From my new piece in Foreign Policy:
After Monday’s shock, Tuesday morning in Moscow dawned bright and tense. No one had yet claimed responsibility for the twin suicide blasts that killed 39 people and injured dozens more in the Moscow metro, and the headlines, especially in the Western press, teemed with preemptive analysis: Did the trail really lead, as the FSB alleged, to the restive Northern Caucasus? Would there be more attacks? And if so, would there be massive retaliation, or even war? Were the attacks bad for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin: a critical blow to his steely appeal, and a political contract based on trading liberties for security? Or were they good for him, a pretext to tighten the screws at home? What if Putin used the attack as proof that his dauphin President Dmitry Medvedev had lost control of the situation, necessitating Putin’s triumphant return to the presidency in 2012?
These are, of course, important, rational questions. But they only matter if you view yesterday morning’s subway bombing as a big deal — and many political observers in Russia, from Kremlin insiders to linchpins of the opposition, do not. Was it gruesome and tragic and of earth-shifting significance to all those who lost friends and relatives? Absolutely. Was it a game changer in the grander scheme of things? Probably not.
Read the rest here.
via Foreign Policy