SOAS University of London

Centre of Contemporary Central Asia & the Caucasus

Russia's Insurgent Threat After the Islamic State: Transformations and New Directions?

Jean-Fran├žois Ratelle, Mark Youngman, Laurence Broers

Date: 5 December 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 5 December 2017Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: B102

Type of Event: Seminar


Recent wars in Eurasia have foregrounded the flows of foreign fighters between distinct insurgent battlefronts. Since 2011 thousands of individuals have travelled from the Caucasus and Central Asia to fight in Syria and Iraq. Resolutions of these conflicts promise further movements as foreign fighters return home. To mark the publication of a new edited volume by Routledge, Networked Insurgencies and Foreign Fighters in Eurasia, two leading experts and contributors will discuss the impacts of the rise and decline of the Islamic State for Russia's insurgent threat in the North Caucasus and beyond.  

Speaker Biographies

Jean-François Ratelle is the director of the Centre on Governance at the University of Ottawa. His main research interests include civil wars, terrorism, foreign fighters, Islamic radicalisation, Russia, the North Caucasus, and the Balkans. He frequently consults with government agencies and international organizations on questions regarding conflict resolution and security issues. His most recent publications have appeared in Critical Studies on Security, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, and Terrorism and Political Violence.

Mark Youngman is a doctoral student funded by the Economic and Social Research Council at the University of Birmingham’s Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies. His research focuses on the ideological aspects of transnational militancy and insurgency, and is the co-author with Dr Cerwyn Moore of a recent report, ‘Russian-Speaking Fighters in Syria, Iraq and at Home: Consequences and Context, published in November by the Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats.  

The event will be chaired by Laurence Broers, Research Associate at the Centre for Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus, SOAS. Presentations will be followed by discussion. Vouchers offering a 20% discount on purchases of Networked Insurgencies and Foreign Fighters in Eurasia (details below) will be available.  

Networked Insurgencies and Foreign Fighters in Eurasia, edited by Jean-François Ratelle and Laurence Broers (Routledge, 2018)
This collection of articles presents for the first time in one volume a cross-regional comparative perspective on the trajectories of foreign fighters between the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and Ukraine. Drawing on extensive primary sources, contributors theorize the life cycles of foreign fighter waves and the respective roles played by pre-existing insurgent networks, transnational ideologies such as "global jihad" and "Eurasianism", and propaganda framing by insurgent groups such as the Islamic State. They examine regional state responses to the security threat posed by foreign fighters, showing how current security governance regimes can reinforce insurgent ideologies attracting violent militants. Finally they investigate the motivations for foreign fighters to return to their home states in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Arguing for the networked character of insurgencies in Eurasia, this book offers a unique overview of the foreign fighter phenomenon across the continent.

Organiser: Centre Of Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus

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