Russian authorities warned the FBI in 2011 about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Why?

Russian authorities (FSB) warned the FBI in 2011 about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the “Boston Bombers”.

After WW2, relations between Russia and the United States have been strained at best. The situation in 2011 was no different. If Putin really hated the US and considered it his country’s enemy, why would he bother having his FSB inform the FBI about a possible attack on US soil?

If some intell about a possible attack on Moscow by Chechen rebels reached the CIA, would a US president order the CIA to inform Russia? I would hope so, but we’re the “good guys”. We help everyone, even our enemies, but Russia (“the bad guys”) helping the US?

Why wasn’t this a bigger story in the press or is it not that uncommon?


The cold war ended in the early 1990s. If an American wants to visit Moscow, it’s no big deal. Likewise, if a Russian wants to visit Washington DC, no biggie. I wouldn’t say that tensions between Russian and the US have completely gone away, especially concerning Chechen rebels, but we’re not the bitter cold-war enemies that we once were.

I have nothing to say to this but:


Russia (and in its time the Soviet Union) has had more than its fair share of shitty authoritarian bastards in charge, but it’s not actually composed entirely of cartoon villains.

Informing the US about a dangerous potential terrorist/murderer on their soil fosters goodwill, costs them nothing, and gets in the way of precisely zero things that Russia actually wants. Also, it shows the US that the Russian secret service is competent - always a nice thing to be able to demonstrate to your counterparts.

Why wouldn’t they do this?

Sounds more like the FSB requested assistance:

Putin himself comes kinda close, but he’s just one guy ;).

More to the point Chechnya is a flashpoint for the Russians and it was for his Chechen connections that Tsarnaev was under watch. The Russians have a strong practical motivation to cooperate in precisely this area, because it can directly rebound on them. Tamerlan Tsarnaev could have just as possibly been planning a revenge attack on Russian soil.

There is no evidence that Putin hates the US. This is a product of the US propaganda mill. Russia has been the victim of vicious terrorist attacks by perpetrators from the Caucuses, from Chechnya. US intelligence has relations with these terrorists as is does with others in the world. This is well known outside the propaganda bubble created by the establishment media.

I lived in the Soviet Union (Moscow) in 1977. FWIW, the Cold War, and scare-mongering of the general populace was an American phenomenon. There was nothing reciprocal in the USSR. People were very friendly to us, interested in us and the US, and not afraid of us in the slightest. We were not expected to disparage the US to please them, the way the only acceptable Soviet citizen in the US was one who had nothing but complaints about the USSR.

I would be shocked if the US did something to help the Russians (well, not the Clinton or Obama administration, but the Bushes, yes). But I would not be shocked by the Russians informing us of a common enemy in our midst. I would not even had been shocked if the Soviet Union had done so. After all, we were allies during WWII, and some of that goodwill remained among the Russians. We were leaving our hotel once, and a party in one of the rooms had spilled out into the lobby. It was a reunion of a WWII regiment. When they heard there were Americans in their midst, they drank a toast to us, as representatives of their allies, who helped them defeat Hitler.

Even if Putin (and the rest of his administration) doesn’t particularly like the US, it’s currently in their best interests to at least pretend that they do.

I’m really surprised anyone feels this way any more. Certainly in the days of the Dark Empire (USSR) there was tension and a lack of trust but that ended in 1991. Immediately afterwards Mikhail Gorbachev became probably the most popular leader in the world.

From outside the US, Russia is viewed as a place where life is better and more open today but it will take a while to catch up with the West. Interestingly some foreign policy thinkers point to Russia becoming influential because the US has withdrawn from places lately.

Anyway so far as terrorism and crime etc is concerned, both countries interests are to work together.

The attitude is “The enemy of my enemy is … someone I can work with a bit to achieve an immediate goal.”

The Russians knew that Tamerlan was in contact with Russian/Chechen Islamic radicals. A group the Russians want to squash. So if the US can help keep a check on these people, that’ll work for them.

A larger scale version was the USSR + Western Allies during WWII. Stalin considered the West a long term enemy, but the Nazis were a bigger short term threat.

BTW, the US and any other country also has the same philosophy.

Heck, does anyone remember the old GI Joe cartoons, from back in the 80s? The Russians had their own elite anti-terrorism team analogous to GI Joe, and they cooperated occasionally against Cobra. And that didn’t seem very remarkable to anyone.

Every major news outlet reported this.

Mangosteen, you know those posters from WWI showing the Huns as gorilla like creatures tearing the heads off babies with their teeth? They actually weren’t true. Germans are actually normal people.

Just thought I’d clear that one up for you, in case you hadn’t realised.


Russia didn’t attack the Ukraine until 2014. Prior to that, we were relatively friendly. I think the biggest complaint the US had about the Russians, previous to that, was their stance against homosexuals and that was relegated solely to the conversation about the Olympics at Sochi (I don’t recall exactly what the correlation between those two was, but it seemed to be an issue). Even things like their treatment of Pussy Riot, most people seemed to think the girls had largely brought it on themselves.

I wouldn’t say that we were friends, but on the whole we were just glad to see them not being Communist mad men, killing their own populace and spreading chaos through the world. Sadly, Putin seemed to have reawakened to the idea that those had been the good ol’ times in mid-2014.