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Non-Western responses to terrorism$
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Michael J. Boyle

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526105813

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526105813.001.0001

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Russia: Russia’s response to terrorism in the twenty-first century

Russia: Russia’s response to terrorism in the twenty-first century

1 Russia: Russia’s response to terrorism in the twenty-first century
Non-Western responses to terrorism

Ekaterina Stepanova

Manchester University Press

The chapter explores how, despite earlier counterterrorism failures and two bitter wars in Chechnya, terrorism in Russia has declined in the 2010s. The Islamist-separatist terrorism problem that used to dominate national politics was degraded to a relatively peripheral issue that hovers at a level of persistent, but low-scale and increasingly fragmented violence, primarily in the North Caucasus. However imperfect, interim and incomplete, a ‘solution’ that has worked out in the Russian case was not ‘war’. This ‘solution other than war’ was made possible by certain developments outside Moscow’s direct control, such as the internal split within the insurgency catalyzed by its increasing jihadization, and resulted from a combination of the policy of Chechenization, shifts in federal security strategy towards smarter suppression and prevention, and massive reconstruction and development assistance. While this solution is no substitute for addressing the underlying structural causes of violent extremism and has involved enormous security, financial, human rights and governance costs for the nation, these costs are much lower than the cost of war. This is seen as one of the key broader lessons to be gleaned from Russia’s response to terrorism. It also explains why Russia has a genuine interest in ensuring that this degree of stabilization and decline in terrorism of North Caucasian origin is not distorted or reversed by new destabilizing factors, including transnational influences and connections.

Keywords:   Russia, North Caucasus, Chechenization, Islamist-jihadist terrorism, ISIS

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