The Boston Marathon bombing has focused American attention on Chechnya, an obscure republic in the Russian Federation where the two suspects were born.


  Jeremi Suri, a foreign policy expert at U.T. Austin, says Chechnya is a violent place which has been in the midst of one type of revolution or another since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989, which means throughout the lives of the two brothers accused in the bombing.


  He says rebels have been fighting for independence, having won independence once and then lost it again, which means that violence has become a standard method of communication there.


  "I think when you have violence which has been ongoing for so long in that part of the world, it does have a tendency to spill over, even for reasons that don't have direct political implications," Suri told 1200 WOAI news.


  Chechnya is located in southwestern Russia in the Caucusus Mountains, not far from the Caspian Sea.  It is a small place, with a total population of about 1.2 million.  It is predominately Muslim, but Suri says it is not the rabidly anti-American type of Islam that is found in the Middle east.


  He says the anger in Chechnya stems largely from that areas lengthy fight to be free of Russia.


  "They have been particularly disappointed with both the Bush and Obama Administration, for seeking to work closely with Russia, and not making this an issue," he said.  "In many parts of the world, there are high helps that the United States will come in and help them separate themselves from an imperialist regime, like the U.S. came in and helped the Bosnians in the nineties."


  He says  after two wars in which Chechnya won its independence and then lost it, there is still a low level insurgency against the Putin-controlled government.


  Siri says while Islam is strong in Chechnya, and the rebels claim they are resisting Russia due to their Islam, the struggle is solely about Chechen autonomy and not about Islam.


  "This is not an Islamic insurgency," he said.  "Religion is part of it, but religion is not a full explanation.  The Islamic faith is a way to mobilize and organize against Russian control and gain independence for Chechnya."