The Commonwealth of Independent States
Anti-Terrorism Center

Theses of the speech of the Head of CIS Anti-Terrorism Center Colonel General A. Novikov at the International Research and Practice Conference on "Prevention of Youth Involvement into Terrorist and Extremist Organizations" (Belgorod, Russia)

"Dear Colleagues!

At the beginning of my speech, I would like to inform you about the extremist and terrorist activity on the territory of CIS member-states. It will allow evaluating the scale and nature of the threats to the security of our states. In 2014 there were registered 1515 crimes of a terrorist nature on the territory of CIS countries.This is almost twice as much than in 2013. Extremist crimes have a negative dynamic too. In 2013, there were registered 1197 extremist crimes in the CIS, in 2014 - 1474. It should be emphasized that we are talking not only about the actually committed terrorist acts, but also about those crimes that create a kind of “infrastructure” of terrorism: involvement in terrorist organizations, their financing and other material support, and propaganda of ideas of terrorism.
In addition, the statistical dynamics of terrorist activities, on the one hand, reflect the actual situation, on the other hand demonstrate the offensive strategy of law enforcement, intelligence agencies and security authorities that promptly identify and suppress "infrastructure" of crimes facilitating the terrorist activity. Likewise is the case with criminal counteraction to extremism.
In the Russian Federation in 2012 there were registered 696 extremist crimes, in 2013 - 896, and in 2014 - 1034. I can assure our audience that the General Directorate for Combating Extremism of the Ministry of Interior of the Russian Federation and its territorial divisions are making efforts to identify and expose persons engaged in propaganda of extremist ideas and involved in such organizations. Law enforcement in cooperation with state authorities, local governments and courts work not only in the field of criminal law, but in administrative and legal response to extremism as well. Improvement of professional training of the personnel of the territorial divisions is also of high importance. Here are some figures. Today following the initiative of the competent authorities more than 20 terrorist and 40 extremist organizations have been banned by courts of the Russian Federation. Among the organizations recognized as terrorist or extremist are not just radical Islamist, but quasi-religious organizations too, including the quasi-Christian profile organizations, as well as ultranationalist and neo-Nazi organizations. In 2014, "Fayzrahmanisty" (Tatarstan), Indigenous people of Russian people (Moscow region), "Muslim religious organization Borowski in Tyumen region " were desigated as extremist religious groups. In 2015the work was carried out in relation to such organizations as "Jehovah's Witnesses", "Left Front", "Militia named after Minin and Pozharsky”. As you probably know, the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has designated "Right Sector", "Ukrainian National Assembly - Ukrainian National Self-Defense" (UNA-UNSO), "Ukrainian Insurgent Army" (UPA), "Trident named after Stepan Bandera " and "Brotherhood" as extremist organizations.
Dear colleagues! I want to emphasize that we cannot afford to focus on involvement of our youth into activities of such organizations as the notorious "Islamic state" (IS) only. The problem is much more serious and has different profiles. The threat to internal security comes also from destructive quasi-religious sect, neo-Nazi organizations and extreme type organizations. Among the entire mass of religious movements there are a layer of such activities which are contrary to the law ("White Brotherhood", "Southern Cross," "Black Angel", "The Church of the Last Testament" and others). The doctrine of these sects directly calls for violence against the people who are not involved in religious society. Such religious movements are actively practicing mind control as a technology. At the same time experts use as synonym the terms "thought reform", "Programming", "unauthorized introduction into the psyche" also. The fundamentally important is the fact that control of consciousness pursues the ultimate objective of the formation of anti-social attitude to the governmental institutions and society as a whole. It is crucial that in the course of establishing control over the mind, "enemy image" is being formed. The content of the "image" in many ways allows us to identify a group of destructive orientation. The religious sects’ enemy is other religious beliefs. For the nationalist extremists, enemy is a person of other ethnic or racial origin. For terrorist groups or individuals, enemies are state, government, society. A quantitative measure of extremist activity is also associated with the optimization tactics of law enforcement to identify the crimes on the Internet. In 2014, the Russian Ministry of Interior opened 455 criminal cases basing on revealed facts of extremist activity with use of Internet and prosecuted more than 900 people. According to the Russian Ministry of Interior, the courts recognized more than 140 online resources as extremist, banned their distribution in the territory of the Russian Federation and included in the federal list of extremist materials, removed more than two thousand units of extremist content. The experts have long ago noticed the phenomenon of "self-recruitment", i.e. when ideological views of Internet users are rapidly radicalized under the influence of disseminated propaganda that brings them in the ranks of extremist and terrorist organizations. The efficiency of operational counter-measures decreases significantly for the reason that 90% of electronic extremist resources are located outside the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States. If you call a spade a spade, an open public information war has been