Vladimir Putin against the wall: Ukraine exposes Russia’s vulnerability to terrorism

Vladimir Putin points out that Ukraine is behind attacks that he considers "terrorist", this leads us to wonder how vulnerable Russia is on this issue.

Attack on the St. Petersburg subway

Photo: BBC

LatinAmerican Post | Luis Ángel Hernández Liborio

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Leer en español: Vladimir Putin contra la pared: Ucrania pone en evidencia vulnerabilidad de Rusia por terrorismo

Something that has put Russia in check in recent days was the explosion of a truck on the Crimean bridge, this caused a partial collapse of it. Although at times the event seemed like an accident, with the passing of the hours and in full conflict, that idea was diluted. The high point came when Russia accused Ukraine of being behind the explosion, described as "terrorism", something that the Ukrainians neither confirmed nor denied, but they did take advantage of to publicly provoke the Eurasian power. The situation sparked a debate about Russia's vulnerability to these acts and the effect they can have.

Terrorism in Russian Everyday Life

Although terrorist attacks are usually associated with the United States and some European countries, the truth is that it is a reality in many parts of the world regardless of the level of development of the country that suffers them. Russia is no stranger to this dynamic, although the causes of terrorism in its territory are very particular, it is something that Russians have lived with since the times of the Russian Empire, the Soviet Union, and now the Russian Federation. At times Russia has fought terrorism abroad, in others, it has suffered it on its territory, and in some, it has even been accused of sponsoring it in different parts of the world. And that's the most interesting thing, the Russian experience with terrorism has all these edges that give evidence of every day that can be for them.

If we talk about the Russian Federation itself, internal terrorism has been linked mainly to political, territorial, and religious reasons, so these three aspects converge in the context where these attacks have occurred. The territorial peculiarity of Russia is shown in its complex structure, with at least six types of administrative divisions, vast territory, and, above all, multiculturalism full of profound differences. During the Soviet Union, these differences were kept under control thanks to the power of the central government, but after its dissolution, the perfect scenario was given to carry out attempts to separate from the new federation. For this reason, in the 1990s different autonomous regions and republics (in the Russian administrative concept) took up arms to separate, some even resorting to terrorism, such as the cases of Chechnya and Tatarstan that followed models such as the IRA in Ireland or ETA. in Spain to put pressure on their governments.

War As a Cause of Terrorism

So, terrorism in Russia has been fundamentally an internal issue linked to separatists, and mainly Islamic protesters in the regions where the population of this origin predominates. However, Ukraine has managed to cause concern in Russia by being allegedly responsible for the Crimean bridge explosion, which has put the foreign war as one of the current causes of terrorism for the Russians. This is similar to the national security problem facing the United States, its wars abroad have generated resentment from the attacked countries that are the frequent origin of attacks on US territory, with September 11, 2001, being the most remembered moment.

You can also read: Does Vladimir Putin's strategy fall with the collapse of the Crimean bridge?

Russian Security Threats

Why would Ukraine use terrorism as a weapon if it has managed to resist head-on? Terrorism has a direct psychological effect on the population rather than on the government. The sanctions on Russia are intended to cut off their sources of income, but also to pressure the population to oppose the actions of their government. Thus, these sanctions have had a harsh impact on the economy but not in a violent way on the population, so terrorism is direct pressure on the citizens who would begin to experience what is happening in Ukraine with the Russian attacks. The weight of anonymity plays a determining role in terrorism, which unbalances Russia's frontal strategy, Vladimir Putin blames Ukraine for various explosions, but as long as the Ukrainians do not openly manifest themselves as their authors, Russia will only be able to launch attacks into the air and continue bombing Ukrainian territory without having proof of anything.

Lastly, one cannot ignore the latent risk of the separatist regions that continue without resolving their historical problems and that continue to represent a risk of attacks, as well as those coming from abroad caused by radical Islamic groups, thanks to Russia's role in conflicts of the Middle East like the one that happened in Syria. In the past decade, at least ten terrorist attacks have occurred in Russia due to these groups, including those in the Moscow metro and airport, and the St. Petersburg metro.

Does Terrorism "benefit" Putin's Speech?

Putin can also use the terrorism that has occurred in Russia to his advantage since it strengthens his strategy by justifying his attacks on foreign targets. His support for the Syrian regime was justified by the advance of the Islamic State and the constant attacks by Islamic groups in Russia. Now, the alleged terrorist attacks in Ukraine serve Putin to bombard his neighboring country with greater support and to eventually use a larger force, support the separatism of other regions of Ukraine, or take any action necessary in his war strategy.


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