Russia; Again Under Attack

April 27, 2016
Imran Khushal


Vladimir Putin

According to different media reports, three militants were killed when they attacked a police station in southern Russia on Monday, 11 April. reported that “two of them were killed by officers defending the station while another one used his own grenade to kill himself”. It was that militants were the only ones hurt in the attack. This was not the first time in modern day that Russia was attacked by militants. It has already been attacked in 2013, 2010, and 2004. So the question is, why Russia is being attacked, time and again?

There are a lot of possible ways to look into this. Talking from a North Caucuses’ instability point of view this could be an attack planned and conducted by some separatist group whereas talking from a socio-economic point of view the unemployment of 80% Muslim youth could be the cause. But what international data suggests is more than this. No doubt, that there are pre-existing conditions in North Caucuses which could lead to attacks like these but looking at this keeping Russia’s involvement in Syrian conflict leads us to some logical conclusions. Since Russia has involved in Syria and has started attacking Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Turkey is in trouble.


Despite the United States propaganda, Russia has damaged the capacity of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) to a considerable extent which has indirectly strengthen the People’s Protection Units or YPG in Syria. Now, as the Realist school of thought believes that states play power games all the time. They acquire power to become strong or they try to weaken their enemies. Russia and Turkey have a historical animosity and there are chances that, Russia overtly or covertly has helped the Kurds to seek what they call Kurdistan and unstable Turkey. On the other hand, Turkey always had a softer side towards ISIL, so there’s also possibility that ISIL is involved in attacks on Russia to help Turkey out but primarily to divide Russia’s attention in Syria.


Whatever is the situation one can observe close ties among states and nonstate actors, militants, freedom fighters and terrorists. Russia, like other superpowers, wants to engage terrorists outside its borders. Because fighting against ISIL in Syria is much beneficial and cost effective for Russia than fighting at home, in North Caucuses. Hiding possible losses and damages caused by this or previous attacks could benefit the Russian in keeping their morale high in Syria. But this couldn’t change the reality. Like every other country, Russia is also under attack. And no country can avert the risk of a terrorist attack as long as states are sponsoring terrorism. If they are like Russia and Turkey, fighting against one kind of militants with the help of others, every country is or will be under attack.


International and regional terrorism can be best explained through the Regime Theory. As the climate of one region affects the climate of other regions similarly the counter-terrorism measures of one state affects the counter-terrorism measure of other states. That’s the reason that no single country can alone defeat terrorists and only a regional and then a global counter-terrorism strategy could work. But again, it’s easier to say than done. States are selfish. They fight more and cooperate less.

Published in Global, Opinion, Power Games

Story first published: 27th April 2016




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