Chechnya Is Not Czech Republic, Twitter Reminds Itself (TWEETS)

TWEETS: Chechnya Is Not Czech Republic

As new details about the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings came to light, confusion on Twitter led some users to mistake Chechnya for the Czech Republic.

The names of the distinct regions trended on the social network after two suspects in the bombings, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, were described by family and law enforcement as "brothers from a Russian region near Chechnya."

In response, Twitter users made crude "infographics" and shamed misinformed tweets, in an apparent effort to correct the Chechnya-Czech Republic error.

However, the error was couched in a broader misperception, as some media used the suspects' purported origins to make suggestions about their alleged motivations. On Friday, Fox News reported on the "ties between Islamic extremist groups and Chechnya," postulating that the suspects could be motivated by "Islamic radicalism."

In interviews Friday, Ruslan Tsarni, uncle of the suspects, insisted that the brothers had never been in Chechnya and the bombings had nothing to do with Chechnya or Islam, the predominant religion in the region.

In a statement posted Friday to his Instagram feed, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov suggested the bombing suspects were products of an American upbringing.

"It is necessary to seek the roots of evil in America," Kadyrov wrote, according to a translation from Foreign Policy.

Chechnya, a region in North Caucasus, has been home to a violent and long-running campaign by rebels to break away from Russia.

The Czech Republic is a central European country bordered by Germany, Austria, Poland and Slovakia.

UPDATE: The embassy of the Czech Republic in Washington, D.C., has issued a statement about this confusion.

"As more information on the origin of the alleged perpetrators is coming to light, I am concerned to note in the social media a most unfortunate misunderstanding in this respect," wrote Czech Ambassador Petr Gandalovič. "The Czech Republic and Chechnya are two very different entities - the Czech Republic is a Central European country; Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation."


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that Ruslan Tsarni told reporters that the Tsarnaev brothers are not Chechen. This article has been modified to clarify that Tsarni said that the brothers had never been to Chechnya and that only one of them was born in the region.

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