Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Radical Groups Order Followers to Remain in Russia and Organize Terrorist Cells There, National Anti-Terrorist Committee Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 25 – The leaders of international terrorist groups have ordered their followers in the Russian Federation to remain there and prepare to launch terrorist attacks at home rather than go abroad to support groups in the Middle East as they have done in the past, Andrey Kokurov, a senior official of Russia’s National Anti-Terrorist Committee.

            On the one hand, this reflects the defeats such groups have suffered in Syria and Iraq; but on the other, it means that followers of ISIS and other extremist groups may be forming new “terrorist cells” inside Russia and that Moscow faces an expanded threat – or at the very least wants to suggest that possibility.

            Kokurov, the first deputy head of the I Administration of the NAC, made these comments at a Moscow forum this week on “Opposing the Ideology of Terrorism among Young People in the Educational System” (

            He also warned that Russia’s have observed a tendency toward “’the self-radicalization’” of Russians, a situation in which people not directly affected by foreign groups or recruited by them nevertheless begin to be interested in radical ideologies,” something that has been in evidence in Chechnya and elsewhere in recent weeks.

            The NAC official said that the NAC has achieved some significant successes in countering these groups, having “liquidated more than 50 sleeper cells of terrorists” in recent times.  In 2017, he continued, its officers prevented 61 criminal plans, including “18 terrorist acts.” 

                In reporting Kokorov’s comments, the NewsRu agency pointed to a fundamental contradiction: The NAC official said that the level of the terrorist threat in Russia has been declining consistently in recent years but also that more terrorists are remaining in Russia. It isn’t clear how those two views fit together, the agency said (

            The meeting to which Kokorov spoke has become an annual event organized by NAC, the enlightenment ministry, the science and higher education ministry, the education department of the city of Moscow, and MGIMO. 

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