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Работа Академии обороны обороны Великобритании "Ислам в России"

Conflict Studies Research Centre
Russian Series 06/53
Defence Academy of the United Kingdom
Islam in the Russian Federation
Dr Mark A Smith
Key Points
* The Moslem component of the Russian Federation has a
higher birth rate than the Slavic component. In a few decades,
Russia could be a much more Moslem country.
* This will have a profound effect on Russian society, politics
and foreign policy, which could move in a more Moslem direction
* Currently the Moslem population is not highly politicised.
There is no Moslem lobby in Russian politics. The influence of
militant Islam outside the Northern Caucasus is limited,
although it does exist.
* If Russian elites attempt to block the emergence of Moslem
elites over the next few decades, then tensions could emerge
between Slavs and Moslems.
* Slav chauvinism is already in evidence.
Contents
The Numbers 1
Moslem organisational structures 3
Perceptions of Islam in the Russian Federation 5
Fear of an orange-green revolution 6
Ideological disputes within Russian Islam 8
The Russian Federation and the OIC 8
Outlook 9
Appendix 1: Key Islamic Personalities in the Russian 15
Federation
Appendix 2: RAVIL GAYNUTDIN, chairman of the Council of 16
Muftis
Appendix 3 : Nafigullah Ashirov, chairman of the Moslem 17
Board for the Asian part of Russia, co-chairman of the
Council of Muftis in Russia
Appendix 4 : Talgat Tadzhuddin, Central Spiritual 18
Administration of the Moslems of Russia and the European
part of the CIS
Appendix 5: Banned Terrorist Organisations 19

06/53
1
Islam in the Russian Federation
Conflict Studies Research Centre
ISBN 1-905058-98-5
November 2006
Islam in the Russian Federation
Dr Mark A Smith
In Russia there are 20 million Moslems, and therefore our country is also, to a
certain degree, part of the Islamic world.
Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov 2005.1
THE NUMBERS
In the last USSR census of 1989, Moslems in the Russian Federation were reckoned
to be 12 million, or 8 per cent of the Russian Federation population.2 The 2002
Russian Federation census reveals that the Moslem component of the Russian
Federation is 14.5 million (out of a total population of 144 million).3 However this is
claimed in some quarters to be an underestimate. Ravil Gaynutdin, head of the
Council of Muftis of Russia, announced in August 2005 that Russia's population
contains 23 million ethnic Moslems.4 The Moslem population has been boosted by
the influx of immigrants from Moslem parts of the former Soviet Union. An
estimated 3-4 million Moslems are migrants from former Soviet regions, including 2
million Azeris, 1 million Kazakhs, and several hundred thousand Uzbeks, Tajiks
and Kyrgyz. Moreover, the growth rate of the Moslem population is faster than that
of the Slavic population of the Russian Federation. Although the total Russian
population dropped by 400,000 in the first half of 2005, it increased in 15 regions,
such as the Moslem republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia. The birth
rate is 1.8 children per woman in Dagestan, versus 1.3 for Russia as a whole. Male
life expectancy is 68 in Dagestan, versus 58 for Russia overall.5
Russia had about 300 mosques in 1991 and now there are at least 8,000 (more
than in Egypt, which has a population of 75 million), about half of which were built
with money from abroad, especially from Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia. There were
no Islamic religious schools in 1991 and today there are between 50 and 60,
teaching as many as 50,000 students. There are 3098 registered Moslem
communities.6 The number of Russians going on the hajj each year has increased
from 40 in 1991 to 13,500 in 2005.7
At the same time, the Slavic component of the Russian Federation population is
declining.8 This has led some analysts to argue that Russia could have a Moslem
majority later in the 21st century. Paul Goble, previously an advisor on Soviet
nationality problems and Baltic affairs to former US Secretary of State James
Baker, stated in February 2006 that:
Within most of our lifetimes the Russian Federation, assuming it stays
within current borders, will be a Moslem country. That is it will have a
Moslem majority and even before that the growing number of people of
Moslem background in Russia will have a profound impact on Russian
foreign policy. The assumption in Western Europe or the United States
that Moscow is part of the European concert of powers is no longer valid.
… The Moslem growth rate, since 1989, is between 40 and 50 percent,
06/53 Dr Mark A Smith
depending on ethnic groups. Most of that is in the Caucasus or from
immigration from Central Asia or Azerbaijan.9
A Russian expert on Islam, Aleksei Malashenko, stated in 2005 that he does not
expect Russia to become "a Moslem society in several years, although maybe in half
a century we'll see something surprising".10
There are several signs of the potential of Islam to play a more important role in
Russia:
• In September 2005, Ravil Gaynutdin spoke of the possibility that Russia
might at some point in the future reintroduce the post of a vice-president,
who would be a representative of the Moslem community.11 That such a
development could be envisaged is indicative of the how the ethno-religious
demographic balance could shift over the next few decades.
• In December 2005, in a further sign of increased Moslem assertiveness, the
chairman of the Spiritual Administration of Moslems of the Asian Part of
Russia, Nafigull Ashirov, called for Christian symbols to be removed from the
Russian Federation coat of arms.12
• An Islamic Heritage Society was formed in March 2005.13 This society is
seen by its founders as a mediator between the Islamic community in Russia
and the political establishment.
• In 2005 the Russian Federation became an observer at the Organisation of
the Islamic Conference, the principal international organisation of Moslem
states.
• In October 1997 leading Moslem clergymen including Gabdulla Khazrat
Galiulla, the chairman of the Spiritual Board of Moslems of Tatarstan, and
Sheikh Ravil Gaynutdin, the chairman of the Council of Russian Muftis met
the then Minister for Nationalities Vyacheslav Mikhailov and Deputy Prime
Minister Ramazan Abdulatipov, to discuss the possibility of forming special
Moslem regiments in the Russian army.14
The Islamic population in the Russian Federation is concentrated into two main
areas:
The Volga-Urals region, i.e. Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Udmurtia, Chuvashia,
Mari-El, and pockets in Ulyanovsk, Samara, Astrakhan, Perm, Nizhniy Novgorod,
Yekaterinburg oblasts.
The other Moslem area is the Northern Caucasus where the total number of
compactly settled (but ethnically fragmented) Moslems is about 4.5 million.15
Each of these two regions is divided by internal ethnic differences, and preoccupied
with their own problems, including relations with the central government. The large
majority of Russian Moslems are Sunnis. Azeri immigrants, part of the Lezgins and
Dargins of Dagestan are Shias. Of the four legal schools (mazhabs), two are
widespread in Russia - Khanafi and Shafi. Khanafi is the most liberal of the four,
and it is prevalent among Tatars, Bashkirs, the majority of North Caucasian groups
and Central Asian diasporas. The more conservative Shafi mazhab prevails among
Dagestanis (except Nogay), Chechens and Ingush. Among Chechens and Ingush
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Islam in the Russian Federation
there are followers of non-temple Islam, belonging to the Nakshbandiya and
Kadiriya sects.
