(Repeats Tuesday report)
* Kyrgyz-born suspect lacked links to jihadist groups
* On social media, he showed interest in conservative Islam
* But no indication he might resort to violence
* Jalilov worked in sushi restaurant - acquaintance
By Maria Tsvetkova and Denis Pinchuk
MOSCOW/ST PETERSBURG, Russia, April 4 Akbarzhon
Jalilov, the man suspected of blowing up a Russian metro train,
represents a new wave of radical Islamists who blend into local
society away from existing jihadist movements - making it harder
for security forces to stop their attacks.
His pages on the Russian equivalent of Facebook show
Jalilov's interest in Wahabbism, a conservative and hardline
branch of Islam. But they give no indication that he might
resort to violence, presenting a picture of a typical young man
leading a largely secular life.
Fourteen people were killed and 50 wounded in the suicide
bomb attack on Monday on the metro carriage in St Petersburg.
Russian state investigators said the suspected bomber was
Jalilov, a 23-year-old born in the mainly Muslim ex-Soviet
republic of Kyrgyzstan.
If radical Islamism was indeed his motive, he will be
distinct from two previous waves of attackers - those from
Russia's restive North Caucasus region who fought successive
rebellions against Moscow; and a later group who went to Iraq
and Syria to fight alongside the Islamic State group.
The new generation may take inspiration or instruction from
people involved in those previous fights, and are drawn from the
same Muslim communities.
However, they are not directly linked to those militant
organisations and have not created the trail of arrest warrants,
tapped phone calls, travel documents and monitored border
crossings on which security forces usually rely to keep tabs on
violent Islamist radicals.
"It's a completely different kind, a different level of
terrorist threat from the one that Russian security services are
used to dealing with," said Andrei Soldatov, a Russian expert on
the intelligence services.
Security services typically look for an organisation and
financing network behind a terror attack, he said, but those may
not exist in cases such as the metro bombing. "It's very
difficult to counter things like this," Soldatov said.
British police have run into similar problems investigating
the case of Khalid Masood, who sped across Westminster Bridge in
a car last month, killing three pedestrians and injuring dozens
more, before stabbing a policeman to death. Shot dead by police,
Masood also had no known links to jihadist groups.
THE ENEMY WITHIN
Jalilov is typical of millions of young Muslim men living in
Russia. There was nothing apparent from his background and
lifestyle that made him stand out for the authorities.
An ethnic Uzbek from the southern Kyrgyzstan city of Osh, he
moved with his father to St Petersburg for work several years
ago, according to neighbours in Osh.
In Russia, he worked with his father as a panel beater in a
car repair shop, they said. An acquaintance from St Petersburg
said Jalilov had worked for about a year in a chain of sushi
restaurants. A second acquaintance said he was a fan of sambo, a
form of martial arts popular in Russia.
He owned a Daewoo car, according to a source in the Russian
authorities, and was registered at an apartment in a quiet,
upscale neighbourhood of suburban St Petersburg.
A person who said he was a representative of the apartment's
owner said Jalilov had never lived there, but that he had
granted him with a temporary registration at the flat as a
favour to some mutual acquaintances.
Jalilov's page on VKontake, a Russian social media website,
has photographs showing him wearing stylish Western dress, in a
restaurant with friends and smoking a hookah pipe. His listed
interests included a pop music radio station and mixed-martial
arts. His page had a link to the home page of boxer Mike Tyson.
But he also had an interest in religion: the page had links
to a website in Russian called "I love Islam" which features
quotations from the Koran, and another called IslamHouse.com,
which said it aimed to help people get to know Islam.
Another VKontakte page which belonged to Jalilov included
links to a site featuring the sayings of Muhammad ibn Abd
al-Wahhab, an 18th century preacher on whose teaching Wahabbism
Security officials and people involved in radical Islam say
the earlier generations of violent Islamists are now largely out
of the picture.
Militant in the North Caucasus are hounded by security
forces, pushed into forest hideouts, and too pre-occupied with
staying alive to be able to launch attacks on Russian cities.
Meanwhile, the thousands of people from Russia and ex-Soviet
republics who fought alongside Islamic State in Syria and Iraq
are on the radar of Russian intelligence. Tipped off by Turkish
intelligence which tracks jihadists' movements into and out of
Syria, Russia arrests them when they return home or prevents
them from entering the country.
An attack near Moscow last year may have marked the
emergence of the new generation of radicals.
Usman Murdalov, 21, and his friend Sulim Israilov, 18
travelled from their home in Chechnya, in the north Caucasus, to
a Moscow suburb, armed themselves with axes, and attacked a
traffic police post. They were shot dead.
Their families said they had no idea they were involved in
radical Islamism. But in a video posted online a day later, they
professed loyalty to Islamic State, and made reference to the
Russian military intervention in Syria.
"We are calling this a revenge operation, revenge because
you are killing our brothers, because you are killing our
brothers and sisters every day in Iraq and Syria," one of the
two attackers said in the video.
Islamic State, its grip on territory in Syria and Iraq
weakening, has switched its focus to inspiring sympathisers
elsewhere. Avenging Russia for its role in the Syria conflict
has been a prominent theme on the group's social media sites.
Shortly after Russia launched its military operation in
support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2015, the group
released a video where it threatened to attack Russia very soon,
described Russians as kafirs, or unbelievers, and said that "the
blood will spill like an ocean".
That propaganda finds fertile ground inside Russia among the
millions of Muslims from Russia's North Caucasus and Muslim
migrants from ex-Soviet central Asia. Many do menial, low-paid
jobs; they are regularly stopped by police for document checks,
and they often face racial discrimination.
Two men from central Asia who fought alongside Islamist
radicals in Syria described how they had been radicalised while
they were working in Russia.
One, who gave his name as Boburjan, spoke to Reuters in a
jail in Osh in 2015 where he was serving a sentence for his
activities in Syria. He said he had come to Moscow to work on a
construction site. At a Moscow mosque, he was approached by a
man who showed him videos of Middle Eastern conflicts.
"That man said: 'Look, infidels are killing us, they rape
our women and children, and we must defend our fellow Muslims',"
The second man said he was working as a cook in an Uzbek
restaurant in central Moscow. "Some of the guys I knew said: 'We
must go and wage jihad'," said the 22-year-old man, who gave his
name as Khalijan.
(additional reporting by Svetlana Reiter, Polina Nikolskaya,
Olzhas Auyezov, Hulkar Isamova and Olga Dzyubenko; writing by
Christian Lowe; editing by David Stamp)