"Islam is facing major changes in the coming period, and this is very much needed," he said at the time. "Some parts of the Muslim world look like reservations for dictators and totalitarian ways. We hope for a different future."
The official RIA-Novosti agency quoted a source in Tatarstan's security forces as saying they were treating the attacks as a single crime. "It’s evident that these two crimes are directly linked and, most likely, they were performed by the same group," he is quoted as saying. "We are probing all versions, from professional activities to the involvement of so-called religious fanatics."
Experts say Tatarstan's stability has been slowly unraveling, below the radar screen, for some time.
"What happens here seems minor against the background of the permanent war going on in the northern Caucasus," says Rais Suleymanov, head of the center of religious and ethno-religious studies at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies in Kazan.