Religious violence is surely as old as both faith and fighting themselves. In the Russian Federation, as elsewhere in the world, religious teachings and philosophies are used both to justify and combat violence. While many, including Russian authorities, increasingly view religious conflict through the prism of violent radical Islamic jihadism, the full picture is much more complicated. It includes religious propaganda employed by violent right-wing groups, violent repression of religious communities and organizations by local and federal authorities, and conflict within religious confessions. Violence may be couched in the language of self-defense as modernity clashes with a multitude of perceived and real traditions. A better understanding of the dynamics at the heart of religious violence in Russia, in its many manifestations, is critical to the country’s future development and its security. The analyses collected in this volume aim to contribute to the body of knowledge on these topics and inform policy solutions to make Russia and Russians of all religions (and no religion) safer and more secure.
Olga Oliker is a senior adviser and director of the Russian and Eurasia Program at CSIS.