According to unofficial statistics, there are up to 1,500,000 Moslems (and six
mosques) in Moscow, giving the Russian capital the largest concentration of
Moslems in Europe, and about 250,000 in St.Petersburg and the region.16 It is
claimed that even in Karelia, the Moslem population comprises 3 per cent of the
total population of that republic.17
MOSLEM ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURES
However, there has never been any single all-Russian Moslem community or umma.
Various Islamic political movements were formed in the 1990s in Russia, such as
Refak, Nur and the Party of Islamic Revival, but they failed to make a significant
impact.18 There is currently no “Moslem vote” in the Russian Federation. The
Islamic Party of Russia (IRP) was formed in 2001, and led by Dagestani banker
Magomed Radzhabov. He claimed a membership of 3.5 million. However explicitly
religious parties were banned, and the IRP was effectively replaced by two
movements, True Patriots of Russia, and Justice and Development of Russia. They
formed a bloc in the 2003 Duma election and gained about 0.25 per cent of the
total vote.19 However, several Moslem organisations exist. There are Spiritual
Moslem Boards in most regions of Russia. Since the mid-1990s at least five centres
have been competing to become central institutions, representative of all Moslems
of Russia:
• the Central Spiritual Board of the Moslems of Russia and the European
States of CIS, head – mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin;
• the Council of Muftis, headed by mufti Ravil Gaynutdin; muftis of many
regions are members of the council;20
• the Supreme Coordinating Centre of the Moslems of Russia, its chairman
Abdul Wahed Niyazov calls himself supreme mufti of Russia;
• the Islamic Cultural Centre in Moscow, director Abdul Wahed Niyazov;
• the Union of the Moslems of Russia, which was initially headed by Nadirshah
Khachilaev.
In addition there is the Coordinating Centre of the Moslems of the Northern
Caucasus, headed by Mufti Ismail Berdiev.
The two principal organisations are the Central Spiritual Board of the Moslems of
Russia and the European States of CIS, and the Council of Muftis.21 In April 1996,
the heads of a number of spiritual boards created the Council of Russian Muftis.
This is probably the most important of the Moslem organisations in Russia. The
principal aims of the Council are:
1. to consolidate the Moslem religious organizations of the Russian Federation
with the goal of compatibly identifying the most important problems
concerning all Russian Moslems together;
2. to coordinate and assist in the operation of each other's organization;
3. to define positions in relations with the organs of the central and local
government, the organizations representing different religions, and
international foreign organizations;
4. to create necessary conditions for the observance of the rights and the
protection of the interests of Russian Moslems.
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In 2003 there was much discussion about creating a single administrative structure
for Moslems in Russia, a so-called Higher Moslem Council, that would be analogous
to the Moscow Patriarchate in the Russian Orthodox Church. The emergence of a
single structure is favoured by the Kremlin, although it recognises that such a
process cannot be imposed by the state. Talgat Tadzhuddin opposes the formation
of a Higher Moslem Council if it includes the Council of Muftis. Tadzhuddin
opposes Gaynutdin, claiming that the Council of Muftis supports foreign Wahhabite
organisations. This is denied by Gaynutdin. He denies support for extremist
organisations, and claims that the term Wahhabite is often misunderstood and
wrongly applied to Moslems in the Northern Caucasus fighting the pro-Moscow
Chechen leadership. Tadzhuddin stated that Gaynutdin’s comments were
deliberately aimed at bringing about the legalisation in Russia of the extremist
teachings of Wahhabism.22 Tadzhuddin’s opposition to Gaynutdin on this issue is
shared by the mufti Ismail Berdiev.
The Kremlin had sought a constructive relationship with both Tadzhuddin and
Gaynutdin. However, Tadzhuddin fell out of favour with the Russian leadership
when he called in 2003 for a jihad against the USA in response to the US invasion
of Iraq.23 Ravil Gaynutdin opposed this move by Tadzhuddin. Tadzhuddin’s
response to the US attack on Iraq resulted in an investigation by the General
Procuracy.24 Since then, the Kremlin decided to regard Gaynutdin as its favoured
Moslem leader. Gaynutdin, in contrast to Tadzhuddin, was appointed to the Public
Chamber.25
Gaynutdin has a cooperative relationship with the Putin leadership, and supports
its policy towards Chechnya. In February 2003 he stated:
The position of Islamic figures often turns out for foreign VIP-guests to be
more important than the opinions of representatives of the state
authorities. We inform them that Moslems have equal rights along with
other religions, that the state gives us the opportunity to develop freely.
In Chechnya also the authorities do not hinder the spreading of Islam,
the opening of new mosques, the publishing of religious literature.
Therefore those who oppose the federal authorities in this republic do not
have the moral right to justify themselves by allegedly defending Islam,
and the rights of Moslems, so that they are not damaged. Politicians who
consider that a clash of two civilisation, two cultures and religions,
namely Islam and Christianity, is taking place in Chechnya are mistaken.
Those who take up arms have their own selfish goals. The people who
follow them are simply being led into a delusion.26
He views the relationship with the Russian state as being harmonious. He states
that the growth of Islamic institutions in post-Soviet Russia is largely “thanks to the
principally new attitude of the Russian state to Islam, forming partnership relations
between the organs of state power and religious organisations.”27 He views
Moslems in Russia as accepting the realities of modern secular Russian society. In
November 2003 he commented:
In Russia there has in general formed a perfectly unique type of Moslem.
He finds himself under the strong influence of Russian and European
culture, and lives in a secular society. Global processes, the development
of democracy, the emergence of market relations, the activity of the mass
media present the Moslem with a multitude of new problems. Many need
to change their professions, and sometimes places of residence, and move
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Islam in the Russian Federation
to districts which in the main are inhabited by people of other cultures
and religions.28
Elsewhere he speaks of Islam being able to correspond to the demands of the
contemporary world, rather than contradict it.29 In other words, Gaynutdin does
not seek to challenge violently the existing order in Russia, but on the contrary
accepts it. He favours cooperation with the Russian Orthodox Church, Buddhists
and the Jewish religious community in Russia.30
PERCEPTIONS OF ISLAM IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Could a serious Islamist-jihadist threat emerge in the Russian Federation from
areas outside the Northern Caucasus? Whilst a serious terrorist threat has
emerged in the Northern Caucasus since 1994, the Moslem communities in the
Volga-Urals region have so far shown little inclination to engage in acts of terrorism
or other forms of violence. Neither has any political movement emerged with a
strong Islamic agenda. Does Russia face the same problems that some West
European nations such as Britain, France and the Netherlands face, namely an
Islamic community that contains a large number of disaffected elements,
particularly among the young, who may be tempted to engage in violence? It has
been argued that Russia, in contrast to these former colonial powers has always
had a large Moslem population (according to the 1897 census of the Russian
Empire, among the total population of 125.6 million there were over 13 million
Moslems, or nearly 11 percent. In 1917, there were 30,000 mosques in the Russian
Empire), and that Moslems and Orthodox Slavs have peacefully co-existed for
centuries. Moslem soldiers in the Imperial armed forces were able to practise their
faith, and there was no significant Islamic opposition to Tsardom. In day to day life
in the Russian Empire, Moslems were not seen as alien. This contrasts with
Britain, France and other West European states, where Moslem communities have
developed largely as a result of post-1945 immigration from former colonies, and
have often been perceived as alien by large elements of the host population.