conducted against Russia and our partners in the CIS. The radicalization of our citizens in many ways is a direct result of external influence. And the subject of subversion acts not always belongs to the media empire of "Islamic state", although its impact is felt most strongly today. I believe that nowadays we can confidently talk about extremism and terrorism (primarily political, carried out under the guise of religious ideas) and a destructive impact on the consciousness as the phenomena of interrelated and forming it into a bunch of independent sociological phenomenon. In fact, the capacity of destructive activities is strengthening. It becomes a very effective mean to destabilize states and sub-regions. For example, prohibited in a number of CIS countries extremist organization "Hizb-ut-Tahrir" is an illegal religious-political structure. Its goal is to replace the existing constitutional system, replace secular power. Based on a political Islam "Hizb ut-Tahrir" does recognize neither the official secular power nor the official clergy. Recruiters of "Hizb-ut-Tahrir" are active on the objects of worship, religious education centers, and, of course, in secular universities. In order to understand the educational profile of universities today have become and could potentially be the subject of heightened interest for recruiters of "Islamic State", we turned to the economic structure of this quasi-state. The question was raised at the XIII International Meeting of Heads of Special Services, Security Agencies and Law Enforcement Agencies, held in July 2015 in Yaroslavl, as well as at the VIII Meeting of the heads of anti-terrorist centers of CIS states. The "Islamic State" is building an economic system that is completely uncharacteristic for other terrorist organizations. Quasi-economy based on sustainable income (besides large-scale purely criminal actions) from the operation of the captured oil fields and energy transportation corridors, captured gold and foreign exchange reserves of National Bank (for example, in Mosul), the introduction of a tax system and customs duties, trade opiates and captured the cultural values. Today, it is a format of the hierarchy-networked multi-functional structure. And this structure requires qualified personnel. There is no secret that the media resources of the "Islamic State" placed the calls for experts, a kind of "employment office". Who is beckoning in the "Islamic state"? Demand supports all military and medical specialties, linguists and translators, IT- and media experts, energy specialists and exploitation of oil and gas fields specialists, chemists, experts in agriculture. We have no doubt that the "IS" today requires not only the rank and file fighters (where recruitment is carried out in an environment really undereducated youth or youth with problematic socialization), but also young people who have a quality education in a particular field. Our youth students are mostly demanded. The experts of the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center prepared an analytical review of "State measures to combat the recruitment of nationals of the Central Asian region to the ranks of terrorist and extremist organizations." Our study showed that in Russia and in Central Asia recruiters’ operation is basically the same, just as the same the circle of recruited - from young people with low educational qualifications to students and successfully educated young people. It makes us reconsider the arsenal of technologies to counter the penetration of extremism in the youth and student environment. I emphasize that the law enforcement and special services of the Commonwealth of Independent States have a clear understanding of the level of problems and directions of effective cooperation. Such areas include: - cooperation of the competent authorities of CIS member-states in identifying potential terrorists on entry/exit channels; - organization of interaction of security, internal affairs, immigration services, border services and other stakeholders to identify potential fighters among persons who have not returned in a timely manner back to the states of the Commonwealth from the Middle East; - cooperation with educational institutions, including universities and religious organizations, for the prevention of persons intending to travel to the Middle East to participate in the hostilities; - advocacy of the Commonwealth government agencies for the prevention of retraction of youth in "mercenary" structure. I think the colleagues will agree with me that the preventive work in universities, in principle, cannot be associated with total control over the students. It is impossible, but also extremely harmful. We are talking about the system of meaningful actions, primarily expository, counterpropaganda character. This work should conduct not only by professional psychologists. The entire teaching staff should conduct it directly in the context of training programs in the social sciences. During preparation for the conference the Anti-Terrorism Centre in cooperation with the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation, the state Department of Internet projects of the International Information Agency "Rossiya Segodnya", external experts complete the development of guidelines to combat the involvement students in extremist activities of terrorist organizations. I think in the course of the conference we will be able to get new ideas and concrete proposals, which are complementing these guidelines and can be used in organization of work with students. Dear colleagues! The purpose of our conference is to elaborate recommendations for the prevention and timely suppression of the facts of involvement of students in the destructive activities of extremist and terrorist organizations. Recruiters of the extremist and terrorist organizations strive to our universities. Our goal is to stop their activity.

Thank you for attention".

Press Office CIS ATC