Staunton, August 4 – Aleksandr Buksman, first deputy Russian procurator, says that the number of terrorist crimes in Russia has risen 73 percent this year, the result primarily of expanded work by the police and other force structures but also of an increase in the terrorist threat itself to Russia.
During the first six months of 2016, he said this week on the basis of a report his institution has prepared, “the growth in the number of crimes of a terrorist nature in Russia was 73 percent and that of extremist crimes 10 percent.” He added that there were 1313 crimes of the first kind and 830 of the latter (club-rf.ru/news/42784).
He noted that the identification of such a large number of these crimes was the result of “preventive work by law enforcement organs in tracking on the Internet prohibited publications and brining to criminal responsibility the leaders and participants of band formations in the North Caucasus and those who are fighting in Syria in terrorist groups.”
But Buksman insisted that the figures were not simply a product of better policing but in fact “a reflection of growing threats” from this direction.
The Russian procurator’s words are important for two reasons. On the one hand, they are a rare acknowledgement by a Russian official that the figures Moscow uses to highlight the terrorist threat are, even when accurate, a product of its actions as well as those of its “terrorist” or “extremist” opponents.
And on the other, they call attention to one of the reasons other researchers have pointed to: Russian siloviki are especially focused on the Internet because it is so easy for them to track postings in order to bring extremism cases and thus simultaneously make themselves look good and justify bigger budgets.