The growth of Islam in the Russian Federation in the post-Soviet period has not so
far been accompanied by a high degree of politicisation. No significant political
movements have emerged. The rebirth of Islam has been largely confined to the
religious and cultural spheres, rather than to the political sphere. For the majority
of Moslems in the Russian Federation, their political orientation is not linked to
their faith. The situation is different in the Northern Caucasus, but Islamic
movements there are primarily concerned with North Caucasus issues rather than
all-Russian ones.
Many analysts consider that Islam in Tatarstan constitutes a model of “Euro-
Islam”, namely a moderate non-political force that poses no threat to the
constitutional order in Russia. This is similar to the view of Islam advocated by
Ravil Gaynutdin. Euro-Islam is a concept developed by Rafael Khakimov, Director of
the Institute of History of the Tatarstan Academy of Sciences and an adviser to the
President of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaymiyev.31 It seeks to ensure that Islam
conforms to the modern world, accepts political and religious pluralism and
eschews violent forms of struggle. However, although Islam in the Volga-Urals
region is in the main moderate, and does not pose a threat to the system, there is
concern that the state has not done enough to develop a dialogue with Islam in
order to ensure that any possible future politicisation will not develop in a militant
direction. The absence of a significant “within system” (systemny) Islamic political
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movement with which the state can develop a dialogue means that the state has no
levers for influencing radical Islam, should it emerge, other than administrative and
coercive.
Vladimir Putin’s statement at the opening of the newly elected Chechen parliament
in December 2005, that the “Russian Federation always was, and is the most
consistent, loyal and firm defender of Islam,” is an indication of the leadership’s
attempt to develop a dialogue with the Islamic community within Russia.32 The
creation of the Russian Islamic Heritage organisation can also be seen as part of the
leadership’s attempt to establish such a dialogue, as can the decision to become an
observer at the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in 2005.
Dialogue between the state and the Moslem community is also seen by the Russian
Moslem leadership as playing an essential role in preventing the subversion of
Russian Islamic educational institutions by extremist imams. Ravil Gaynutdin has
expressed concern over the possibility of foreign imams spreading extremist ideas
amongst the Islamic community in Russia. In an interview in February 2003 he
noted that in the early 1990s, when there were few Russian imams, there was an
influx of foreign imams who propagated extremist ideas, and argued that Russian
imams lacked a knowledge of true Islam.33 Gaynutdin argued that this means that
Russian Islamic educational institutions now face the task of ensuring that Russian
Moslems do not fall under the influence of extreme variants of Islam. The
institutions therefore insist that all imams study both theology and various secular
disciplines. He also states that the Council of Muftis recommends that young
Russian imams study first in Russian Islamic educational institutions before
travelling abroad to study in Islamic schools in Moslem states, so that they learn
that Russia is a multi-confessional society. Gaynutdin therefore argues that it is in
the interests of the Russian state to support Islamic educational institutions to
ensure that Russia’s Moslem clergy and laity do not fall under the influence of
Islamist ideologies imported from abroad. In 2005 concern was expressed by the
adviser to the Russian President, Aslanbek Aslakhanov, who criticised the official
Moslem clergy for inadequately opposing terrorism. He argued that the clergy
should do more to help persons in the Northern Caucasus from falling under the
influence of extremist ideologies.34
FEAR OF AN ORANGE-GREEN REVOLUTION
Although most Russian analysts are of the opinion that the influence of extremist
Islam outside parts of the Northern Caucasus is limited, some are concerned about
what they consider to be the revolutionary potential of Islam in the Russian
Federation. Mikhail Delyagin, for example, believes that Russia could face an
“orange-green” revolution.35 He argues that the ideological vacuum caused by the
collapse of communism in the Soviet Union in 1991 has led to the emergence of
Islam in the Russian Federation as a response to the social and economic problems
caused by the imposition of liberal capitalism in Russia. Delyagin believes that
Russian society could split into two communities – Russian and Moslem, and the
weakness of the state and of the current Russian elite is enabling radical Moslem
elements to increase their influence. He warns that this process is likely to be
extremely violent. Following the Beslan terrorist incident in 2004, one analyst
called for very tough measures, arguing that Russia was not facing terrorism but an
attempt to destroy the state. He noted that a non-fascist system could not endure
such a challenge; this would appear to be a call for highly authoritarian
measures.36 Further terrorist outrages could result in such developments, and lead
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to the confrontation feared by Delyagin, especially as the Moslem component of the
Russian Federation population increases.
It is true that there have been acts of violence committed by Moslem groups in the
Volga region. Five members of the illegal group Islamic Jamaat were sentenced to
five- and six-year prison sentences by the Supreme Court of Tatarstan, in August
2006. The defendants were found guilty of participation in an illegal armed group,
illegal handling of arms and terrorism. The defendants were arrested in 2004
along with 23 other members of the group, which had links to Chechen warlords.
The Tatarstan Procuracy claimed that the Islamic Jamaat members were plotting to
set up rebel camps in Tatarstan and neighbouring republics. So far, there has
been little militant activity outside of the Northern Caucasus, but the case of
Islamic Jamaat does indicate the potential for terrorism. Algis Prazauskas
estimated that in autumn 2004 that the system of Jamaats was capable of
mobilizing more than 10,000 extremist combatants, and of this number no less
than 4000 come from the regions around the Volga and from Central Russia. He
noted that radical Jamaats exist in practically all larger cities of the Russian
Federation and in Russian as well as Moslem regions of the Russian Federation.37
There is concern that Islamist terrorism in Russia is probably inspired by foreign
jihadist elements. This has led to a desire by the Russian Moslem leadership to
develop a moderate Islamic education within the Russian Federation. In 1996 the
Moscow Islamic University was established.38 The rector is Marat Murtazin, who is
the deputy chairman of the Council of Muftis. In 2005 it had 14 teachers and 70
students. Theology is the sole subject taught at the university. The following
courses are taught in the theology faculty: the Koran, Islamic Law, Arabic, Russian
language and culture, Russian history, world history, State-Religious relations. The
Council of Muftis desires a cooperative relationship with the Russian state in the
development of Islamic education in the Russian Federation. The Council created in
2005 a special council on Islamic education, which deals with issues relating to
cooperation between the state and Islamic organisations. Both the state and the
Council of Muftis have a clear interest in promoting moderate Islamic education.
The issue of education has given rise to concern over what Murtazin and other
Moslem leaders term Russian Orthodox propaganda in Russian state schools.
Murtazin objects to attempts to make the subject “Foundations of Orthodox
Culture” a compulsory subject, and to having Orthodox clergy teach this subject.
