According to North Caucasian media outlet Caucasian Knot, the number of young militants in Chechnya increased in 2016 compared to previous years.
Caucasian Knot conducted a count of slain militants using official sources, which were then supplemented with the news agency’s own data. According to them, young people made up a large number of dead or wounded militants. Twenty militants killed in Chechnya in 2016 were not older than 35. In comparison, only seven militants were younger than 35 in 2015.
On 16–18 December last year, nine young people, including one woman, were killed during the shootout with the police in Grozny. None of the militants was older than 20.
According to Caucasian Knot, the ideology of the Islamic State is attractive for many young people in Chechnya for a number of reasons. These include the plight of their families, discontent with the arbitrary use of power, and people’s desire to self-identify, given the authorities’ enforcement of their own interpretation of religious dogma. However, adherence to the ideas of the Islamic State is not widespread in Chechnya, according to them.
‘Many [young people] don’t have fathers, their houses were burnt down, their mothers are seriously traumatised. The consequences of the war continue to affect [them] every day. These problems contribute to the creation of a situation in which young people become radicalised’, Yekaterina Sokiryanskaya, the head of the Russian project of the International Crisis Group, told Dagpress in March.
The chairman of the Civic Assistance Committee, Svetlana Gannushkina, agreed with Sokiryanskaya and suggested that the interest in the Islamic State could have socio-economic grounds.