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Moscow tries to link West to organization of series of terrorist attacks against Russia

Moscow tries to link West to organization of series of terrorist attacks against Russia Russian dictator Vladimir Putin (photo: Getty Images)

The Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General's Office of Russia will consider the State Duma's appeal regarding the investigation of alleged financing and organization by the West, including the US, of terrorist acts against Russia. The Institute for the Study of War believes that the Kremlin's goal is to strengthen internal support for the war against Ukraine, according to the ISW report.

The Russian Investigative Committee, Prosecutor General's Office, and State Duma do not directly mention the attack on Crocus City Hall, according to the Institute. The Kremlin had previously claimed Ukraine and the West's alleged involvement in the attack but has not yet made any official accusations. The ISW believes that Moscow may refrain from making official accusations as all available evidence continues to indicate that the Islamic State (ISIS) is most likely responsible for the attack.

Russian officials regularly describe Ukraine's strikes on legitimate military targets in the temporarily occupied parts of Ukraine and Russia as terrorism and constantly assert that Western actors are helping organize these strikes. "The Kremlin likely aims to seize on wider Russian social fears and anger following the Crocus City Hall attack by portraying Ukraine, the US, and the West as immediate terrorist threats," the report said.

Experts believe that the Kremlin likely hopes that the idea of Ukraine and the West's involvement in the attack will bolster internal support for the war against Ukraine, and Russian officials will likely try to apply a broader definition of what constitutes terrorism to blame Ukraine and the West.

The Institute believes that the Kremlin could still officially accuse Ukraine of the Moscow attack if it believes that its information efforts are insufficient to provoke the desired internal reaction.

Terrorist attack near Moscow

In the evening on Friday, March 22, in the city of Krasnogorsk in the Moscow region, several armed men in camouflage opened fire in the concert hall Crocus City Hall. According to the latest data from the Russians, 143 people were killed in the attack.

Russian security forces arrested four men, whom they called the perpetrators of the attack. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin said they allegedly wanted to escape to Ukraine, where a window had been prepared for them. A few days later, Alexander Lukashenko made a statement suggesting that the attackers had initially planned to cross the border between Russia and Belarus.

The responsibility for the terrorist act was claimed by the group Islamic State. The US and several other Western countries confirmed the information about ISIS involvement and ruled out any involvement of Ukraine in the events.

The Basmanny Court in Moscow arrested four suspects in the attack. They allegedly confessed to committing the terrorist act. The men were brought to court beaten, one of them was on a stretcher accompanied by doctors. They were subjected to torture.

The US State Department believes that Russia is trying to justify its war against Ukraine through the terrorist act.