Foreign Bodies: Transnational Activism, the Insurgency in the North Caucasus and “Beyond”

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This article examines foreign fighters and the insurgency in the North Caucasus.
The first part of the article addresses conceptual issues concerning the ways that foreign fighters are analysed, posing this more widely in terms of transnational activism. Here I examine the importance of kin and relatedness. I develop this argument in the second part of the article, which examines pan-Islamism and transnational activism in the post-Soviet period. The third section draws attention to the different groups of foreign fighters, as part of a wider activist movement in the North Caucasus. Here I show that a complex group of transnational activists from the Greater Middle East, North Africa, parts of Europe, and Central Asia participated in the conflicts in the North Caucasus. Finally, the article turns to examine volunteers from the North Caucasus who travelled to fight in Syria, concluding with some considerations about the reintegration of returnees and former activists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-415
Number of pages21
JournalTerrorism and Political Violence
Issue number3
Early online date6 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2015


  • foreign fighter, insurgency, kinship, North Caucasus, social movements, transnational activism


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