Thursday, August 26, 2021

Terrorist Cells Emerge in Russia Wherever Immigrants Go, Retired FSB General Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 25 – The arrest this week of 31 Islamist terrorist in Moscow, Novosibirsk oblast, Yakutsk and Krasnoyarsk Kray highlights a most unwelcome reality, Aleksandr Mikhaylov says. It shows that terrorist cells take shape and become a threat wherever immigrants go inside Russia.

            These terrorists, the Russian authorities say, were connected with a Syria-based group, but this reflects a more general problem, FSB Major General (ret.) Aleksandr Mikhailov says. Whenever immigrants come to Russia from a troubled Islamic country, they are likely to form cells of terrorist organizations (

            “We have many migrants everywhere” in Russia, the retired FSB officer says; and when they come together as they often do to support one another, at least some of them are likely to be radicals and to seek to form sleeper cells. The Russian siloviki must be vigilant. Unless these groups are caught early, the risks for Russia are great.

            The latest wave of arrests comes as Russian leaders from Vladimir Putin on down are expressing concern about refugee flows from Afghanistan. Those arrests and comments like Mikhailov’s are certain to spark the kind of migrantophobia and witch hunts Russian experts have warned about (

            On the one hand, such fears among Russians about terrorists among immigrant communities are likely to generate support for siloviki moves against them. But on the other, such fears and Russian siloviki actions  are likely to feed into terrorist narratives about the nature of the societies around them and lead to further radicalization and terrorist acts. 


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