Law enforcers during CTO. Photo by the press service of the National Antiterrorism Committee (NAC)

02 April 2024, 18:56

Analysts assess reasons for underground activation in Northern Caucasus

The activation of the radical underground in Northern Caucasus may be associated with external actors who are trying to worsen the situation inside Russia, but someone inside Russia is helping them, analysts have noted.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that three men who had planned terror acts were detained in Makhachkala and Kaspiysk during a counterterrorist operation (CTO).

Sergey Goncharov, the president of Veterans' Association of the "Alpha" Anti-Terror Unit, has suggested that the activation of North-Caucasian radical underground may have to do with the situation in Ukraine.

Amir Kolov, a retired police colonel, believes that the activation of the bandit underground in Northern Caucasus is "an attempt to drive attention away from the organizers of the terror act in the Crocus City Hall, and an attempt to collide Muslims with Russians and other Russian nations."

In Dagestan, after incidents with extrajudicial killings of innocent people, many would not believe what media and official structures say about CTOs, Mr Kolov has added.

Akhmet Yarlykapov, a senior researcher at the Centre for Caucasus Problems and Regional Security at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (known as MGIMO) of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), has linked the terror acts committed in Russia with a structural change of the ISIL*, which has turned into a network with "lone wolves" – individual terrorists who often independently swear an oath to the IS*.

Mr Yarlykapov has noted that with the start of the special military operation (SMO) in Ukraine, consensus was reached among radicals - not to commit terror acts in Russia and Ukraine during the SMO. "They decided this because in conditions of hostilities, every terror act would be interpreted as help to one (non-Muslim) side," he has emphasized.

"Apparently, something has changed within the ISIL* itself as part of its development, since this consensus has been destroyed. And, perhaps, Moscow will not be the last city to undergo such an attack - the threats of ISIL's* leaders against Europe and the United States sound quite serious," Mr Yarlykapov has concluded.

Analysts have also noted that now radicals are surrendering, whereas earlier they often committed, for example, self-explosions. Sergey Goncharov suggested that the reason is in decreased training level.

Ruslan Suleimanov, an Orientalist, when speaking about the "ISIL*-Khorasan**, which had allegedly claimed responsibility for the terror act at Crocus City Hall, has noted that the main activity arena of this unit is Afghanistan.

*On December 29, 2014, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation recognized the organization "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL or IS) as a terrorist international organization and banned its activities in Russia.

**Khorasan (from Persian "land of the rising sun") is a historical region covering parts of present-day Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, as well as several countries in Central Asia. In IS' terminology, "Vilayats" are administrative units of the global caliphate that it is trying to build.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on April 1, 2024 at 05:28 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Alexander Stepanov Source: СK correspondent

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