Russia’s strategic interests in the Caucasus have both benefited from and been fundamentally challenged by the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. While far removed from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Russia succeeded in rhetorically linking the actions of Chechen insurgents to al-Qaeda, and thereby forging commonality with the US in fighting a shared international ‘Islamic’ foe. Wrote an American account: ‘No longer are 85,000 Russian troops and police officers simply engaged in crushing a battle for independence; instead, Chechnya has become Russia’s war on terror.’1 The Moscow hostage crisis of October 2002, when some 50 bomb-laden Chechens seized a crowded theatre, further served to illustrate this apparent commonality. The potential gains to Russia from a realignment with the US are great. As other contributions in this collection explain, President Vladimir Putin will not achieve all his foreign policy objectives, but he nevertheless has qualitatively changed the US-Russian relationship to that of being partners. In more practical terms, the increased criticism by Western governments of Russian military actions in Chechnya, which even extended to the suspension of Russian participation in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, has since abated.