A superficial look at Russia’s current problems with terrorism and Muslim extremism may lead to the conclusion that the United States and Russia have similar views on this issue, which would therefore make them obvious partners in addressing the problems. Russian president Vladimir Putin promoted this position in the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks in the United States and renewed this claim after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 2013. However, the Kremlin’s view on terrorism is different from Washington’s. The history of Russian domination and abuses in the Caucasus, the chaos and poverty that followed the breakup of the Soviet Union, and the Kremlin’s human rights violations in Chechnya in many ways contributed to the rise of terrorism and Muslim extremism in Russia. In addition, the Kremlin uses terrorism as an excuse for an increased crackdown on civil society and for the lack of democratization in Russia. The Barack Obama administration therefore should have no illusions about the limitations on US-Russian cooperation on terrorism.

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