For Russia, ignoring ISIS abroad will eventually have domestic consequences. Vladimir Putin has made Russia a key actor in Syria—and his policies there, which involve using Russia’s military might primarily against Bashar al-Assad’s moderate opposition and not against ISIS, leave Russia exposed to a bigger enemy down the road. And this one’s heading for Moscow, not just Damascus.
Putin is no stranger to dealing with terrorism in Russia. His ascension to the presidency began with an act of terror that claimed over three hundred lives in a series of Moscow apartment bombings in September 1999, setting into the motion Russia’s controversial invasion of Chechnya and Boris Yeltsin’s subsequent resignation. As a result of strong-arm counterterrorism tactics and his flattening of Grozny, Putin replaced Yeltsin as the head of the country.The above excerpt was originally published in The National Interest.