The Tsarnaevs had come to America thanks largely to Anzor's younger brother Ruslan, who, as the family told it, was a rich and successful lawyer. He lived near Washington, D.C. and for a time was their model in adapting to the new world. I had known little about Ruslan when I was in Cambridge, but now, reporting on the family after the bombing, I learned his story.
When I met him in Washington last summer, he looked the part of the rich uncle. He picked me up in a silver Mercedes and drove me to Off the Record, a bar in the Hay-Adams hotel near the White House, where we talked for three hours.
Ruslan was indeed successful in ways that his older brother wasn't. They grew up in the penurious former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan, where Ruslan excelled in school, learned English, landed a white-collar job in the capital of Bishkek, and met and married the daughter of a retired high-ranking CIA officer, who was there advising the government on privatization. Soon he had a U.S. passport and was studying law at Duke University.
CIA, Russian privatization, Hay-Adams hotel kitty-corner from the White House, Chechens ... the full story behind how the Tsarnaevs got to live in America seems like it would pretty interesting if it ever comes out. But, few others find the topic interesting, perhaps because, you see, it might raise questions about who should get into America and who should not, and that's not a conversation we're supposed to be having.