Murtazin comments that in West European schools, “Christian children remain in
the class room, and Moslem children can go to the mosque or home. But indeed
this concerns Moslem-immigrants! In Russia Moslems are not immigrants, we have
lived here during the course of the entire history of the country. Russian Moslems
do not intend to consider themselves ‘second class’. This would be an insult of our
religious feelings.”39 In March 2006 the Council of Muftis stated that it opposed the
teaching of Foundations of Orthodox Culture in state schools, and in August 2006,
the deputy chairman of the Council of Muftis, Damir Gizatullin, stated:
The position of the Council of Muftis on this issue remains unchanged.
We believe that that all religions should be taught and they should be
taught as an elective subject, there shouldn't be a separate subject
Foundations of Orthodox Culture or Foundations of Islamic Culture. They
should be in one book.40
In Tatarstan, the republic’s leadership opposes the notion of the Islamic University
in Tatarstan having a religious rather than secular status. Adviser to the Tatarstan
President Rafael Khakimov urges that secular subjects be taught at the university,
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and opposes the idea of visiting teachers from Saudi Arabia, stating that he prefers
visiting scholars from more moderate Moslem states such as Jordan, Malaysia and
Egypt.41
There is certainly a belief that extremist organisations have used Islamic
educational organisations as a means of waging jihad in the Russian Federation. 42
In February 2003, the Russian Supreme Court listed 15 organisations as terrorist
and banned them from operating in the Russian Federation.43 In October 2006 first
deputy interior minister Aleksandr Chekalin said that about 80 international
extremist groups promoting radical Islam were operating in Russia. He said that the
Interior Ministry has set up a database of extremist groups and their members.44
IDEOLOGICAL DISPUTES WITHIN RUSSIAN ISLAM
In addition to the Tadzhuddin-Gaynutdin power struggle, there are various
ideological disputes in the Russian Islamic community.45 Rafael Khakimov seeks to
develop a modernised, Europeanised Islam, arguing that Russian Islam cannot
orient itself towards Islamic countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Sudan or Saudi
Arabia. The first deputy mufti of Tatarstan, Vallil Yakupov, opposes Khakimov’s
attempts to modernise Islam, as he fears that such attempts to reinterpret Islam
will create an opportunity for extremists.
There are disputes between those who believe in proselyteisation to non-Moslems in
the Russian Federation, and those such as Tatarstan Mufti Gusman Itskhakov, who
says the Russians should remain Orthodox and the Tatars Moslems. There is also
a dispute between traditionalists such as Vallil Yakupov and younger more radical
Moslems who desire change on a whole range of issues.
There is also a debate about the relationship between Islam and the Russian state.
Many take the view favoured by Rafael Khakimov and Ravil Gaynutdin, namely that
Islam should coexist peacefully with other religions in a secular political system.
Geydar Dzhemal, who is chairman of the Russian Islamic Committee takes a more
radical view. He sees Islam as a political project, aiming at the establishment of a
global civilisation.46 He states that Jewry has “bought” what he regards as the
world elite, which should be opposed by what he terms a “Russo-Islamic
opposition”. He contends that “today Islam is a huge civilizational base, on which
the contemporary generation of the counter-elite can rely, never losing sight of our
country”.47 He also says that Russia, Europe, and the Islamic world should unite
against the USA.48
THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION AND THE OIC
The Russian Federation’s decision to seek membership of the OIC in 2003 can be
regarded as recognition by the Putin leadership of the potential lobbying power that
the Russian Moslem community might possess in the future.49 It is a concession to
them. It could also serve as a means of softening any criticism that might arise
from Moslem states over Russian policy in Chechnya, and may help Russia to build
closer ties with Moslem powers, and thereby help improve the dialogue between the
Kremlin and the Russian Moslem community. Ramazan Abdulatipov saw Russia’s
involvement in the OIC as a means of avoiding misunderstanding and conflicts with
the Islamic world. He argued that if Russia had obtained observer status earlier,
then it might not have suffered from Islamist terrorism. He argued that is it
unnatural for Russia to fear Islam, as Islam existed in Russia before Christianity
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Islam in the Russian Federation
did. He felt, however, that Russia’s experience with Moslem nations has not been
positively exploited, and this has enabled extremist elements to use the Chechen
conflict to drive a wedge between Russia and the Moslem world.50 The development
of ties with the OIC can also be seen as part of Russia’s strategy of encouraging the
development of a multipolar international system.51
Vladimir Putin attended the OIC summit in Malaysia in August 2003 and stated
that Russia would like to join the OIC. This was supported both by the Council of
Muftis and the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), who saw membership of the OIC
as a means of facilitating the ROC’s efforts to defend the position of Orthodox
Christians in Moslem countries. In 2004 the dialogue developed between Russia
and the OIC. In February 2004, then foreign minister Igor Ivanov addressed OIC
ambassadors in Moscow. It was announced then that an Islamic University would
be set up in the Russian Federation. In June 2004, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov
attended the OIC summit in Istanbul. Russia acquired OIC observer status at the
Thirty-second Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Sana’a,
Yemen, in June 2005.52 In December Kamil Iskhakov, presidential envoy in the Far
Eastern Federal District, headed the Russian delegation at the third extraordinary
OIC summit in Mecca. This was the first time that a representative of Russia took
part in a OIC summit.
If Russia were to become a full member of the OIC (which would not be improbable
if her population were to become predominantly Moslem), then complications could
ensue in Russo-Israeli relations. In September 2003, the director of the Academy of
Sciences' institute of African and Arab studies, Aleksey Vasilyev, said Russia's
membership in the OIC could prompt it to assume a pro-Palestinian position in the
Middle East conflict. He noted that "the charter of this organization [the OIC] reads
that Jedda is a provisional place for housing its governing bodies, while in future,
they should be relocated to Jerusalem, which the OIC considers to be the capital of
the Palestinian state".53
The Russian leadership is sensitive over being perceived as anti-Islamic power.
This is because of the desire to avoid antagonising the Moslem community in
Russia, and thereby creating the Russo-Moslem conflict feared by Mikhail Delyagin.
Petr Krimskiy in Rossiyskiye Vesti in June 2005 expressed concern about the
attempt in the mass media of some Islamic countries to portray Russia as a state
hostile to Islam because of its policy in Chechnya. He called for closer dialogue
with Saudi Arabia as one of the means of countering this tendency. Ravil
Gaynutdin has accused the West of cultural aggression against the Moslem world.
This accusation may be seen as an attempt to persuade the Moslem world that it
faces a threat from the West, rather than from Russia.54 It should be noted that
some advocates of the Eurasianist geopolitical school in Russia see cooperation
with Islam both within and outside Russia as an important part of Eurasianist
ideology. Tadzhuddin is part of Aleksandr Dugin’s Eurasianist movement, and
Abdul Wahed Niyazov and Nafigull Ashirov lead the Eurasian political party.55
OUTLOOK
If the Moslem proportion of the Russian Federation population increases, and
comes to constitute more than 20 per cent, then it is likely that there will be a
major political shift in the country. From 1992-2002, out of the 154 ministers
appointed by Presidents Boris Yel’tsin and Vladimir Putin, only three were Moslem.
In the 1999-2003 Duma, there were only 33 Moslem deputies out of a total of 450.56
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In the long term, if current demographic trends in the Russian Federation continue,
it will be impossible to keep Moslem political representation at its current low level.
