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Moscow airport bombing: A signal for Russia to change

If it turns out that the Moscow airport bombing was caused by terrorists from the north Caucasus, the Kremlin will need to do more than talk tough and blame airport security.

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Russia’s leaders are responding to the tragic bombing at a Moscow airport much as they have after past terrorist attacks: very tough talk, a promise to track down the culprits, and citing lapses in security, in this case, by airport security.

Those responses may form a partial answer to Russia’s terrorist challenge, but they cannot be the whole answer. If Monday’s massive explosion in the international arrival hall of Domodedovo Airport turns out to be the work of terrorists from Russia’s north Caucasus region – and it bears their hallmark – then much more must be done to get at root causes as well as improve civilian security.

(For an op-ed on Russia's failed policy in the north Caucasus, click here.)

The Kremlin took a step in the right direction a year ago when it named a special envoy to the north Caucasus region, the turbulent area on Russia’s southern flank with a mostly Muslim population. The aim of the envoy, Alexander Khloponin, has been to win the hearts and minds of the impoverished people there through economic development projects.

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