Espreso. Global
OPINION

Post-Crocus Russia: tightening grip and search for sympathy in the West

26 March, 2024 Tuesday
18:30

The story of the terrorist attack in the Moscow region has many stains, but the consequences and challenges are worth talking about now

Initially, the Kremlin will likely attempt to internally propagate the idea of a "Ukrainian trace," despite its implausibility. However, externally, they will promote a narrative of "sympathy," which should not be overlooked. Look at the immediate reaction of everyone and compare it to the reaction to the latest Russian strikes on Ukraine. There is a lot to think about here.

Secondly, the Kremlin will use this as an excuse to intensify ties through its intelligence services with both the West and non-Western countries, for example, with the Middle East, citing a common terrorist threat and offering new areas of cooperation. It is the same with Israel, by the way. This may work to a limited extent.

Thirdly, no matter what the Kremlin says, this is a blow to its image and to the image of the special services, because even after the American warnings, the system failed to warn or quickly localize those who committed the attack. The phrase "a window on the border" is generally bad, because it means that after years of war, the FSB cannot close the border for a few terrorists. The vulnerability of the system is obvious, heads will roll, and we'll see which ones and when.

It is possible that the Kremlin will use this terrorist attack to lift the moratorium on the death penalty for certain categories of crimes, because Russia is no longer part of the Council of Europe and does not consider itself a European country at all. The screws may be tightened in this direction as well.

Fourthly, we can expect a check and partial purge of migrants in Russia from Central Asia, and this will be a huge blow to the Russian economy, which depends on them.

Fifthly, our partners can talk to us in these circumstances about what actions we can take on Russian territory, fearing escalation. We, of course, have the right to self-defense against Russian aggression, which is not limited to our territory in accordance with the UN Charter, but our partners may want to avoid giving the Kremlin additional reasons. And finally, sixthly, we can argue whether the Islamic State's claim of responsibility is genuine.

But it is clear that for some Muslims, the wars in Afghanistan, Syria, Chechnya, etc. are part of Russia's war against Islam. After Hamas's actions, others may say: "If it worked for them, why can't it work for us?" Obviously, those who planned this may see it not as a separate terrorist attack, but as part of a larger story.

In general, the Kremlin will try to use this attack to "tighten the screws" and further demonize us internally, but will also try to generate a wave of sympathy for itself and intensify cooperation on counterterrorism externally. At the same time, the vulnerabilities of the Russian special services in this story are also obvious, and this will continue to destroy the regime's image.

Source

About the author. Pavlo Klimkin, diplomat, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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