Boston bombs: Chechyna, the war-raved region that fell under the spell of jihadists

When the attack happened in April 2013, the question on everyone’s mind was “How did two young ethnic Chechens come to bring bloodshed to the streets of America?”

The answer lies in the way that conflict in Russia’s North Caucasus has changed over time from a nationalist struggle to an Islamist insurgency, connected to the ideology of global jihad.

When Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston bomber found guilty on Wednesday April 8, was born in 1993, his namesake, Dzhokhar Dudayev, was about to lead the Chechen rebels in one of the greatest battles on Russian soil since Stalingrad.

When the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, Dudayev, a former Soviet air force general, declared Chechnya’s independence, imagining that he would create a prosperous and secular republic.