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Russians Back Putin in Blaming Ukraine for Concert Hall Attack

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Russians Back Putin in Blaming Ukraine for Concert Hall Attack

Despite Isis’ claim of responsibility on the night of the attack, Putin said on Monday that the assault was part of a larger offensive strategy by “the neo-Nazi Kyiv regime,” claiming that the terrorists were retreating towards the Ukrainian border, where a “window” was waiting for them.

Moscow has not admitted any flaws in its intelligence and security systems. Putin authorities have now blamed the US and the UK for allegedly supporting Ukraine in the scheme.

European nations have warned Moscow of an enhanced Islamist threat, and the US embassy in Moscow issued alerts in early March about the increasing possibility of Isis attacks on public places.

However, Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of the Russian Security Council, and Alexander Bortnikov, head of the FSB domestic security service, have instead focused on the Ukraine line, claiming that the four alleged terrorists, who show visible signs of torture after their arrest, confirmed the “Ukrainian trail” during interrogation.

Russians Back Putin in Blaming Ukraine for Concert Hall Attack

Many Russians polled after the incident supported the Ukraine argument. According to polling data from OpenMinds, an Anglo-Ukrainian internet pollster that shared its findings with the Financial Times, more than half blamed the Ukrainian leadership, with only roughly 27% pointing to Isis. Another 6% blamed the “collective West,” which included the United States, the United Kingdom, and NATO.

According to OpenMinds statistics, more than 75 percent of respondents said Putin was the most trusted or entirely accurate source of information on the incident.

“If the propaganda and authorities blame Ukraine as the main narrative, people will believe it, because control over the information space is almost absolute,” said Denis Volkov, a sociologist and director of the independent Russian polling center Levada.

He said Russians often demanded a “strong hand” and a stern response to acts of terrorism on this scale, such as Putin’s promise to “flush terrorists down the toilet” in 1999, when the Kremlin ordered the bombing of Chechnya.

Putin’s rhetoric this time centered on Kyiv because he sees the conflict as existential, putting Russia against Ukraine and the West, according to Tatiana Stanovaya, senior fellow at the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center.

Russians Back Putin in Blaming Ukraine for Concert Hall Attack

“Putin believes they want to destroy Russia, so any apparent attempt to do so is attributed to them. Is it advantageous to Ukraine? Are Ukrainians pleased about it? Did they have the technical ability to complete it? Then it must be them,” Stanovaya added, pointing out that the president’s words indicated that his officials lacked substantial evidence to back up their allegation.

“He clearly believes it was Ukraine and [that] the lack of evidence so far is because they haven’t searched well enough,” she said. “The rest of the elite follow Putin’s lead.”

However, some Russians are skeptical about the Ukrainian trial. According to OpenMinds research, younger individuals and those opposed to the Ukraine war were more likely to blame ISIS than Kyiv for the attack. Among those who opposed the fighting, 50% blamed Isis, compared to 12% who supported it.

“Russians are good at repeating propaganda narratives in opinion polls,” said Aleksei Miniailo, a Moscow-based opposition activist and co-founder of Chronicles, a public opinion research organization. This was not so much a “sign of active support” as a “reflection of their inability to make any changes,” he explained.

According to Chronicles surveys, many individuals answered “yes” to generic questions about the war but “no” to more sophisticated questions on whether they favored spending more public money on the war than on social welfare, he added.

Following the music hall attack, Russian authorities took the extraordinary step of publishing video evidence of security personnel torturing and beating the suspects. All four were bruised when they appeared in court on March 24, including one with a bandaged head who had been forced to eat a portion of his ear after it had been severed by his torturers. Another detainee was taken in on a stretcher and appeared to be unconscious.

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The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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