Cleveland-area Russians pray for bombing victims, condemn Chechen suspects

CLEVELAND - The Lenten service at St. Sergius Russian Orthodox Church in Parma Friday night included special prayers for the families and the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Meanwhile, Russians throughout the Cleveland area are making it clear that they are not Chechens, like the bombing suspects.

"I was in a gym in the morning and one man told me, 'You know those people from Russia.' I said ‘No, no, no. They are not from Russia. They are from Chechnya," said Helen Shkolnikov, who owns a Russian deli in Mayfield Heights.

"I feel not comfortable that people will think that Russian people can do this, you know."

Chechnya is a region of present-day Russia; however Baldwin Wallace international studies professor Judy Krutky said some Chechens want to secede from Russia.

"The potential connection is that after 9/11, the Russians were willing to cooperate with the U.S. to put down terrorism and what we felt was our terrorist threat from Al Qaeda and like," she said.

However, she said more information is needed before we can know for sure what the motive was.

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