The Russian Slav component of the population will eventually no longer be large
enough to maintain its current level of domination of the political leadership. The
Russian leadership might do well to ponder the comments of the Swedish
democracy minister Jens Orback, who said in July 2006 that “we must be open and
tolerant towards Islam and Moslems because when we become a minority, they will
be so towards us”.57 (In April 2006 the Swedish Moslem Association demanded
separate laws for Moslems in Sweden.58 The Moslem community in Sweden
constitutes about 5 per cent of the population.) As noted above, there is currently
no significant Moslem lobby in Russian politics. This could change as the
proportion of Moslems in the population grows, and particularly if Moslems come to
believe that current Russian elites are preventing them from assuming leadership
positions. More explicitly Moslem parties or groupings could emerge and perhaps
emulate the Swedish Moslem Association in calling for separate laws for Moslems in
Russia. Such groupings would not necessarily be militantly opposed to the
constitutional order in the Russian Federation, but would result in Russia
becoming a more Moslem country in its outlook (similar perhaps to Turkey). The
emergence of such parties, or the transformation of existing parties is likely
irrespective of whether Russian elites seek to prevent the Moslems occupying
leading positions in the political system. However it is unlikely that even a more
Moslem leadership would seek to introduce Shariah law, as this would conflict too
much with the existing legal system. Such problems did arise when Aslan
Maskhadov attempted to introduce Shariah in Chechnya in the late 1990s.
If Russia does become more Moslem in its outlook, then its foreign policy will
change accordingly. Russia has been sympathetic towards many aspects of the
USA’s anti-terrorist policy since September 2001, and Vladimir Putin pointed out
long before 2001 that Russia was engaged in a struggle to defend Europe against
militant Islam.59 The Euro-Atlanticist aspect of Russian foreign policy is likely to
disappear if a more Moslem leadership emerges in Russia. Indeed such a Russia
may be more willing to confront what it might perceive as a US policy of hostility
towards the Islamic world.
Attempts to block any Moslem emergence could also result in the development of
more militant movements, particularly among the young. Although there are
militant groups in Tatarstan,60 their impact is currently minimal. There has been
no “7/7”, and Moslem youth in the Volga-Urals region is currently unlikely to
imitate the behaviour of French Moslem youth in October-November 2005, when
fierce riots broke out in several French towns. Furthermore, the response to Talgat
Tadzhuddin’s call for a jihad against the USA over Iraq in 2003 met with a muted
response. This quiescence could change if Moslem aspirations are blocked. Issues
such as the teaching of the Fundamentals of Orthodox Culture in schools could
become much more contentious.
The current leaderships of Tatarstan and Baskortostan aim at a cooperative
relationship with the Kremlin. Population trends could result in more actively
Moslem leaderships emerging in these and other republics. As Tatarstan and
Bashkortostan are major oil producing regions, then leaderships that are more
hostile to the federal centre or place greater demands on it for economic or political
autonomy could pose a serious threat to the cohesion of the federation.
The increase in size of the Moslem population is likely to prove uncomfortable for
the rest of the Russian population. Although many Russian observers have been at
pains to point out that Russia is not an anti-Islamic power, and that Orthodoxy and
10
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Islam in the Russian Federation
Islam, Slavs and non-Slavs lived peaceably together during both the Tsarist and
Soviet periods, it can also be argued that as an Orthodox Christian power, Tsarist
Russia waged wars against Moslem peoples in Central Asia and the Caucasus. In
addition there is a long-standing Russian hostility to ‘blacks’ (chornyye lyudi, i.e.
non-ethnic Russians). Such hostility could grow if Russians do eventually face the
prospect of becoming a minority in their own country. In such a scenario, militant
Russian nationalism could become a more influential political force, perhaps akin
to the ideology of the Black Hundreds and the Russian National Unity movement. A
more militantly nationalist leadership could emerge as an attempt to counter any
possible Islamisation of Russian society.
There is speculation that attacks on peoples of Caucasian nationality in Russian
towns by Russian skinheads may already be sanctioned by elements within the
Russian power structures, and the clampdown on Georgian businesses in Moscow
in the wake of the crisis in Russo-Georgian relations in autumn 2006 does reveal
the capacity of the Russian state to act against “undesirable” alien elements. The
disturbances in Kondopoga in Karelia in September 2006 between Chechens and
Russians also indicate the potential for ethnic conflict in Russia. The emergence of
a militant nationalist leadership to protect the Russian ethnos in response to a
deteriorating demographic position is far from improbable.61
In summary, it would seem that there are three main scenarios for the development
of Moslem-Russian relations within the Russian Federation as the Moslem
component of the Russian population grows.
1. Russia therefore becomes more Moslem, with Moslems occupying a greater
proportion of the political leadership. A relatively harmonious synthesis is
formed with the Slavic component of the population, along the lines
advocated by some Eurasianist geopolitical theorists.
2. Russian elites hinder the full emergence of Moslem elites, and the Moslem
elements of the population become more restive.
3. Russian elites and society fear the emergence of an “Islamic threat” from
chornyye lyudi, supported by outside Islamic powers. This leads to the
emergence of a more overtly Russian nationalist regime.
Endnotes
1Petr Krymskiy, ‘The national interest. Russia – part of the Islamic world?’ Rossiyskiye
Vesti, 1 June 2006.
2 Dmitri Glinski, "Russia and its Moslems: The Politics of Identity at the International-
Domestic Frontier," The East European Constitutional Review, Vol. 11, Nos. 1-2, Winter-
Spring 2002. http://www.law.nyu.edu/eecr/vol11num1_2/special/glinski.pdf
3 Aleksandra Samarina, ‘Every tenth Russian is a Moslem,’ Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 11
November 2003.
4 http://www.natashatynes.com/newswire/2005/08/russias_turning.html
5 http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/495 ;
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1721508,00.html
6 Algis Prazauskas, Russia and Islam. http://www.sipa.columbia.edu/ece/russia-andislam.
pdf (The date of publication of this paper is either late 2004 or early 2005.)
7 See footnote 5.
8 Steven Main, Russia’s ‘Golden Bridge’ is Crumbling: Demographic Crisis in the Russian
Federation, CSRC Russian Series 06/39, August 2006,
http://www.defac.ac.uk/colleges/csrc/document-listings/russian/ ; Leszek Szerepka
11
06/53 Dr Mark A Smith
Demographic Situation in Russia , CES Studies no.24 July 2006
http://www.osw.waw.pl/en/epub/eprace/24/01.htm
9 http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2006-02/2006-02-28-
voa77.cfm?CFID=56232315&CFTOKEN=23035130 Paul Goble served as special advisor on
Soviet nationality problems and Baltic affairs to Secretary of State James A. Baker, was
director of Radio Liberty’s research department, special assistant for Soviet nationalities in
the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and Soviet affairs analyst at
the Central Intelligence Agency and Foreign Broadcast Information Service.
http://www.publicpolicyseminars.com/goble.html
10 Bernard Lewis stated in Die Welt in July 2004 that Europe would be Islamic by the end of
the 21st century. http://mideastoutpost.com/archives/000235.html ;
http://martijn.religionresearch.org/?p=344 See also Mark Steyn ‘It’s the demography,
stupid’, The New Criterion, Volume 24, January 2006, page 10
http://www.gatago.com/misc/survivalism/2834861.html A shift in the ethno-religious
demographic balance is therefore not a phenomenon which is confined to Russia alone. In
the opinion of some analysts, several other European countries are also facing the
increasing Islamisation of their populations. See for example Niall Ferguson ‘Eurabia’
Hoover Digest, 3, Summer 2004. http://www.hooverdigest.org/043/ferguson2.html
11 Tatar-Inform news agency, Kazan, in Russian 1437 gmt 28 September 2005;
BBC Mon FS1 MCU 280905 rj/lr.
