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The Russian dictator’s double terrorism standards

Putin decries the Moscow massacre, while siding with the genocidal butchers of Oct. 7.

Palestinians in Hebron protest on behalf of their brethren in Gaza, with posters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, following Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre of Israelis., Oct. 20, 2023. Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90.
Palestinians in Hebron protest on behalf of their brethren in Gaza, with posters of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, following Hamas's Oct. 7 massacre of Israelis., Oct. 20, 2023. Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90.
Ruthie Blum. Credit: Courtesy.
Ruthie Blum
Ruthie Blum, an author and award-winning columnist, is a former adviser at the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Following Friday’s massacre at the Crocus City Hall concert venue in the outskirts of Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a video address to his nation. The slaying of “dozens of peaceful, innocent people … including children, teenagers and women,” he said, was a “bloody, barbaric, terrorist act.”

After praising security services, firefighters, medical teams and “ordinary citizens” who aided in rescuing the victims, he declared that “it is already obvious that we are faced not just with a carefully, cynically planned terrorist attack, but with a prepared and organized mass murder of peaceful, defenseless people.”

Yes, he added, “The criminals calmly and purposefully set out to kill, to shoot at point-blank range our citizens, our children. Just like the Nazis once carried out massacres in the occupied territories, they decided to stage a show execution, a bloody act of intimidation.”

He proceeded to vow: “All perpetrators, organizers and customers of this crime will suffer fair and inevitable punishment—whoever they are, whoever guides them. I repeat, we will identify and punish everyone who stands behind the terrorists, who prepared this atrocity, this attack on Russia, on our people.”

Not much detective work proved necessary, though, since Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) promptly and proudly took credit for the heinous assault in a statement published on the Telegram channel of the group’s affiliate news agency, Amaq. This didn’t prevent Putin from a subsequent attempt to pin the event on Ukraine, despite zero evidence of Kiyiv involvement.

But the authoritarian dictator, who less than a week earlier “won” a rigged landslide election to keep him in power for another six years, isn’t one to be concerned with facts. Nor does he have a problem taking out his rivals. Literally.

His latest hit job was on oppositionist Alexei Navalny, for whom a lengthy prison sentence for criticizing the Kremlin clearly wasn’t sufficient. Only silencing the 47-year-old activist permanently, by poisoning him, would do. It’s one of Putin’s choice methods for eliminating individuals at home.

Of the foes with a broader beef, he had this to say during his speech: “We count here on interaction with all states that sincerely share our pain and are ready in practice to really join forces in the fight against a common enemy—international terrorism with all its manifestations. Terrorists, murderers, non-humans who do not and cannot have a nationality face one unenviable fate—retribution and oblivion. They have no future.”

This is rich, coming from a leader who has been cementing relations with Iran, the globe’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism, and its proxies. One of these is Hamas, whose foot soldiers invaded Israel on Oct. 7, raping, torturing, beheading, burning alive and abducting men, women and babies.

Less than three weeks later, Russia hosted a delegation of their honchos in Moscow. The purpose of the chummy get-together, also attended by Ali Bagheri Kani, deputy foreign minister of the ayatollah-led regime in Tehran, was to come up with ways to stop the “Zionist crimes supported by the United States and the West.”

In other words, the aim of the meeting was to devise a plan to prevent Israel from defending itself and retaliating against the perpetrators of the worst pogrom against Jews since the Holocaust. Oh, and to plot the demise of America and Europe.

More recently, Putin went a step further in his pursuit of terrorism ties. Russia’s envoy for the Middle East and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov, mediated talks in Moscow on Feb. 29 between Hamas, Fatah, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian organizations operating in the region, primarily in Syria and Lebanon.

The goal of the three-day event, which concluded on March 2, was to unify the disparate factions towards the creation of a Palestinian government—for a future state—whose members cease infighting and invest all their energy in the shared objective of annihilating Jews.

So, Putin is pre-disposed to Islamist terrorists, as long as he and Mother Russia are not their target. Meanwhile, the ease with which he slaughters those who get on his bad side doesn’t put a dent in his passing of moral judgment on Jerusalem and Washington. His disdain for the latter, by the way, caused him to pooh-poohed its warning this month about an imminent attack in Moscow.

His hypocrisy pales in comparison, however, to that of Hamas, which on Saturday “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms the terrorist attack that targeted civilians in Moscow, killing and wounding dozens of people.”

Putin’s response to the carnage at Crocus City Hall, like the reaction on the part of the genocidal butchers with whom he sided after Oct. 7, gives the term “double standards” a whole new meaning.

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