The Russian city of Volgograd is still reeling from two suicide bombings this week at the main railway station and on a city trolleybus that killed dozens and wounded scores more.
No claim of responsibility has been made for either attack, but they come a few months after the leader of an Islamic insurgency in Russia's south called for attacks in the run-up to February's Winter Olympics in the resort city of Sochi.
This time last week Americans were just starting to learn about the troubled Russian region of Chechnya after authorities released the identities of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Rebecca Cruise discusses women in combat and the U.S. drone program with NPR's Rachel Martin. Before taking over the host's chair of Weekend Edition Sunday, she reported from both Iraq and Afghanistan, and served as the network's national security correspondent.
Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the West Thursday for refusing to declare Chechen militants terrorists and for offering them political and financial assistance in the past, in light of the revelation that Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had Chechen roots.
The U.S. has urged the Kremlin to seek a political settlement in Chechnya and provided humanitarian aid to the region during the two separatist wars that began in 1994.
"Violence and conflict has happened in Chechnya for centuries," University of Oklahoma College of International Studies Dean and KGOU’s World Views host Suzette Grillot says. "This goes back to the 16th Century when there's been war after war after war. So it's been a volatile region for some time."