Key points resulting from this analysis include:
• Until the end of the Cold War, terrorism was a phenomenon practically unknown in the Soviet Union. The chaotic disappearance of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) resulted, among other developments, in two wars in North Caucasus and subsequent waves of terrorism in the region and terrorist attacks in Moscow. The demise of the USSR also weakened the organizations responsible for the security and law and order of Russia—a phenomenon rarely understood in the West.
• Russia and the United States are the priority targets for many radical Islamic groups. The two countries should be able, in theory at least, to cooperate closely against many terrorist groups. However, several issues, which each country sees as important, make this cooperation very difficult and occasionally impossible.
• In the post-communist, unipolar world, the United States was the dominant power, which paid little attention to the views and opinions of other countries. This attitude was particularly strongly resented in Russia, accustomed to its status of an equal security and military power. The United States failed to appreciate the changes in the Russian Federation and still does not always accept that repetitive public criticism of Russia’s democratic deficit can be counterproductive.
• Political orphans of the Soviet Union, who regret the disappearance of the country they were born in, brought up in, and worked for, run Russia. Twenty-three years after the collapse of communism, they may not want to see a return of communism, but they want the new Russia to be as respected or feared as was the USSR.
• Many Russians see the United States as the principal culprit of the USSR collapse and the present U.S. foreign policy as a continuing attempt to dominate the world. They also blame the United States and other Western countries for profiting from the chaos of their own making in the 1990s.
• The United States has a clear choice between imperfect cooperation with an imperfect Russia, or in-your-face lecturing of Moscow about its deficiencies. The lecturing achieved nothing positive so far and provoked Russian counterarguments about Washington’s double standards.
• Anti-terrorist cooperation with Russia can be very productive if it is well planned and executed. This requires a detailed knowledge of those with whom to work, and with specific lists of operational do’s and don’ts.
• For the last 12 years, the Russian security apparatus has benefitted from increased funding. While it has become more effective, this brings a duality, creating more problems not only for those against whom it operates, but also for potential partners. Russia has become, once again, a security superpower.
Successful anti-terrorist cooperation with Russia requires, above all, an understanding of Russia. (NOTE: This monograph was written before the 2014 Winter Games at Sochi, Russia.)