Islamic State seeks influence in post-Soviet countries

Islamic State seeks influence in post-Soviet countries
IS's launch of a Russian-speaking media outlet shows it is gaining greater influence over post-Soviet countries as they try to manage the growing threat of Islamic terrorism.
2 min read
13 July, 2015
Russian has been unable to stop its citizens joining IS [Anadolu]

Islamic State group's launch of a new media outlet in Russian highlights its growing role in post-Soviet countries.

The group announced the formation of Furat media on 5 June, which has Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts, and began tweeting on 18 June. The outlet broadcasts propaganda material including videos and motivational messages.

Its main purpose is to recruit new Russian-speaking militants from the Russian Federation - especially the North Caucasus, and from other parts of the former Soviet Union, especially Central Asia.

The site also aims to build bridges between militants in Syria and Iraq and those in the North Caucasus, one way it does this is by translating Arabic material into Russian.

     Around 2,000 Russians are fighting alongside IS.

The militant group's influence has been growing in Russian-speaking areas.

In June 2015 Aslan Byutukayev, leader of the terrorist group the Caucasus Emirate, a terrorist group, pledged allegiance to IS in a new propaganda video broadcast via Furat Media.

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, IS's spokesman said the Caucasus would form a new province of the self-proclaimed Caliphate. This is first territorial claim the militant group has made in Russia.

Dozens of groups in Africa, Asia and the Middle East have sworn allegiance to IS since the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the group's caliphate in June 2014.

Around 2,000 Russians are fighting alongside IS, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists during a news conference in the Russian city of Ufa on Thursday 9 July.

"According to our estimates, this includes several hundred former and current Russian citizens, who have taken up permanent residence in Europe," said Lavrov.

In June Nikolai Patrushev, head of the Security Council of Russia, said his country had been unable to stem the flow of militants to the terrorist group.

Patrushev said Islamic terrorism was "one of the main threats" facing Russia and its former Soviet neighbours.