Russia’s Islam: Balancing Securitization and Integration
Marlene Laruelle, 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 celebrate’s Islam’s contribution to the country and its greatpower 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.