chapter  8
15 Pages

Divergent trends of Islamic radicalization in Muslim Russia


The chapter begins with a brief ethno-cultural background of Russia’s two main Muslim enclaves – the Volga-Urals and the North Caucasus. Then it proceeds to analyse various manifestations of Islamic activism there. It shows how different histories of Islamization and different relations with the Russian political centre and Russian culture infl uenced the nature and intensity of post-Communist Islamic revival and Islamic radicalization in both regions. In particular, it demonstrates that in the Volga-Urals region Islamic radicalization has occurred largely within the intellectual and theological debate on the essence of ‘regional Islam’ and its relationship with ‘normative’ Islam. The chapter pays special attention to the notions and practices of both ‘traditional’ and ‘non-traditional’ Islam. By comparison, in the North Caucasus radical Islam has transcended doctrinal discourse and fused with politics. The chapter provides an analysis of the doctrine, organization and tactics of Islamists in the region and their relationship with the global jihadist network. 1 In conclusion, the implications of rising Islam for the Russian state and the effectiveness of Moscow’s counter-radicalization policies are assessed.