The greatly reduced level of internal terrorist threat is translated into gradually shifting foreign policy guidelines that increasingly aim at securing for Russia a position of “neutrality” in the main theaters of the U.S.-led war against terror. Counter-terrorism has remained the trademark theme of Putin’s regime for the last seven years, beginning August 9, 1999, when Yeltsin appointed the little-known apparatchik to be prime minister and his designated successor. Apparently, the Kremlin has decided that the usefulness of this topic has been exhausted and a more flexible line would be more appropriate for the period of “peace and prosperity” that is planned to culminate in the transfer of power to a new hand-picked successor. The problem is that cultivating the “never-better” beliefs fed by the inflow of “petro-rubles” is the political equivalent of laying a self-made trap that tends to spring at the most inopportune moment. One thing Putin’s team has never been good at is handling crises; his courtiers have apparently decided that the next one would never happen. History suggests this optimism is misplaced.
Baev, Pavel K. (2006) Russia Wrapping up its War Against Terror, Eurasia Daily Monitor. 14 August.