New information is emerging about William Plotnikov and his possible role in Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s alleged path to violent extremism. Here’s what you need to know about Plotnikov.
1) Canadian Connection
2) Killed in Combat
Plotnikov was killed in July 2012 in Dagestan during a battle with security forces at the age of 23. He was known to his fellow militiamen as “The Canadian.”
Like the elder Tsarnaev, Plotnikov was also a skilled boxer, winning the Russian youth championships twice.
Vitaly Plotnikov told the National Post that he introduced his son to the sport at the age of nine.
4) Online Acquaintances
Novaya Gazeta, a respected Moscow newspaper, reported that Plotnikov gave them Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s name after being questioned by Russian security officials in 2010. They’d reportedly been communicating online via social networking sites, though it’s unknown if they ever met in person.
“It seems that Tamerlan Tsarnaev came to Dagestan with the aim of joining the insurgents,” a source told Novaya Gazeta. “It didn’t work out. First you need to contact an intermediary, then there is a period of ‘quarantine’ before they take someone. The insurgents check him out over several months.”
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5) Shared Connection
Tsarnaev and Plotnikov had a shared connection in Dagestan, Makhmud Mansur Nidal, a young rebel accused of a bombing in Dagestan’s capital city of Makhachkala and recruiting followers for the rebel cause. Nidal was also killed while Tsarnaev was in the country.
Tsarnaev left Dagestan and returned to the United States immediately following Plotnikov’s death.
“After Nidal and Plotnikov were destroyed and he lost his contacts, Tsarnaev got frightened and fled,” said the Novaya Gazeta source.