'Significant Blow' to Putin's Image Following Moscow Terror Attack

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.25 - 2024 11:53 AM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
Several media outlets are calling the attack in Moscow a major defeat for Putin, and it's a significant blow to Putin's image.

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Following a week of leveraging Russia's contentious presidential election to showcase control over the nation and the world, Vladimir Putin's image has been notably tarnished by a recent devastating terrorist attack in Moscow, causing international media outlets, including CNN, and AFP, to highlight a perceived crack in Putin's long-standing promise of stability and security.

The attack, attributed to the Islamic State in Khorsan Province (ISKP), a branch of the Islamic State active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, resulted in the death of at least 137 people after armed individuals opened fire at concert-goers in a venue in the northwestern part of Moscow.

This incident has raised questions about Russia's security apparatus's ability to prevent such deadly attacks, especially after Western counterparts had issued public and private warnings just two weeks prior.

CNN's Chief Global Affairs Correspondent, Matthew Chance, suggested that Russia today appears more uncertain and unstable than at any point during Putin's 24-year tenure. This perspective was echoed by AFP, which highlighted Putin's initial rise to power in 1999 on promises of security amid attacks launched by rebels during the Chechen war.

The recent events have prompted criticism from Russia's opposition, accusing Putin of failing to secure the nation as promised, focusing instead on persecuting Kremlin critics rather than addressing actual threats.

AP noted that American officials had shared information with Russia about a planned attack in Moscow earlier in the month.

However, Putin dismissed these warnings as attempts to intimidate and destabilize Russian society, according to The New York Times. This dismissal has been scrutinized by Mark Galeotti, a British historian and director of Mayak Intelligence, who sees the attack as a significant blow to Putin's image as the staunch defender of the motherland, potentially eroding his legitimacy and the perception of his ability to fulfill promises of security.

In the wake of this "demonstrative humiliation," as termed by Russian political scientist Aleksandr Kynev, and the subsequent arrest of 11 suspects, including four men believed to have been directly involved in the concert hall attack, there are growing concerns over Putin's capacity to maintain the safety and stability he has long vowed to provide for Russia.