The head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, has downplayed the connection of the Boston Marathon bombers to the restive Russian region, blaming their alleged actions on their American upbringing.
Brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who allegedly set off the two deadly bombs at the Boston Marathon April 15, are ethnic Chechens but came to the U.S. as youths.
Responding to questions about whether the Tsarnaevs were influenced by the Chechen separatist movement and militant groups, Kadyrov quickly dismissed any substantial connection to the region.
"We don’t know the Tsarnaevs; they didn’t live in Chechnya but lived and were educated in America,” said Kadyrov, Russian media reported. “What happened in Boston is the American police’s fault.”
Kadyrov pointed to American pop culture as a corruptive influence on the Tsarnaev brothers, saying it was more of a factor behind their alleged actions than their Chechen roots.
"They were raised in America, it’s the American upbringing,” he added.
The two brothers have expressed sympathetic views for the Chechen separatist movement in online activity.
Kadyrov expressed frustration that anyone would think the alleged actions of the Tsarnaev brothers have anything to do with the political situation in Chechnya.
"It’s become customary to blame the Chechens for everything, even tsunamis," he said.