Maskhadov, you see, is officially a terrorist in the eyes of the Kremlin. Hamas, however, isn't. Putin said so at his Kremlin press-conference on Thursday, where he extended an invitation eagerly accepted to Hamas's leaders to Moscow for an official visit.
Putin's hospitality is understandable; after all, Russia does not have many friends. Those still left, like Belarus, or those now coming back after a long estrangement, like Uzbekistan, are ones who share Putin's views on how to deal with terror closer to home. Yesterday, the Uzbek authorities officially confirmed that a month ago they clamped a seven-year jail sentence on the lawyer and human rights activist Saidjahon Zainabitdinov. His official crimes were conspiring with terrorists and defaming the state. But Human Rights Watch and others believe that his real offense was telling the world including in an interview with Time the truth about the mass slaughter of hundreds of civilians in the Uzbek city of Andijan last May.
And so perhaps Hamas, if it wants to stay in Russia's good graces, should learn from this pattern. Terrorism is in the eye of the beholder so if you can view the world through the cross-hairs of Putin's myopic lens, you'll do just fine.