Monday, February 1, 2021

Pandemic Giving Destructive Cults and Radical Islam in Russia ‘New Impulse,’ Amelina Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 31 – Yana Amelina says that the coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the psychological state of Russian society and this has given “a new impulse to destructive phenomena in social networks” like violent Columbine-like cults and radical Islamism.

            In a new book, Destructive Trends Amidst a Pandemic: The Re-Orientation of ‘Columbiners’ and the Rebirth of Radical Islamism (in Russian, Moscow, 2020, 164 pp., full text at ), the coordinator of the Caucasus Geopolitical Club offers evidence for her assertion.

            According to Amelina, who has written frequently on these groups in the past, the imposed social isolation and the turn to the Internet has simultaneously boosted interest in these marginal phenomena and warns that in the coming months Russia may face new outbreaks of violence and an upsurge in Islamic radicalism.

            The specialist on the Caucasus urges that Russian society and Russian officials be alert to this trend rather than as now focusing only on recovering from the pandemic and promoting economic growth. That is because, she argues, the psychological impact of the pandemic is likely to prove far longer-lasting than many now think.


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