In its recent article the British Financial Times told its readers about growing Islamist moods in Russia and the attempts of the local authorities to prevent them.
“Last week, President Vladimir Putin said security forces were hunting for Russian citizens classified as international terrorists,” the FT says and quotes the Russian President as saying that the Russian servicemen are working in this area to prevent the possible return of these people to Russian territory to commit crimes.
Referring to Russia’s Federal Security Service, the British source reports that the number of Russian citizens fighting with Isis has risen from 1,700 in February to 2,400 in September. And while some analysts say these figures are exaggerated, there is consensus that the North Caucasus republics of Dagestan and Chechnya are the epicenter of the problem in Russia. The Chechen government says 405 of the republic’s citizens have left to fight with Isis. Dagestan has not published confirmed statistics, but unofficial estimates are that more than 1,000 of its citizens are in Syria.
“Many Central Asians seeking to fight in Syria travel through Russia. Some 80 to 90 per cent of Isis fighters from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are radicalized and recruited while in Russia as migrant workers, according to estimates by Noah Tucker, author of a report on Central Asian involvement in the conflict in Syria and Iraq,” the FT says.
Since the summer of 2014, Russian immigration officials have drastically stepped up exit checks of Russian citizens leaving for Turkey, Georgia and Azerbaijan, the main countries through which jihadi fighters are known to travel to Syria. Last year, teh Russian Interior Minsitry filed 477 criminal cases on participation in illegal military groups abroad, which is twice more than in 2013.
Since Russia started its military operation in Syria in late September, the crackdown on radical Islamist groups has been advertised as a part of the fight against Isis rather than an effort to root out homegrown terrorism.
Authorities in Moscow are also trying to block the fast-changing social media channels through which terrorist groups in Syria recruit young Russians.
The Safe Internet League, a pro-government body, last month launched a hotline on which internet users can report extremist content related to Isis for blocking.
But experts complain that Moscow’s high-profile push does little to address the root causes of radicalization, warning that the heavy-handed approach to homegrown Islamist insurgents risks driving even more young people into the arms of Isis.
The FT states that in an attempt to suppress the radicals, the Russian government is mostly relying upon force.
The FT’s article is very illogical. What else but a “heavy-handed approach” one should show in fighting terrorism? Or do they in the UK suggest that the Russians start negotiations with killers? Then why didn’t their MPs vote to start peace talks with ISIL fighters instead of voting to start bombing them.
So, once again we see an example of double-standard policy. If they in the UK have their methods to fight terrorism, they should show them in practice. Otherwise, their reproaches are just empty words and reveal their inferiority complex. The West has often been a sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East and now it is trying to patronize those who patronize terrorists. It seems that by reproaching Russia of being too “heavy handed,” they in the West are just trying to justify the current Turkish leaders.