I don't know if the brothers' ancestry was ever sorted out, but the Chechen aspect was certainly played up by some of our Russian customers. One woman spent plenty of time at the demo counter telling me about her son in Boston and how she hated Chechens because they blew up 'all the houses' as she put it in her limited English.

I guess we're not the only ones who stereotype.
Originally Posted by redcelticcurls
She's probably referring to the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings. The sad irony is that the evidence strongly suggests that they were actually perpetrated by the Russian government, to blame "Chechen terrorists" and provide a rationale for re-invading Chechnya. Former KGB agent Aleksandr Litvinenko had exposed Putin's role in the bombings, and was poisoned with polonium-210 to shut him up. Journalist Anna Politkovskaya was shot to death in her apartment building for her coverage of the case.

They were definitely ethnic Chechens (i.e., of Chechen ancestry but living elsewhere). Stalin had deported the entire population (although they were allowed to return after his death), and more recently many fled to escape the wars and violence in the region.

While religion was a major factor in the brothers' killing spree, I think that Tamarlan's personal issues were also important. His father told the New York Times that he had been denied US citizenship because of a domestic violence arrest in 2009 ("in America you canít touch a woman"), as well as anti-Muslim and anti-Chechen prejudice.

In addition, he and his wife, Katherine Russell, had been living apart for quite some time. She had converted to Islam for him, wore the traditional Muslim headscarf and took his last name after they married. She and their daughter moved in with her parents in Rhode Island about a year ago, at which point she reverted to her maiden name and stopped wearing the hijab.

I'm sure we'll be hearing more about her in the weeks to come.