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After Boston bombings: Beware Russia-US cooperation on counter-terrorism

After the Boston bombings, Russian President Putin and US President Obama announced closer cooperation on counter-terrorism. But Americans should have their eyes wide open about any counter-terrorism agreements with Russia.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin during his meeting with ministers in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, April 22. Op-ed contributor Janusz Bugajski writes: The Kremlin is reaching out to President Obama to cooperate on terrorism so that he can 'depict anti-American terrorism as equivalent to anti-Russian terrorism and thereby avoid US criticism of its brutal anti-terrorist operations.'

Mikhail Klimentyev/Presidential Press Service/RIA-Novosti/AP

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Following the terrorist bombings in Boston, President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to intensify bilateral cooperation in counter-terrorism. That can be useful in some ways, particularly when it comes to intelligence sharing. But Americans should have their eyes wide open about any counter-terrorism agreements with Russia.

First, Russian and American counter-terrorism operations are based on completely different principles; and second, President Putin’s regime itself engages in state terrorism against unarmed civilians.

The terrorist attack in Boston was allegedly carried out by two ethnic Chechen brothers, living in the United States for about a decade. Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed in a shootout with police last week, and Dzhokhar, his younger brother and a US citizen, was captured and is in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds.

Tamerlan spent six months in Russia during 2012, and was interviewed by the FBI – at Russia’s request – before his trip. The FBI says it found nothing suspicious. Tamerlan’s father says his son stayed with him in Dagestan, a Russian republic in the troubled North Caucasus region.

Dzhokhar has indicated from his hospital bed that the two brothers acted alone. Leaders of the main insurgency movement in the North Caucasus, the Caucasian Emirate, who do not shy away from claiming credit for terrorist acts, also denied that the Tsarnaev brothers are linked to them – and characteristically pointed the finger at Moscow.

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