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Intra-Communal Violence in Southwest Russia and the Government's Reaction to Extremism

Presenter: Peter Marzalik (Security & Intelligence & Russian)
Advisors: Prof. Anthony Mughan (International Studies), Dr. Jeffrey Lewis (International Studies)


On July 19, 2012, head mufti Ildus Faizov was nearly assassinated and his deputy Valiulla Yakupov murdered by a radical Islamic sect in the city of Kazan in Tatarstan, Russia.  This unprecedented terrorist attack was motivated by the extremists outrage at their leaders moderate prescriptions on Islamic fundamentalism.  Such deadly intra-communal violence triggered a strong military response from the Russian government.  In line with Putin-era security policies, the Federal Security Service (FSB) continues to actively pursue extremists in the conflicts of the North Caucasus.  However, initial inquiries suggest the dissatisfaction of ethnic minorities with federal mandates extends beyond this war-torn area.  Through news source analysis and survey data, this study examines the growing trend of nationalist fervor and Islamic radicalization in the republic of Tartarstan and neighboring Bashkortostan.  The field research is currently ongoing, and conclusions will be presented in preliminary form.  The results of this project will provide important knowledge pertaining to political violence in a region not heavily studied in current academic circles.