12 Aleksandra Samarina, Aleksandr Petrov, ‘Politics of faith,’ Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 7
December 2005.
13 See the organisation’s website http://www.islamnasledie.ru/main.php
14 Algis Prazauskas, Russia and Islam, p.8.
15 This paper concentrates mainly on Islam outside the Northern Caucasus. For coverage of
Islam in the Northern Caucasus see various papers by Charles Blandy at:
http://www.defac.ac.uk/colleges/csrc/document-listings/caucasus/ . See also Lorenzo
Vidino; Arab Foreign Fighters and the Sacralization of the Chechen Conflict;
http://fletcher.tufts.edu/al_nakhlah/archives/spring2006.asp#vidino;
Alexey Malashenko, Islamic Factor in the Northern Caucasus, Moscow, Carnegie Centre,
2001. http://www.carnegie.ru/en/pubs/books/36274.htm;
Andrew McGregor Islam; Jamaats and Implications for the North Caucasus - Part 1 Vol 4,
Issue 11 (June 2, 2006)
http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2370014 and Jamestown
Terrorism Monitor Issue 12 (June 15, 2006)
http://jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2370033.
16 Algis Prazauskas, Russia and Islam, p.5.
17 http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/6350-6.cfm
18 For a discussion of some of these movements see Aleksei Malashenko, ’The Moslems in
Russia's Presidential Elections,’ PRISM, Volume 2, Issue 8 (April 19, 1996)
http://www.jamestown.org/publications_details.php?volume_id=3&issue_id=136&article_id
=1636
19 http://www.strana.ru/stories/04/04/29/3493/220978.html
20 The Council of Muftis website: http://www.Moslem.ru/
21 The Coordinating Centre of the Moslems of the Northern Caucasus could be regarded as
the third key centre. Vladimir Putin met Gaynutdin, Tadzhuddin and Berdiev jointly in
January 2006. See http://www.i-r-p.ru/page/stream-event/index-
2755.html?NTHOSTSESSID=fd98af758fd0c957086a30c2aa3855c0 ;
http://www.president.kremlin.ru/text/news/2006/01/100082.shtml ;
http://www.president.kremlin.ru/appears/2006/01/10/1920_type63376_100096.shtml
22 Oleg Nedumov, ‘Muftis argue about Wahhabites. The former allies of Ravil Gaynutdin
reproach him for supporting non-traditional Islamic movements,’ NG Religiya, 5 November
2003.
23 Tadzhuddin said that the jihad would consist of a fund to buy weapons and food for Iraq.
http://www.cacianalyst.org/view_article.php?articleid=1418&SMSESSION=NO
24 Alexey Malashenko, ‘Russian Islam has strong immunity. The greater part of Moslems of
our country reject teachings from elsewhere,’NG Religii, 6 August 2003.
25 Aleksandr Petrov, ‘”The September Theses” of Ravil Gaynutdinov. The chairman of the
Council of Muftis of Russia are convinced that the authorities must deal with Moslems,’ NG
Religiya, 5 October 2005. The Public Chamber is an organ established in 2005. It is a
12
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Islam in the Russian Federation
consultative organ consisting of representatives from major public organisations, which
discusses legislation and policy issues.
26 Interview with Ravil Gaynutdin ‘Moslems rescue the image of the country. We do not
want Russia to follow the path of Yugoslavia, says the chairman of the Council of Muftis of
Russia, Ravil Gaynutdin.’ NG Religiya, 19 February 2003.
27 Alim Kokandly, ‘Renewed Islam. The believer has the right to freedom of action and
creative thinking,’ NG Religiya, 15 September 2004.
28 Interview with Ravil Gaynutdin. ‘Islam and reality. Moslem teaching must be renewed
and developed, reckons Ravil Gaynutdin,’ NG Religiya, 5 November 2003.
29 Alim Kokandly op cit., NG Religiya, 15 September 2004.
30 See Interview with Ravil Gaynutdin, NG Religiya, 19 February 2003.
31 See Aleksey Malashenko NG Religiya, 6 August 2003. Khakimov advocates a form of
Islam known as Jadidism, in essence an attempt by Central Asian Islamic scholars in the
19th century to create a revitalised Islam compatible with the modern world. See Rafael
Khakimov, ‘Islam’s Modernisation: How plausible is it?, Russia in Global Affairs, Vol.1, no.4,
October-December 2003.
http://www.tatar.ru/?DNSID=db25bdbbe87ed283f85925fdd7d4a599&node_id=2761 ;
Rafael Khakimov, ‘Euro Islam in the Volga Region,’ Journal of South Asian and Middle
Eastern Studies, Vol. 27, no.2, Winter 2004.
http://www.tatar.ru/index.php?wrap=83&page=2&node_id=1379&full=1136 For
Khakimov’s biography see http://federalmcart.ksu.ru/info/khakimov_eng.htm . See also
the article by the President of Tatarstan, Mintimer Shaymiyev, .Islamophobia brings
dividends to no-one, Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn’, May 2006.
32 Nikolay Silaev, ‘Politics. Russian Islam. The embraces of civilisation,’Ekspert, 6, 13
February 2006; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4520904.stm
33 Ravil Gaynutdin, op cit, NG Religiya, 19 February 2003.
34 Petr Krymskiy, ‘The national interest. Russia – part of the Islamic world?’ Rossiyskie
Vesti, 1 June 2006
35 Mikhail Delyagin, ‘I request a word. The revolutionising factor of Islam,’ Profil’, 10, 21
March 2005. In March 2005 Delyagin published a book entitled Rossiya posle Putina.
Neizbezhna li “oranzhevo-zelyenaya” revolutsiya? (Russia after Putin. Is an ‘orange-green’
revolution unavoidable?)
36 Mikhail Leont’yev, ‘By the laws of war time. Today the political leadership of Russia must
take tough measures, in order to establish order in the country,’ Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 9
September 2004.
37 Algis Prazauskas, op cit, p.9.
38 http://www.studentport.su/university/about.php?id_razdel=27&id_sub=95&id_vyz=3774
39 Marat Murtazin, Rector of the Moscow Islamic University, ‘Our country is not an Orthodox
state. Russian Moslems do not intend to consider themselves “second class”’, NG Religiya,
15 June 2006.
40 RIA Novosti, Moscow, in Russian 1056 gmt 31 August 2006 BBC Mon FS1 MCU 310806
pf/lr. Murtazin has said that a book on the Foundations of Islamic culture is being
prepared. Pavel Krug, ‘The war of textbooks. Disputes over the teaching of “The
Foundations of Orthodox Culture,”’ NG Religiya 4 October 2006.
