April 22, 2013
By Fiona Hill
Fiona Hill is director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. She served on the National Intelligence Council as the officer for Russia and Eurasia from 2006-2009. She is the author, with Clifford Gaddy, of the new book "Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin."
In the wake of the Boston bombings, some have speculated whether cooperation on counter-terrorism could put the U.S.-Russian relationship back on a more stable footing at a particular tense moment in bilateral relations. This will not be an easy task, even if both President Putin and President Obama are willing to try.
When Vladimir Putin became Russian president in the 2000s, coordination on anti-terrorism efforts was his central idea for Russian-U.S. cooperation. Chechnya was an integral element for Putin. Even before the events of September 11, 2001, Putin repeatedly warned the United States of the connection between Russia’s Chechen insurgency and international terrorism. Now, 12 years later, when terrorists of Chechen ethnicity have struck the United States itself, that connection appears to have been made for him.