Counterterrorism Policy in the Russian Federation: Furthering the Needs of the Regime

Anastassiya Mahon, Scott Walker


In the wake of the September 11 attacks in 2001, countries were encouraged to enact domestic legislative changes as part of the Global War on Terror. However, it has been left to the countries themselves to define ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist activities’. In this manuscript, we illustrate how liberal democracies and illiberal regimes may have very different understandings of the proper use of domestic counterterrorism (CT) policies. We argue that illiberal states, such as Russia, will likely use CT policy to enhance the ruling regime’s goals in ways that liberal states would not. We focus on the critical changes in Russia’s CT policy under Putin and demonstrate how Putin-era Russian CT policies have been used indirectly (i.e., in ways that are not explicitly focused on eliminating terrorist threats) to advance the Kremlin’s desire to suppress domestic opposition and enhance its political standing both at home and abroad.


Russia, terrorism, counterterrorism, illiberal regimes, Putin.

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