In Tamerlan's Footsteps

Dmitry Kostyukov for TIME

A man arrives at the village mosque in Utamysh.

In the mind of the average Russian, the impoverished Muslim region of Dagestan evokes any number of stereotypes: meek women in headscarves, leathery highlanders with tall sheepskin hats, Islamist fanatics with long beards and ceremonial daggers, streets patrolled by military vehicles, masked troops with assault rifles, and random, indiscriminate explosions. Those last three images also applied to Boston during the manhunt for the alleged marathon bombers, the Tsarnaev brothers, the older of whom — Tamerlan Tsarnaev — spent six months in Dagestan last year. I traveled from Moscow to Dagestan on April 20, the day after news broke of...

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