Boston bombers' connection to Chechnya

By Kelly McCarthy

Boston bombers' connection to Chechnya

April 19, 2013 Updated Apr 19, 2013 at 5:32 PM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) The suspected Boston bombers, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, grew up as refugees of war in a region that is still fighting for independence.

Cornell University professor, Matt Evangelista, dedicates his studies to the Chechen War with Russia. He first became interested in studying the region because of its constant war and conflicts.

Chechnya has been fighting for its independence from Russia since 1994.

Evangelista says life in Chechnya during war is very insecure. It's common for people to be without electricity or running water.

Dzhokhar, Tamerlan and their family are of Chechen origin. They traveled to neighboring countries as refugees before coming to the United States in 2003.

"They fled the area pretty quickly," Evangelista said. "But for people who stayed it was not normal life at all. There was no electricity, no access to clean water, what had been a modern city was completely destroyed, and normal life was destroyed."

Evangelista says there is no clear reason, based on his studies, for a planned Chechen terrorist attack against the United States.

"There certainly are Chechens carrying out terrorists acts still today," Evangelista said. "But they haven't attacked the United States. Typically their focus is Russia and even the current Chechen government which is allied to Russia. So that's where the conflict is I think it would be very strange for Chechens to want to attack the United States."

Evangelista says being a refugee of war is not an excuse for implementing acts of terror. He's worked with other refugees from Chechnya that have gone on to become human rights activists and pacifists.

Evangelista says Chechnya is a predominately Islam region but religion there there is very private, the conflicts he studies are fueled by political reasons.