"Russia's strategy regarding its mostly Muslim southern republics has varied little over the last decade of turbulence: Answer force with force. Attacks on trains, apartment blocks and schools are met with crushing military campaigns, disappearances and death. But on Tuesday, the day after 39 people were killed in Moscow by female suicide bombers during the morning commute, the government's handling of the Caucasus region came under criticism, even from within. The idea of Russia suffering the wrath of people radicalized by violence in the republics of Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan is nothing new. But this week's attack seemed to pull it back from the margins of discourse. The subway carnage has engendered not so much shock as despair at the return of a nightmare. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, widely regarded as the most powerful man in Russia, may well choose to continue the hard-hitting policy he engineered."