September 11 attacks, Russian reaction to
- Vladimir Putin was the first world leader to console George W. Bush in the wake of the September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Putin also called a meeting of the most influential members of the State Duma to ascertain how to respond; while the vast majority argued for neutrality or even condemnation of American foreign policy, Putin decided to unequivocally support the Americans in their plight against international terrorism. His subsequent televised address made clear his intentions to frame Russia also as a major victim of terror: “Russia knows directly what terrorism means and because of this we, more than anyone, understand the feelings of the American people. In the name of Russia, I want to say to the American people—we are with you.”In the coming months, Putin even took the unprecedented step of permitting United States military bases in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Moscow also began an unprecedented program of counterterrorism information sharing with Washington in an effort to root out transborder networks that connected former mujahideen from the Soviet-Afghan War to Chechen terrorist cells. Putin referred to September 11 as a “turning point” in Russian relations with the rest of the world, and particularly the U.S. Putin’s sophisticated response to 9/11 allowed him to refashion, temporarily, his country’s foreign relations by placing Chechnya at the “epicenter of the global war on terror.” Russia quickly reaped a host of benefits including an expanded role for the country in European security through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)–Russia Council, a pledge of full membership in the Group of Eight (G8), and commitments of greater Western consumption of Russia’s oil and natural gas.
Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. Robert A. Saunders and Vlad Strukov. 2010.
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