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Retaliation in Rebellion: The Missing Link to Explaining Insurgent Violence in Dagestan


Journal of Terrorism and Political ViolenceJournal abstract

This article posits that the remnants of archaic sociocultural norms, particularly the honour-imposed custom of retaliation, play a crucial role in the process of insurgent engagement in Russia's autonomous republic of Dagestan. Through a series of interviews with former insurgents, this study outlines two retaliation-centred mechanisms: “individual retaliation” and “spiritual retaliation” in order to explain the microcosm of motives behind insurgent activity in Dagestan. In doing so, this study problematizes the role of Salafi/Jihadist ideology as the main impetus for insurgent violence. Reversing the traditional causal link between violence and religion, this study also demonstrates that the development of Jihadist ideology is a by-product of insurgent mobilization rather than its cause.

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