41 Vostochnyy Ekspress, Kazan, in Russian 13 July 2006, BBC Mon FS1 MCU 250706
kd/gn. The University will in fact teach secular subjects:
http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/05/C556365A-6A1E-4AFA-B0C5-
653B62819D24.html
42 Andrey Skrobot, ‘Who digs up the “gardens of the righteous?” “Educational” Moslem
organisations which have gone underground could become the foundation of a terrorist
network in Russia,’ Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 3-4 September 2006.
43 The list as of July 2006 stood at 17. See Appendix 5.
44 ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0734 gmt, 0736 gmt 25 October 2006;
BBC Mon FS1 MCU 251006 im/lr
45 See Paul Goble, ‘Four Critical Debates within Russian Islam,’
http://ddm.iatp.az/ddm/polben.html ; Sergey Gradirovsky, ‘Russian Islamic Reformism:
developing ideological conflicts,’
http://www.archipelag.ru/ru_mir/religio/beginning/conflict
13
06/53 Dr Mark A Smith
46 For information on Geyday Zhemal’s views, see http://www.archipelag.ru/ru_mir/russubject/
fate/ ; http://www.patriotica.ru/authors/jemal_.html ; http://www.kontrudar.ru/
For biographic details see http://www.politx.ru/xinfo/djemal/ and
http://www.kontrudar.ru/material.php?jemal
47 http://www.archipelag.ru/ru_mir/rus-subject/fate/antielite/
48 http://www.kontrudar.ru/material.php?id=201
49 Daniil Schipkov, ‘Between East and West. It is beneficial to Russia to be integrated into
the Moslem world,’ NG Religii, 5 November 2005.
50 Ramazan Abdulatipov, ‘Russia has never fought with Islam. The Organisation of the
Islamic Conferencec is an important instrument of foreign policy influence and of Russia’s
internal political democratisation,’ Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 17-18 October 2003.
51 See the round table discussion ‘The Islamic World and Russia’s Foreign Policy,’
Mezhdunarodnaya Zhizn’, May 2005.
52 http://www.oic-oci.org/press/English/2006/april%202006/tatarstan.htm
53 Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 1428 gmt 11 September 2003 ; BBC Mon FS1
FsuPol ia/evg
54 Mark Smirnov, ‘The nerve of the conflict. Mufti Gaynutdin considers that Islam is
prepared for a peaceful dialogue with the West, NG Religii, 5 July 2006.
55 Note these two parties are in opposition to each other. Dugin’s movement is pro-Putin,
Niyazov’s and Ashirov’s is anti-Putin. http://www.cdi.org/russia/johnson/6350-8.cfm
56 See Dmitri Glinski, op cit,
http://www.law.nyu.edu/eecr/vol11num1_2/special/glinski.pdf
57 http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2006/05/new-york-times-and-sweden-dark-sideof.
html ; http://www.sverigeicentrum.se/206/Moslemer.html ;
http://ibloga.blogspot.com/2006/07/dhimmi-of-year.html
58 http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2006/05/new-york-times-and-sweden-dark-sideof.
html ; http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.com/2006/04/first-muslim-blackmail-ofswedish.
html
http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=20298_Swedish_Muslims_Demand_Sharia&o
nly ; http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=20322&only ;
http://www.divine-salamis.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=1447
59 See Vladimir Putin’s interview in Paris Match republished under the title ‘We will reach
agreement with the Chechens’, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, 8 July 2000.
60 For example the 4th congress of the Ittifaq party in December 1997 heard these words:
‘We declare the national liberation struggle we are waging against the Russian empire to be
henceforth known as jihad aimed at liberation from the infidels’ slavery. We, Muslim
nationalists, are launching a struggle for the creation of an Islamic state in Tatarstan.’ Cited
by Aislu Yunosova, ‘Islam between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains,’
http://www.ca-c.org/dataeng/07.yunosova.shtml
61 Mark A. Smith Russian Nationalist Movements & Geopolitical Thinking CSRC Russian
Series 05/40 September 2005, http://www.defac.ac.uk/colleges/csrc/documentlistings/
russian/
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Islam in the Russian Federation
APPENDIX 1: Key Islamic Personalities in the Russian Federation
Ravil Gaynutdin, chairman of the Council of Muftis
Talgat Tadzhuddin, Head of the Central Spiritual Administration of the Moslems of
Russia and the European part of the CIS
Nafigullah Ashirov, chairman of the Moslem Board for the Asian part of Russia, cochairman
of the Council of Muftis in Russia
Ismail Berdiev, Head of the coordination centre Moslems of the North Caucasus
Shafig Pshikhachev, Deputy head of coordination centre Moslems of the North
Caucasus
Marat Murtazin, Rector of the Moscow Islamic University, deputy chairman of the
Council of Muftis
Geydar Djemal, Chairman of the Russian Islamic Committee
Usman Iskhakov, Chief Mufti of Tatarstan
Nurmuhamet Nigmatullin, Chief Mufti of Bashkortostan
15
06/53 Dr Mark A Smith
APPENDIX 2
Ravil Gaynutdin Chairman of the Council of Muftis1
Ravil Gaynutdin was born on 26 August 1959, in Tatarstan. After graduation from
secondary school, he entered the Kazan Drama School and graduateD from it
magna cum laude, certified as Tatar drama actor. The then acted as stage manager
for literary and dramatic shows on the Kazan television. Later he entered the
Department of Artistic Direction of the State Institute of Theatre, Music and
Cinematography in Leningrad and took a correspondence course at this institution.
He began to study the basics of Islam, Arabic and the Koran in 1977, coming to the
Cathedral Mosque in Kazan and taking lessons from the oldest theologian in Kazan,
Ahmadzaki Safiullin. In 1979, he put in an application to the Moslem Board for the
European Part of the USSR and Siberia and, through the intercession of its
chairman, was sent to Bokhara to enter the Mir-Arab Madrasah there.
He graduated from it in 1984, having covered its seven-year course in four years,
and was immediately elected imam-hatyb (rector) of the second Cathedral Mosque
in Kazan. Half a year later, he was invited to take the post of executive secretary of
the Moslem Board for the European Part of the USSR and Siberia.
He became the first imam-hatyb of the Cathedral Mosque in Moscow in 1988. In
January 1994, he became head of the newly-established Moscow Muftiate and was
granted the title of mufti. On 1 July 1996, the constituent assembly of the Council
of Muftis in Russia elected Mufti Gaynutdin as its chairman.
Gaynutdin defended his Ph.D thesis in December 2003 at the Russian Civil Service
Academy.
He is married and has two daughters.
Gaynutdin is a member of Presidential Council for Cooperation with Religious
Association, as well as presidiums of the Interreligious Council in Russia and the
Interreligious Council in the CIS.
