'Outside Agitators:' The Role of Foreign Islamists in the Chechen Fight for Independence

Date of Award

Summer 8-2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International studies

Committee Director

Regina Karp

Committee Member

Kurt Taylor Gaubatz

Committee Member

Austin Jersild

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.I45 P56


The goal of this thesis is to identify the role of foreign Islamist charities and terrorist groups in the current conflict in Chechnya. The issue of foreign Islamism in Chechnya is introduced through a general history of the region, including the role of religion in both traditional Chechen culture and in the present war. The evolution of Chechen war from a secular to a religious conflict is first examined by looking into the perspectives of various Muslim groups on the Chechen war and other similar conflicts and, conversely, the perspectives of many Chechens on the outsiders who purport to aid them. It is apparent that these foreign Islamists are able to gain as much influence as they are able because of the amount of money at their disposal; thusly, the methods in which such funds are raised and where they eventually end up are explored, citing both original sermons and pamphlets and various press and other print accounts. The nature, methods, and tactics of the various foreign factions and their Chechen followers are discussed, particularly in light of the influence these foreign Islamists appear to have on many the Chechen militants. In conclusion, foreign Islamists have made the war in Chechnya far bloodier, more violent, and more widespread geographically than it would have been had they not intervened and provided the Chechen militants with the arms and money when they needed it the most during the First Chechen War from 1994-96.


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