Russia’s top Islamist leader Doku Umarov called in a video released today for jihadists to stage attacks against a range of targets that include the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. “We know that on the bones of our ancestors,on the bones of many,many Muslims who died and are buried on our territory along the Black Sea,today they plan to stage the Olympic Games. We,as the Mujahedeen,must not allow this to happen by any means possible,” Umarov said in a message posted on the kavkazcenter.com website.
Russia hopes to make the 2014 Winter Olympic Games into a showcase event that highlights the economic and social strides that the country has made under President Vladimir Putin. But Sochi is located in the immediate proximity of Russia’s North Caucasus — an extremely volatile region that has witnessed two post-Soviet war in Chechnya and daily violence in republics such as Dagestan. The Russian authorities ordered added protection for Sochi after the April Boston Marathon Bombings that were blamed on two ethnic Chechen brothers who spent parts of their lives in Russia.
Umarov for his part has been viewed as Moscow’s enemy number one since he took charge of the loose band of guerrillas who continue to stage attacks against Russians targets and fight federal troops in periodic skirmishes. The bearded guerrilla has been pronounced dead by the Russian authorities on many occasions only to resurface again in videos that claim particularly brutal attacks. Umarov has assumed responsibility for strikes such as the 2010 Moscow metro bombings that killed more than 40 people and the 2011 Domodedovo airport attack in the capital in which 37 people died.
Umarov argued in the video that his earlier call for a truce was interpreted by the Russian authorities as a sign of weakness. “Today we must prove to those in the Kremlin that our good will is not our weakness,” he said. “For this reason,I call on each of you… on the territory of the Caucasus to do your utmost… to prevent these satanic dances on our bones,” he said in reference to the Sochi Games.