critical uncle, somehow he succeeds in helping the audience to put contexts into perspective:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEFWClgWUWU

a suspicious aunt, some interesting points, some surprising ideas, some probably not tenable (judge for yourselves):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH5UW3W9hJM

and well, the mother of the two boston suspects - somewhat understandably she tries to excuse her kids, but turning to conspiracy theories is actually not very helpful...(but knowing her grief and her surprise, it's a tough situation):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bT0PrODVDbQ


eventually, the uncle in comparison to the mother is aware of his words and it seems (at least to me) that he tries his best to frame chechens in a more positive light against all these surging clichés, prejudice, ignorance (in terms of culture, location, wars, past...) and the aspects of generalization/stereotyping in the u.s.

none the less, some societies one day or other have to ask tough questions about the legitimacy of criticism towards religion and the manipulation and instrumentalization of religion.

still, the recent vote by senators concerning gun laws somehow illustrates that many u.s senators put the freedom of gun-lovers and gun-users even high above the freedom of victims (sometimes dead, some times wounded)...

so, why then tackle more complex issues? salafism, radicalization of youth, violence in societies, values, identity, etc.

unfortunately, it's highly likely that there'll be more attacks in the u.s. and other nations.

by: Anonymous
April 21, 2013 12:43
by the way:

u.s. and european aid to palestinian territories, great diplomatic relations, military support (now with syrian "rebels")?

this is how kids are educated...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV7a53s3HFg&list=UUpBvIBfZ-foo5ZbLH5O0N4g&index=3

(memri source)

(there is a myriad of similar footage, the list is long)

by: Anonymous
April 21, 2013 13:36
if anyone ever wondered what some motive might have been (like the FBI):

well, some links might hint at specific notions:

just a reminder how some children in various parts of the muslim world are educated. you might find easily some motives for the bombings:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SV7a53s3HFg&list=UUpBvIBfZ-foo5ZbLH5O0N4g&index=3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuGcrhaiEaQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYGJyS6oliM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZTcYKwnehY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1lMKX-Le1I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8sOQeNKf-o

in short: children learn to hate jews, to disrespect non-muslims, to fight and free al-aqsa and the mosque (jerusalem + temple dome, thus to kill and/or fight the infidels for religious reasons, etc. etc.)

an interpretation of european and american aid to muslim nations (in this case egypt)
as "jizya" (fee paid by unbelievers):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mubO2BavNOM&list=UUpBvIBfZ-foo5ZbLH5O0N4g

why address these issues? education in muslim nations is definitely a factor to be considered.
(another day maybe education in yeshiwot according to some rabbis like ovadia yussef (jewish schools), radical hindusim, christian fanatics, etc. etc.

chomsky in an interview + article highlighted the fact that some species on earth have the tendency to be annhilated or to destroy themselves after a span of 100.000 years.

http://contemporarylit.about.com/cs/firstchapters/a/hegemony.htm

well, trying to their best...incompetent politicians and other decision makers and of course radical religious fanatics pave the way...
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