Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev seen in security camera footage before the bombings. (Photo: FBI)
Much has been said about the mysterious "Misha" reportedly connected to the radicalization of the accused Boston bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Tsarnaev’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, told CNN: “This person just took [Tamerlan Tsarnaev's] brain. He just brainwashed him completely.”
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the suspects' mother, also reportedly underwent a religious transformation thanks to the mysterious figure. While she would once wear low-cut blouses and tease has her hair, Misha apparently inspired her to become more religious and radically change her life.
No one knows who exactly the large bearded man is, but Christian Caryl of the New York Review of Books claims to have tracked him down and interviewed him. His real name is said to be Mikhail Allakhverdov, and he now lives in a "modest, tidy apartment with his elderly parents" in Rhode Island.
The article continues:
He confirmed he was a convert to Islam and that he had known Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but he flatly denied any part in the bombings. “I wasn’t his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov said.
A thirty-nine-year-old man of Armenian-Ukrainian descent, Allakhverdov is of medium height and has a thin, reddish-blond beard. When I arrived he was wearing a green and white short-sleeve football jersey and pajama pants. Along with his parents, his American girlfriend was there, and we sat together in a tiny living room that abuts the family kitchen.
Allakhverdov said he had known Tamerlan in Boston, where he lived until about three years ago, and has not had any contact with him since. He declined to describe the nature of his acquaintance with Tamerlan or the Tsarnaev family, but said he had never met the family members who are now accusing him of radicalizing Tamerlan. He also confirmed he had been interviewed by the FBI and that he has cooperated with the investigation...
In many ways, Allakhverdov’s parents seem typical former-Soviet émigrés who had embraced middle class life in the United States. His father is an Armenian Christian and his mother is an ethnic Ukrainian. The family had lived in Baku, Azerbaijan, but had left in the early 1990s for the United States to escape growing persecution of Armenian Christians there. The family was welcoming to me but very nervous. “We love this country. We never expected anything like this to happen to us,” his father said. [Emphasis added]
Authorities announced Saturday they found no evidence that "Misha," a common nickname for the name Mikhail, is connected to the Boston bombing.