Nonetheless, I am braced for the question that is put to me every single time a terror attack occurs in Russia. In the aftermath, at least one person will ask me the inevitable: "Why doesn't Russia just let the North Caucasus go?"
It's a question I'm used to hearing, but it gets no less irritating.
As a Dagestani acquaintance of mine put it recently: "Most people abroad don't even realise just how much worse things can get over there – and how quickly too."
Likewise, neither is the North Caucasus some sort of happy monolith where residents are going to come together should the federal authorities leave them to it. Dagestan in particular is dealing with a great deal of ethnic and sectarian tension.
It is something I do pretty much unconsciously these days, alongside listening to angry hip-hop on my iPod and checking to make sure no one's trying to nick my wallet. At the very least, it keeps me occupied.
At this point in history, a great many nations, not only Russia, seem stuck with a wearying status quo, this ebbing and flowing battle with low-grade terror.
But we are also coming to recognise that concessions to separatism, whether in the North Caucasus or elsewhere, could only have even more devastating consequences.