Russia has been caught playing a paradoxical game with Islamic terror. Against a widespread belief that they are indeed fighting the growth of terror, Russian authorities have been caught funding the exit from Russia and entry into Syria of dozens of jihadi militants.
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has long been associated with the war on terror. Through mutually beneficial cooperation between his government and the U.S. government, the two countries have ensured the threat of mass casualty terror is subsiding.
However, new evidence has emerged that has many analysts wondering whether Putin is truly about curbing terror.
Novaya Gazeta, an independent Russian newspaper, reported an investigative piece by reporter Elena Milashina on the terror stricken village in North Caucasus, which revealed that “Russian special services have controlled” the gradual flow of Russian jihadists into Syria.
Milashina’s case study was taken to the northern village of Novasasitili where, since 2011, almost one per cent of the population has gone to fight in Syria alongside ISIS.
Milashina reported that the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russia’s chief intelligence agency, was able to establish a “green corridor” to allow the jihadi fighters to move from Russia into Turkey and finally to Syria.
Through the double dealing jihadi emigration program, Putin has contributed to the growing number of ISIS insurgents battling to create an Islamic caliphate against the ruling regime of Putin’s supposed ally, Bashar al-Assad.
Akhyad Abdullaev, head of the village told Milashina, “I know someone who has been at war for 15 years. He fought in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now in Syria. He surely cannot live peacefully. If such people go off to war, it’s no loss. In our village there is a person, a negotiator. He, together with the FSB, brought several leaders out of the underground and sent them off abroad on jihad. The underground resistance has been weakened, we’re well off. They want to fight—let them fight, just not here.”
The controversial tactic aimed at stemming rising jihadi activities in northern Russia has resulted in decreased insurgency activities in the north. Tanya Lokshina, program director at Human Rights Watch, said that though she could neither confirm nor deny the practice, “It is also evident that [Russian] law enforcement and security agencies are proud of the fact that the number of casualties in armed clashes between insurgent forces and security has declined very significantly by some 50 percent.”
Through offering insurgents the option of fighting in Syria, Putin has ensured ISIS has a steady supply of recruits while stemming the rising insurgency in his home turf. The move may be beneficial to Russia, but it provide the Syrian terror group with plenty of troops to unleash on innocent civilians.