Russia’s Islam: Balancing Securitization and Integration Russie.Nei.Visions, No. 125, Ifri, December 2021
Russia’s Islam has been much more than the two Chechen wars, and regular terrorist actions that have shaken the Russian territory. Islam constitutes an integral part of Russia’s history and culture, and the Putin regime regularly celebrates Islam’s contribution to the country and its great power reassertion.
Labor migrations from the North Caucasus as well as from Central Asia to Russia’s main metropoles, a dynamic Islamic Runet debating about Islam in Russian, and the—apparent only—paradoxical marriage of convenience between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Muftiates contribute to this alignment of interests between the Russian regime and its Muslim constituencies, far away from the simplistic, black and white vision promoted by Western media of a Russia intrinsically opposed to Islam.
This paper discusses this fragile balance between securitizing Islam(ism) as a threat to the country’s stability and multinational harmony and recognizing Muslim citizens as a central support for the Kremlin, both in terms of electoral provision, authoritarian practices, and promotion of conservative values.
Marlène Laruelle is a Research Professor at George Washington University (Washington DC), Director of the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES), Director of the Illiberalism Studies Program, and Co-Director of PONARS-Eurasia. Since January 2019, she has been an Associate Research Fellow at Ifri’s Russia/NIS Center. She works on the rise of the populist and illiberal movements, on the renewal of the conservative thought as well as on the ideological transformations and questions of national identity in the post-Soviet area, especially in Russia.
This content is available in French : L'islam de Russie. Équilibrer sécurisation et intégration
It is also available in Russian : Ислам в России. Поиск баланса между безопасностью и интеграцией