9/11 and US-Russia relations

How did 9/11 pivot US-Russia relations?

Members event, Panel Recording
9 September 2021 — 5:00PM TO 6:00PM

9/11 and US-Russia relations - highlights

— How did 9/11 pivot US-Russia relations? For Vladimir Putin, the atrocity of 9/11 meant that the United States now needed Russia.

For Vladimir Putin, the atrocity of 9/11 meant that the United States now needed Russia. Putin was reportedly the first foreign leader to call George W. Bush afterwards, and subsequently facilitated US access to bases in Central Asia without a formal quid pro quo.

The ‘9/11 moment’ in bilateral relations was very short-lived with Russia disappointed that the US did not, even in time, give more in return. The episode is a reminder that, at least at one time, Putin was open to a strong partnership with the US that respected Russia’s ‘cardinal interests’ - Russian pre-eminence in ‘former Soviet space’.

This event is an opportunity to examine not just how events played out, but how they might have played out.

  • Would relations really have improved had Russia’s expectations been met?
  • To what extent did the inability to fully trust each other after 9/11 damage the future US-Russia partnership against terrorism and extremism?
  • What domestic benefit did the ‘9/11 moment’ offer Putin?
  • Did Putin’s apparent concessions to the Americans in Central Asia damage his political standing?

Read a transcript.

This event is part of Chatham House’s ongoing work on the Future of Conflict.

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