KeywordsSocial Sciences and Humanities
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AbstractTo what extent does Russia face the threat of Islamic radicalization? This article provides an assessment of the nature and severity of the threat and its changing dynamics from the Yeltsin to the Putin periods in post-Soviet Russia. It argues that, contrary to many accounts, the threat was at its greatest during the late 1990s and in the Yeltsin period. Moreover, the Putin administration adopted a series of policies that have had some significant successes in stemming the flow of Islamic radicalism within Russia. This has involved a policy mix, including repression and coercion, most notably in the military campaign in Chechnya; diplomatic efforts in the Middle East and broader Muslim world to improve Russia's image; pro-active domestic policies to co-opt and support moderate Russian Muslim leaders and their communities; and attempts to construct a national identity and ideology which supports the multi-confessional and multinational nature of the Russian state and recognizes the Muslim contribution to Russian statehood and nationality. Although these policies have had their successes, there are also significant limitations, the most notable of which is the failure to address the problems of poor governance in the North Caucasus, which has sustained the Islamist insurgency in the region. The failure to develop an intermediary Muslim civil society in Russia more generally also contributes to the continuing appeal of Islamist radicalism, particularly among younger Russian Muslims.
Dannreuther, Roland (2010) Islamic radicalization in Russia: an assessment. International Affairs, 86 (1). pp. 109-126. ISSN 0020-5850