The horrible series of terrorist attacks in Brussels that claimed the lives of 31 people (at the time of writing) is the main news in Moscow today.
As Muscovites react to the tragedy by bringing flowers to the Belgian Embassy in Moscow, experts are trying to understand the reasons and the implications of this new act of war by Islamist radicals against the civilized world.
Here are the opinions of a politician, a veteran of the war on terror, and an academic as broadcast by radio KP
Sergey Zheleznyak, Vice-Speaker of the State Duma (Russian parliament)
The fact that they took place in the center of Europe near the headquarters of NATO and the EU testifies to the total failure of Europe’s foreign policy as well as its immigration policy. We cannot fight terrorism effectively and at the same time flirt with and divide terrorists into ‘us’ and ‘them’. We cannot fight against terrorism effectively while indulging nationalist and Nazi movements in Europe. We have warned about that many times during the last several years, and now the situation in Europe is rapidly radicalizing. There is no solution to the migration problem. There is no united policy against terrorism in Europe and all this leads to innocent victims.
Sergey Goncharov, president of the Association of Group Alfa (elite anti-terrorist unit) veterans
I think this was the Islamic extremists’ answer to the recent arrest and capture of their leader. They want to demonstrate their power and prove to the whole world once again that they are in charge and can intimidate the entire world using terrorism.
We warned about this a long time ago. If the European special services treat hundreds of thousands of refugees who live in their countries in this frivolous way, with no control or secret service agents among those who managed to get to the country as refugees, I think the situation will continue. We need to review the whole approach to controlling refugees, and most importantly, to control those flagged for extremism or terror organizations. If they don’t do that, Europe will keep hearing from them.
Kyril Koktysh, assistant professor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO)
Brussels is a symbolically important target. It’s the heart of Europe, its brain; its official and administrative center. If there are terror attacks there, we have to wonder who is really the boss, Donald Tusk or the terrorists? Federica Mogherini or the terrorists? The European Commission or again the terrorists? They are imposing their own agenda, with violence. And Brussels is faced with a dilemma: if it can’t show that it has the monopoly of power, it risks losing all power. This doesn’t mean that the same thing is going to happen to the European Union. It means that the real power center will move to regions where individual governments solve Europe’s problems since Brussels failed to do so, meaning the regionalization of Europe instead of the currently existing centralization.
This is a challenge to the very existence of the European Union as currently structured. And I don’t see EU institutions able to provide reasonable answers.