A couple of years ago I was at a conference in Yalta, in the Crimea. Those attending were from the various states of the former USSR, so the language of the conference was Russian. One participant from Rostov pointed out at length that when an attack is made on the USA, the UK or somewhere like that, the perpetrators are called – by the respective politicians and media outlets – ‘terrorists’. But when an attack is made in Russia by, say, the Chechens, they are called ‘separatists’ or ‘independence fighters’ – seeking independence of course from the evil Russian state.

Scroll forward: of Chechen origin too is the last surviving suspect of the Boston bombings, although he and his dead brother have been resident and studied in the USA for some time. Now of course they are called ‘Chechen terrorists’, and Muslim to boot. No one seems to call them ‘separatists’ and ‘independence fighters’ now.

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