A Review upon the Massacre in Moscow

A Review upon the Massacre in Moscow


Last Friday, a terrible massacre of civilians took place in Moscow. Footage of the massacre, in which 143 people were brutally killed, was shared with the world by ISIS’s broadcaster Amaq. The four murderers recorded the massacre with their body cameras and transferred it to ISIS media channels. It seemed that the massacrers were well prepared for the attack and planned it professionally. They had detailed information about the attack location. They had chosen a time when the roads outside the venue, which was used as a concert, shopping mall and expo area, would be full of vehicle traffic and therefore it would not be possible to access any rescuers or emergency services.

The 4 Tajik terrorists who carried out the attack tried to escape after the massacre. The massacrists traveled hundreds of kilometers from Moscow and were caught only 148 kilometers from the Ukrainian border. This brought up other speculations. ISIS militants would not flee the scene after the massacre, they would fight until the end because they believed they would go to heaven, and they would rather die by detonating their suicide vests. There are also allegations that the massacrists did this for money.  In response to these claims, let's remember the Istanbul Sarıyer church attack on January 28, which was also carried out by ISIS. The two attackers, one with a Tajik passport and the other with a Russian passport, chose not to engage in a conflict with the police after the murder they committed in the church and chose to be caught. It is also known that the militants escaped after an attack by ISIS in Afghanistan in 2022. It can be assumed that ISIS, which has weakened in recent years and has a shortage of militants, has difficulty finding militants with the same clarity.

At this point, it is necessary to bring up an important issue. It turned out that at least one of the Moscow massacres went to Russia via Istanbul. This person lived in Başakşehir, was wandering around Fatih and taking photos in touristic places. Then it is necessary to ask: How competent are the Turkish secret service and other intelligence units that AKP boasts so much about? While two Tajik and Russian militants attacked a church just two months ago, how much could the Tajik community living in Fatih, Istanbul, be monitored? Suppose Russian intelligence is preoccupied with the Ukrainian War, there may be an excuse for their weakness. But the question of whether Turkish intelligence can follow even a small community is a very appropriate question after this attack.

Did Ukraine Organize It?

After the massacre, Putin immediately blamed Ukraine. He emphasized that the attackers were trying to escape to the Ukrainian border and claimed that the terrorists would be offered a safe passage. However, if we assume that both sides are at a loss due to the war on the Russia-Ukraine border, how would these terrorists evade the Russian law enforcement forces at the border? Since the Belarusian border was quite close to the point where they were captured, perhaps they would head to this country. We may never know which of these possibilities is correct.

It can be assumed that the Ukrainian intelligence organization, which carried out a number of attacks, sabotages and assassinations deep in Russia, developed some indirect and direct relations with ISIS in organizing the massacre in Moscow. This is not something that will not happen, but it will obviously never be possible to produce concrete evidence of this. On the other hand, it is very useful for Putin to hold Ukraine and the West responsible for the massacre. In this way, it will be possible to increase military and diplomatic pressure on Ukraine and its allies. At the same time, ensuring national unity in Russia and strengthening the determination to fight was one of the results of this massacre. ISIS and all other enemies of Russia hope to mobilize religious and ethnic divisions in Russia. As a matter of fact, after this attack, hostility and even aggression against the Muslim minority in Russia could be expected to increase. Aware of this situation, the Kremlin took care to give messages of national unity that also embraced Muslims. For example, a 16-year-old immigrant Kyrgyz youth was declared a hero in the media and awarded a medal by the Kremlin for helping hundreds of people survive the massacre. Russia has so far managed to control ethnic and religious divisions.

It is known that ISIS, which immediately claimed responsibility for the massacre, has a particular problem with Russia. Jihadist networks' accounts with Russia extend from Afghanistan to Chechnya, Dagestan, Crimea and Syria. As a matter of fact, militants originating from the former Soviet Republics, Afghanistan and Syria lead the membership portfolio of ISIS. For ISIS, Russia is the leading enemy that oppresses Muslims. As a matter of fact, ISIS had carried out many bloody attacks against Russia. The most prominent of these attacks is the bombing and shooting down of a passenger plane carrying Russian tourists returning from Egypt in 2015. 215 people lost their lives in this attack. In the St. Petersburg metro bombing in 2017, 15 people lost their lives. After this date, there were other smaller-scale ISIS attacks that were either foiled or unsuccessful. In 2022, ISIS carried out a deadly suicide attack on the Russian embassy in Kabul.

Days before the last Moscow attack, on March 7, it was announced that the attempt of ISIS Khorasan, known as the Afghanistan branch of ISIS, to attack a synagogue in the Kaluga region of Russia was prevented by Russian security authorities. On the same day, Russia's US embassy called on its citizens to stay away from crowded places due to the possibility of a terrorist attack. But did the USA share its intelligence information with Russia? Russian sources stated that such information was not shared with them. Let's not forget, why would the USA betray ISIS which is a good reason for the USA to stay in the Middle East?

As a result, Russia will blame Ukraine for this massacre. Whether it is right or not. We are in a time where being strong works, not being right. The Russian army has gained the upper hand in the Ukrainian war. They hope that the Ukrainian defensive front will break at some point. The West, on the other hand, is having difficulty even providing the aid it promised to Ukraine. The resignation of Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, one of the leaders of the US Maidan color revolution in Kyiv and one of the designers of the hawkish policy followed by the US in Ukraine, is also an expression of NATO's deadlock. On the other hand, in the darkening picture for Ukraine, the growing shadow of Trump appears.