From Chechnya to Syria: The Evolution of Russia’s Counter-Terrorist Policy Russie.Nei.Visions, No. 107, Ifri, April 2018
The struggle against terrorism is supposed to be one part of security policy in which Russia has every necessary capability and know-how, and its special services can draw on vast experience without encountering the legal and institutional constraints that often interfere with Western efforts.
Yet, instead of strength, counter-terrorism is a major weakness in the country’s still uncertain state-building. Relative stability in the North Caucasus is eroding, St Petersburg was shocked by its first terrorist attack on 3 April 2017, Western condemnation of Russia’s intervention in Syria has gained new momentum, and the expectations in the Kremlin for building cooperative counter-terrorist ties with the Trump administration have been disappointed. Russia is facing growing threats from both home-grown and international terrorism, and its counter-terrorist policy, instead of deterring these threats, generates more security challenges on the domestic front and new tensions in relations with the West, in particular with the EU.
Dr. Pavel K. Baev is a Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). He is also a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington DC, and an Associate Research Fellow at Ifri, Paris.