Strengthening the prevention of radicalisation in the North Caucasus and Tatarstan

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The Project

Recent decades have seen the Russian North Caucasus repeatedly become the backdrop of war and violence. In particular, the hostage crisis of Beslan (2004), in which over 300 people were killed, left a deep impression on the Russian public consciousness. Developments in attempts at ideological radicalization under national and religious pretexts continue to have a destabilizing effect on the region. With a lack of variety in socio-economic perspectives, children and young adults in particular are at risk of falling victim to the ideology of radical beliefs.

This is the point upon which the project "Strengthening the prevention of radicalisation in the North Caucasus and Tatarstan" is based, implemented by the DRA in conjunction with civil society partners from Russia and France. In all three countries there is a need for preventive action beyond the police and the legal system. Relevant measures can reach children and young people at an early stage and prevent them from becoming victims or perpetrators of ideologically motivated violence. These range from youth counselling services and social work, through education both inside and outside the classroom, to socio-psychological work with both the victims and the perpetrators.

Like in Germany and France, attempts are being made in Russia to methodically develop measures to prevent radicalisation. However, solid structures are not yet sufficiently available in this field. In Germany and France, too, their establishment is in no way complete. In view of the cross-border nature of this issue, there has been to date a lack of international expert exchange between advocates in this field of work.

Goals of the project

  • Education and raising awareness about religious extremism, its ideology and the causes and consequences of violent behaviour.
  • Early recognition of the radicalisation processes and how it is expressed. Preventing or reversing radicalisation processes through deconstruction of young people’s anti-democratic attitudes and violent behaviour, and protecting victims.
  • Sustainable enabling and networking of experts to strengthen prevention work in the North Caucasus. Integration into international networks for further professional development and consolidation of work in preventing radicalisation.
  • Awareness and increased openness about the use of preventive measures amongst all relevant actors in youth work in Russia;
  •  Strengthening the role of NGOs in prevention work in Russia.

How do we do this?

For the first time, the project can enable a comprehensive interregional and international networking of experts for the mutual transfer of knowledge and experience. The aim is to establish and expand a prevention network from this association, which will enable a rapid and long-term exchange of expertise on the topic of preventing radicalisation amongst youth. The advocates come from six Russian Federation subjects considered to be particularly at risk (Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria and Tatarstan). The project also includes specialist conferences and further training for specialists who, based on the training, can develop suitable prevention measures in their work with young people.

Project Partners

Women for development (WfD), Chechnya, has been working since 2002 on gender equality, radicalisation prevention, legal and social counselling in the North Caucasus and runs further training courses on female empowerment, information on women's rights, the fight against domestic violence and methods of preventing radicalisation.

Destination Est (D’EST) — was founded as a dialogue platform between Russian civil society organisations and French activists and politicians. It develops educational programmes for young people to strengthen bilateral civil society relations and promotes a wide range of exchange programmes between the two countries