Chechnya is part of the former Soviet Union, which has been marred by violence with Russia since the 1990s.
"The Chechen terror attacks are usually always aimed at the Russians, not Americans," said Dr. Dustin Berna, an expert on terrorism from Nova Southeastern University.
Local Russian emigres are easy to find in South Florida. Sunny Isles Beach has a large population of people from the former Soviet republics, and residents said they have no trouble believing the Boston Marathon bombing suspects – Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19 – are of Chechen descent.
"Islamic radical nationalists, they think America is, like, the bad guy," said Leonid Margulis, a Russian immigrant.
Tatyana Yankovskaya moved here 16 years ago from Moscow. She apologized for sounding bigoted toward Chechens, but couldn't help but express her strong feelings about the two brothers who apparently bombed the marathon.
"The Chechens, they very good warriors, they don't have value of life, and for them, it's OK to do like this," Yankovskaya said.
Addressing the Tsarnaev brothers' possible motivations, Berna said he suspects they fit into a pattern often seen in Europe: Muslim immigrants adjust to their new country, but their children turn radical in a search for identity.
"The parents have assimilated, the kids go in rebellion and they then want to become one with their Islamic identity. That's how al-Qaida in Europe started," Berna explained.
Berna said this case, in which young men who seem to be ingrained in American society become radicalized to the point where they allegedly want to commit mass murder, is the worst nightmare for American law enforcement.
"Many questions must be asked," Dr. Berna said. "How did they get the guns? How did they get the training to build these bombs? Also, as of this morning, they put the bombs on themselves so we have potentially two suicide attackers, one's dead, one's still on the run, this is frightening, this is our worst-case scenario coming true."
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