On Instagram, Chechnya’s president criticizes America’s handling of the Boston manhunt

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Ramzan Kadyrov, the president of the republic of Chechnya in southern Russia, has issued a statement on Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo-sharing service where he frequently posts casual photos of himself and has over 116,000 followers. In the statement, written in Russian, he criticizes the way that US authorities have handled the search for Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsanaev, the two Chechen brothers who are suspected of carrying on the Boston Marathon bombing.

Here is our translation of the statement. (See notes on the translation below.)

The events that took place in Boston are tragic. People have been killed as a result of a terrorist act. Earlier we expressed our condolences to the residents of the city and to the American people. Today, according to media reports, during an arrest attempt a certain Tsarnaev was killed. It would have made sense to arrest him and carry out an investigation, clarify all the circumstances and his degree of guilt. Evidently, the security services needed a result at any price in order to calm the populace. Any attempts to link Chechnya and the Tsarnaevs, if indeed they are guilty, are futile. They grew up in the USA, their viewpoints and beliefs were formed there. You must look for the roots of [their] evil in America. Terrorism must be fought everywhere. We know this better than anyone. We wish all the victims a [speedy] recovery and share in Americans’ grief. #terroristact #Boston #consequence

Some, relying on Google Translate, have claimed that Kadyrov said ”It is necessary to seek the roots of evil in America.” I think that’s a mistranslation; Russian has no definite article, so read in context, “the roots of evil” most likely means “the roots of the evil,” or “their evil,” referring to the brothers’ motives. (But Alexey Kovalev, editor of Russian news site InoSMI.ru, disagrees with me, implying Kadyrov may have deliberately intended the ambiguity.) The final hashtag, #следствие, is also ambiguous. Its first dictionary meaning is “consequence” or “result,” but it can also mean “investigation.” Under the circumstances, it’s not entirely clear what it is meant to imply.

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