Saturday, June 27, 2015

Islamist Radicalism on the Rise within the Ranks of Russian Military, Army Prosecutors Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 27 – A senior official of Russia’s Chief Military Procurcay says that “radical organizations of a religious type are ever more actively recruiting into their ranks Russian soldiers, part of which are filling the ranks of band formations” but another part of which are remaining within the Russian military and promoting disloyalty.

            Vladimir Molodykh says that “the greatest danger today is presented by supporters of radical pseudo-religious organizations and totalitarian sects, the expansion of which in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation has significantly intensified” (

            The military prosecutor did not provide any statistics to back up his statement, thus leaving open the question as to whether this is a genuine trend or whether commanders are exploiting the Kremlin’s concerns about terrorism in order to win more support for themselves by showing them following the current line.

            Instead, Molodykh discusses two specific cases, one in which a sergeant in reserve who became a supporter of the Caucasus Emirate, kept weapons, explosives and narcotics in his home, and took part in illegal actions against the authorities, and a second in which a serving soldier in the Southern Federal District disseminated calls for radicalism via the Internet.

            Both were caught by the military authorities, he says, with the first sentenced to six years in jail and the second awaiting trial.  But Molodykh notes that the first was involved with Islamist radical groups for several years before he was brought to justice. And he says military prosecutors are giving “priority” to such cases.

            “If earlier, such phenomena in the army milieu were rare, in the recent years, their number has grown,” the result Molodykh says of “the criminalization of mass culture, insufficient education, the deformation of the system of values, and gaps in the pre-induction preparation of young people.”

            The new harsher line against any Russian involved in such groups is echoed by Roman Silantyev, a specialist on Islam with close ties to the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian security services who has gained notoriety in certain circles for his attacks on Muslim leaders in Russia.

            In his latest interview, Silantyev says that the best way to dissuade those who are thinking about joining Islamist terrorists is to tell them that if they do, they will be physically destroyed. Only such a threat will make an impression on many of them (

                “Fear,” he suggests, “is a very good prophylactic measure” given that those who are prepared to join those who behead their opponents are unlikely to listen to any rational arguments.  He calls for longer jail terms for both recruiters and recruits and says the latter should not get off by blaming the former.

            Those who attempt to do so, Silantyev continues, are like drug addicts who after their arrest blame their dealers. They try to win sympathy and get off by doing so. But such claims are fraudulent, he says, and should be dismissed out of hand.

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