1 http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=bio&div=2
16
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Islam in the Russian Federation
APPENDIX 3
Nafigullah Ashirov
Chairman of the Moslem Board for the Asian part of Russia, cochairman
of the Council of Muftis in Russia2
Nafigullah Ashirov was born on 10 September 1954, at the Yurty Tachimovskiye
village near Tyumen. He spent his childhood at his village. His ancestors are
descenders from the Tatars who call themselves Bukharians.
Ashirov was an active member of the Islamic community since the opening of a
mosque in Tobolsk in 1979. He took private lessons on Islam from the local imam
and later became a muezzin.
After the restrictions on religion were relieved, he graduated from the Mir-Arab
madrasah in Bukhara and later the Amir Abdel Kader Islamic University in Algiers
majoring in Islamic Call (dagvat).
After graduation from the university in 1992, Ashirov worked as first deputy mufti
of the Republic of Bashkortostan and chairman of the executive committee of the
Supreme Coordinating Centre of the Moslem Boards in Russia and later the
chairman of the centre.
Sheikh Ashirov is an honorary member of the patrons’ board of the Islamic Call, an
international organization based in Khartoum, Sudan, and member of the patrons’
board of the European Islamic Conference uniting Islamic organizations in
European countries.
He has taken part in many international conferences and symposia and met leaders
of major Islamic countries and international Islamic organizations. He was a
signatory to several cooperation agreements between Moslem organizations in
Russia and overseas Islamic foundations through which Ashirov initiated the
construction of mosques and madrasah in various regions in the Russian
Federation. In cooperation with international Islamic universities, he has made a
considerable contribution to the training of theological cadres. He is an active
supporter of the idea of Islamic unity and brotherhood. With his assistance, an
Islamic college called Rasul-Akram has been opened in Moscow to train students
from all over Russia.
He led Russian pilgrims to Mecca on five occasions.
In August 1997, a conference of Moslems from the Urals, Siberia and the Far East
elected Sheikh Ashirov chairman and supreme mufti of the Moslem Board for the
Asian part of Russia.
In 1998, an enlarged meeting of the Council of Muftis in Russia elected him cochairman
of the Council of Muftis in Russia
2 http://www.interfax-religion.com/?act=bio&div=7
17
06/53 Dr Mark A Smith
APPENDIX 4
Talgat Tadzhuddin
Central Spiritual Administration of the Moslems of Russia and the
European part of the CIS.3
Talgat Tadzhuddin was born on 12 October 1948 in Kazan. In October 1966 he
commenced studying at the Madras Mir Arab in Bukhara, graduating in 1973. In
this year he was chosen as the second imam of the Kazan mosque Al Mardzhani.
He then went to study at the Islamic University of Al Azkhar in Cairo, graduating in
1978. Whilst at Al Azkhar, he went on the haj, and later led Soviet Moslem
pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia. In 1978 he was also chosen as the first imam of the
Kazan mosque. In June 1980 at the congress of the Moslems of the European part
of the USSR and Siberia he was elected mufti and chairman of the Spiritual
Administration of the Moslems of the European part of the USSR and Siberia. This
election took place with the approval of the USSR Council of Ministers and the
CPSU Central Committee.
In May 1990 at the convocation of the heads of the Spiritual Administrations of the
Moslems of the USSR, he was elected chairman of the Administration of
International Ties of the Moslem Organisations of the USSR. This was renamed the
Association of Foreign Ties of Moslem Organisations. He remains chairman of this
body. He was re-elected elected mufti and chairman of the Spiritual Administration
of the Moslems of the European part of the USSR and Siberia in June 1990. In
1990 he assumed the spiritual name Sheikh al-Islam.
In November 1002 the Spiritual Administration was renamed the Central Spiritual
Administration of the Moslems of Russia and the European part of the CIS, and
Tadzhuddin was elected as Supreme Mufti of Russia.
In February 1994 Moscow Mufti Ravil Gaynutdin registered with the Ministry of
Justice the Spiritual Administration of the Moslems of the Central European region
of Russia, which formally remained in the Central Spiritual Administration of the
Moslems of Russia and the European part of the CIS.
Tadzhuddin has two daughters and three sons. He is an official representative of
Russian Moslems in UNESCO, the OIC and European League of Moslems.
3 http://www.peoples.ru/state/priest/talgat_tadzhuddin/interview.html
18
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Islam in the Russian Federation
APPENDIX 5
Banned Terrorist Organisations
On 28 July 2006 Rossiyskaya Gazeta published a list of organizations which the
Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has ruled are terrorist and which are
banned in Russia. The list is:
1. Supreme Military Majlis ul Shura of the Joint Forces of Mujaheddin in the
Caucasus
2. Congress of the People of Ichkeria and Dagestan
3. The Base (Al-Qa'idah)
4. Asbat al-Ansar [also Isbat al-Ansar]
5. Holy War (Al-Jihad or Egyptian Islamic Jihad)
6. Islamic Group (Al-Jama'ah al-Islamiyyah)
7. Moslem Brotherhood (Al-Ikhwan al-Moslemun)
8. Islamic Liberation Party (Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami)
9. Lashkar-e-Taiba
10. Islamic Assembly (Jamaat-e-Islami)
11. Taleban
12. Islamic Party of Turkestan (former Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan)
13. Social Reform Society (Jama'ah al-Islah al-Ijtima'i)
14. Islamic Heritage Revival Society (Jama'ah Ihya ul-Turath al-Islamia)
15. House of The Two Sacred Mosques (Al-Haramayn)
16. Islamic Jihad - Jamaat Mujaheddin
17. Jund ash-Sham
19

Want to Know More …?
See:
Dmitri Glinski, "Russia and its Moslems: The Politics of Identity at the
International-Domestic Frontier," The East European Constitutional Review,
Vol. 11, Nos. 1-2, Winter-Spring 2002.
http://www.law.nyu.edu/eecr/vol11num1_2/special/glinski.pdf
Aislu Yunosova, 'Islam between the Volga River and the Ural Mountains'
http://www.ca-c.org/dataeng/07.yunosova.shtml
Algis Prazauskas, ‘Russia and Islam’
http://www.sipa.columbia.edu/ece/russia-and-islam.pdf
‘Islam, identity and politics in the post-Soviet space,’ Special issues of the
Kazan Federalist Winter 2005 (in Russian)
http://www.kazanfed.ru/en/publications/kazanfederalist/2005/
http://eng.islam.ru/
Alexey Malashenko ‘The situation inside Russia,’ Bitter Lemons
International April 06, 2006 Edition 13 Volume 4
http://www.bitterlemons-international.org/inside.php?id=516
Disclaimer
The views expressed in this paper are
entirely and solely those of the author and do not necessarily
reflect official thinking and policy either of Her Majesty’s
Government or of the Ministry of Defence.”
ISBN 1-905058-98-5

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Swindon Fax: (44) 1793 788841
SN6 8TS Email: csrc@da.mod.uk
England http://www.defac.ac.uk/csrc
ISBN 1-905058-98-5
Tags: Россия., ислам, исламский фундаментализм
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