In both Syria and the North Caucasus, Russia claims success in fighting insurgency and terrorism, offering itself as a model of best practice. Closer examination, however, shows that this “success” carries major caveats and is more illusory than it first appears. This article considers the link between Russian-speaking foreign fighters in Syria and domestic jihadism, the lessons of Russia’s counterinsurgency approach and the potential for further conflict in the North Caucasus. It argues that Russia has successfully defeated the domestic insurgency, in part by displacing the conflict to Syria, but has remained in the crosshairs of Russian nationals recruited to fight abroad. Furthermore, Russia’s failure to address underlying problems makes it likely the North Caucasus will continue to experience low levels of violence and instability, even if the re-emergence of organized insurgency is unlikely in the short term.
|Type||Analysis Article for Russia Matters project|
|Media of output||Online|
|Publication status||Published - 29 Apr 2021|