Mysterious ‘Misha’ found in R.I. town; denies influencing Marathon bomb suspect, according to published report WEST WARWICK, R.I.

The mysterious “Misha,” a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev described by the bombing suspect’s relatives as a zealous conservative Muslim who helped radicalize Tamerlan, has been found in this Rhode Island town. But Mikhail “Misha” Allakhverdov told the New York Review of Books Sunday that he had nothing to do with the bombings, that he did not steer Tamerlan toward violence, and that he had not seen him since he moved away from Boston about three years ago. “If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov, 39, told the publication. The Review of Books published a brief account of its interview with Allakhverdov on its blog Sunday night, saying the item was part of a longer piece on Boston’s Russian and Chechen community to be published in a forthcoming edition of the biweekly journal. Allakhverdov told the Review he was cooperating fully with law enforcement and that he had nothing to hide. A former brother-in-law of the Tsarnaev brothers, in an interview with the AP from Kyrgyzstan last week, described “Misha” as a red-bearded Armenian convert who exerted enormous influence over Tamerlan. Under his teaching, he said, according to the AP, Tamerlan gave up music, took an interest in conspiratorial websites, and became increasingly opposed to US actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The AP reported that Tamerlan’s uncle, Ruslan Tsarni, recalled speaking with Tamerlan’s father about his concerns regarding Misha’s influence: “Somehow, he just took his brain,” Tsarni said.