To understand Tamerlan Tsarnaev, it might help to understand Dagestan, the volatile Russian region that is said to have deeply influenced him.
When he returned here in 2012, family members who hadn't seen him in years, say they were surprised by his new interest in religion.
Zaid Abdulagatov, Religion Expert Dagestan Institute Of Social And Economic Research said that anything Tsarnaev may have learned about Islam here would have markedly different from other places.
"This is a regional form of Islam - a regional form. Here there is a lot of selfishness, a lot of severity, a lot of politics - this is the way it's been traditionally.”
What impact those six months had on the deadly bombing he is suspected of carrying out may always be a mystery.
What is clear is that Tsarnaev, who had once dreamed of returning to Russia as a member of the U.S. Olympic boxing team, was struggling to carve out his own piece of the American pie.