The War of Terrorism in Russian Foreign Policy
Publish date: 2006-01-01
Report number: FOI-R--2155--SE
Written in: English
The Russian war on "international" terrorism in Chechnya since the 1990s has affected not only neighbouring Georgia but also become a central theme in Russian foreign policy, especially after 9/11. Relations with the US improved, when Russia supported its declaration of war on terror, the toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the establishment of US bases in Central Asia. However, several European states refused to extradite suspected Chechens toRussia, criticized the Russian war in Chechnya for violating human rights and called for a political solution, which Russia rejected as interference in internal affairs. When the Chechen war then abated, European attention to it weakened, but the authoritarian development in Russia became a bigger problem. Russia on its side was increasingly concerned that the war on terrorism led to more US influence in the Caucasus and Central Asia and supported the closure of the US base in Uzbekistan. Russia both worried and gloated over the US and the allies´failure in pacifying Iraq and Afghanistan, while doing nothing to assist. It refused to recognise the Hezbollah and the Hamas as terrorist organisations against Israel and maintained ties with their sponsors iran and Syria. All this strained the antiterror cooperation with particularly the US. Russia thus also subordinated the war on terrorism to geopolitical and economic interests in certain regions and its credibility as a reliable partner of Western democracies was undermined.