Another Crack in Putin’s Terrorism Policy?

1295466582918.jpgOf the many angry and saddened responses that the Moscow airport bombing has precipitated (see RFE/RL for a selection of online comments), opposition leader Boris Nemtsov has proved particularly vociferous.  From the Other Russia:

What we have here is the total collapse of anti-terrorism operations in the country. One hundred percent of the responsibility for this collapse lies with V. Putin. It was he who came to power in 2000 under the slogan of “flush the terrorists down the toilet.” It was he who used the war in the Caucasus and the apartment bombings in Moscow to the maximum extent to raise his personal political rating. It was he who actively used terrorist attacks to strengthen one-man government at the beginning of his career. After the terrorist attack in Dubrovka in 2002 he introduced total censorship over television and after the terrorist attack in Beslan he did away with gubernatorial elections, all the while strengthening his own, as later became clear, thoroughly corrupt vertical. At that time, we were instilled with the idea that we were obligated to sacrifice freedom and democracy for the sake of safety. We sacrificed. Now there are many more terrorist attacks and much less safety.

Will this open any doors for fellow diarch Medvedev?  A sobering analysis provided by Anatol Lieven in the Financial Timessuggests not.  According to the article, even if terror is an area traditionally tackled by Vladmir Putin, a general lack of options as to what to do in the ‘horrendously difficult’ Caucasus means that the President is unlikely to gain any political points from the Prime Minister’s shortcomings:

Yet while it is true that he defeated separatist rebellion in Chechnya, it is more and more obvious that he will not be able to stop major terrorism. This may diminish his prestige vis a vis his colleague and potential rival Mr Medvedev. In this, however, can take some small solace, given Mr Medvedev doesn’t have any answers either.

Read the whole article here.