Ibragim Todashev was the eldest of 12 children. His father said the family fled Chechnya after the wars of secession erupted there in the 1990s, eventually finding a haven in the Volga River city of Saratov. Abdulbaki Todashev had once studied to be a veterinarian there, in the Soviet era.
I.e., the Todashevs were on the side of Russia, the eventual victor, not on the side of the Chechen separatists, who lost when Putin came to power.
Ibragim Todashev studied English for three years in Saratov and then, in 2008, returned with his family to by-then more stable Chechnya
I.e., Russian-ruled Chechnya.
and completed his fourth year of higher education at Grozny University, his father said. The elder Todashev got a job with the city. Today, he heads the administrative unit of the Grozny mayor’s office.
Grozny is the capital of Chechnya and is the focus of vast rebuilding efforts by Moscow. So, the elder Todashev appears to report directly to the mayor of Grozny as head of the "administrative unit." (Other news accounts describe him as the head of "municipal services" in the mayor's office. It sounds like a big job with lots of patronage possibilities, at least as big as, say, heading Streets and Sanitation in Chicago, maybe bigger.)
Is the mayor of Grozny, Todashev's boss, a political wild card, totally divorced from the larger power in that part of the world? I don't think so. I found this news report:
The City Council of Grozny has elected Muslim Khuchiyev as mayor of the Chechen capital today, the press service of the Chechen Republic's administration reports. The meeting of the City Council was attended by the head of the republic, Ramzan Kadyrov. He congratulated Khuchiyev on his victory.
I've looked at hundreds of pictures of Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov, but I've never seen one in which he is looking the least bit displeased about the turns of events. My impression is that Ramzan is not a good sport about political reverses: if he is not happy, nobody with a government job in Chechnya is happy until Ramzan is happy again. Therefore, I have to assume that the election of Mr. Khuchiyev did not come as an unpleasant surprise to Ramzan.
(Update: Here's a July 3, 2007 Pravda story about Ramzan firing the mayor of Grozny and naming Khuchiyev mayor.)
In turn, Ramzan reports directly to Vladimir Putin in Moscow -- he flies in so often to see Putin that he has a private army of bodyguards permanently stationed at the hotel of the Interior Ministry in Moscow maintained by the Office of the President.
So, to the best of my knowledge, here would be what one part of the org chart of the Russian state looks like:
Abdulbaki Todashev (father of "refugee" Ibragim Todashev)
Your dad lives in Russia and is three steps down the organization chart from the de facto czar of Russia. That qualifies you for refugee status?
Back to the Washington Post:
As soon as he left the university, Ibragim Todashev went to the United States on a program that enabled him to perfect his English, his father said. Three or four months later, when it was time to return, Todashev called his father and said he wanted to stay on a while.
“I wasn’t against it,” the father said. Chechnya was still struggling, and life in the United States had to be more secure. Ibragim was living in Boston and got to know Tsarnaev because they belonged to the same gym, his father said. They had each other’s phone numbers, he said, “but they were never close friends.”
Ibragim Todashev applied for a green card, which meant he had to stay in the United States. He stayed active in mixed martial arts, but a knee injury and surgery on his meniscus put an end to those dreams.
Thank God we have immigrants to do all the dreaming for us.
Two months ago, his father said, he received the green card, and that’s when he started making plans to come back to Grozny for a visit, knowing he would be able to reenter the United States.
A few questions ... Did young Todashev have a legitimate job? His neighbors mostly recall him spending long hours detailing his Mercedes. Is that a job Americans just won't do?
Todashev still sponged off his separated wife in Atlanta, that Armenian girl who converted to Islam to marry him, and perhaps off his cute girlfriend, too, a Russian illegal immigrant in Orlando. What else, if anything, did he do for money? Deal drugs?
("By the way, the death certificate of 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev lists his occupation as "never worked."")
Todashev got his green card in 2013 despite twice being arrested in this decade for violent incidents, a road rage incident in Boston and a parking lot punchout in Orlando.
He got the green card for being a "refugee" in need of "asylum," but his response was to immediately book a flight back to Russia, the country he ostensibly needed asylum from, where his dad is three steps down the power structure from Putin.
Tony Montana in Scarface (video) had a more plausible claim to refugee status and a green card than did this mook.
Is anybody else besides me and Refugee Resettlement Watch interested in these questions?
I'm fascinated by how little attention is paid to the obvious policy questions raised by this lurid incident. The only people who want to do the minimal amount of digging necessary to learn anything about Todashev's background are conspiracy theorists with their amazing knack for getting things wrong, while respectable types just find it all baffling and confusing so they don't want to think about it.
So, the Todashev and Tsarnaev refugee awards are evidence either that our refugee system is broken or that it's being finagled by as part of a dangerous game being played in the Caucasus by ... the CIA? The State Department? Who knows?
We need a National Immigration Safety Board to investigate these particularly egregious incidents.