The Russian authorities have been reluctant to admit that an attack in southern Dagestan on the eve of New Year was the work of Islamic State. The organization is making a bid to play a role in the North Caucasus.
Russia’s official Muslim establishment blames the West for the rise of the self-proclaimed Islamic State and refuses to admit that radical Islam has a real social base, ignoring the radicalization of many ordinary Muslims in Russia and Central Asia.
Despite his harsh rhetoric, Kadyrov now takes a pragmatic view of the Islamic State’s influence on the situation in Chechnya and is committing himself to “exorcise” would-be recruits or returnees from the Middle East rather than merely destroying them.
Many people are trying to rewrite the history of the 2008 Georgia-Russia War in the light of the Ukraine crisis. The EU’s report on the war is still a useful baseline and a reminder of how different the two conflicts are.