The Tsarnaev Brothers

Make of this what you will.

(1) The older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, never adjusted to life in the US. “I don’t have a single American friend,” he said. His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, had an understanding of US teen hood / SWPL culture. He was a 9/11 “truther.” That’s from the Twitter account. That said, he wasn’t too down with America either.

(2) I’m not sure if beta male rage had anything to do with this. On the one hand, he does not seem to have been a social recluse. He wrestled. He is darkly handsome, and he has the self-assured gaze of a confident man on his photos. And most tellingly, and to his credit, he went down with guns blazing. On the other hand:

(3) Dzhokhar was a Chechen patriot, but not a raving/rabid one.

Tamerlan’s Amazon wish list included a Chechen phrasebook, “The Lone Wolf And the Bear: Three Centuries of Chechen Defiance of Russian Rule,” and “Allah’s Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya, New Edition.”

Obviously, they did not like Russian domination of Chechnya and wanted it to be truly independent, but their lives do not seem to have been dominated by it.

(4)  Dzhokhar says he knows English, Russia, and Chechen on his Vkontakte page. In reality, considering that even his older brother had a Chechen dictionary on his to-buy list, it’s unlikely that he knew it to any significant extent. His Russian was fluent in speech, but not in writing (he makes basic spelling errors):

(5) He has a sense of humor (mixed with bitterness). From his Vkontakte page:

In school they give us a puzzle. There is a car. In the car there is a Dagestani, a Chechen, and an Ingush. Question – who’s driving the car? Maga answers: A policeman.

(6) He was into Islam (he listed it as his “worldview” on Vkontakte), supported Palestine, etc., but it seems to have a fairly liberal variety. His last entry on Twitter was an RT of a kumbaya-type mufti who now lives in Zimbabwe:

But he definitely was religious, and visited the mosque.

His brother  seems to have been a much more hardcore Islamist. His YouTube account  was divided between “Islam” and “Terrorism,” and Russian rap songs.

(7) There’s a few references and hints at trouble sleeping. A sign of mild to moderate depression?

And when he did fall asleep, the dreams seem to be violent (see also the zombie apocalypse one above) and tortured.

(8) It also emerges that the FBI had interviewed the older brother at the bequest of an unspecific foreign government – almost certainly Russia. Tamerlan had visited it for 6 months in 2011. I wonder if he established links with some of the Caucasus Emirate Wahhabi types while there – and if so, whether US suspicions about Russia’s “assaults” on human rights in Chechnya made them drop their guard on a man who, it is now clear, was by then fast becoming an Islamist radical.

(9) Some tweets were funny, some were ironic in light of what was to come. There are even a few pearls of wisdom there: