Average age of Daesh recruits is 23 years
According to analysts of the special services, about 2000 Russian citizens are fighting in the ranks of Daesh. But if we look at other CIS countries, it is somewhere around 7000 people.
Elena Sutormina, head of the project ‘Combating ISIS recruiters in Russia’ in the Public Chamber of the RF, says that often relatives do not notice that their children are under the influence and have come under the impact of radical Islamic propaganda. The Public Chamber has recently opened a hotline for them. During this time the hotline has received 39 calls. “Of these, 34 appeals were about specific instances of missing people, attempts to recruit and extremist propaganda on the Internet. Three appeals were proposals on the issue of the promotion of extreme Islamic ideas in Russia, and during the investigation it was found out that the appeals were caused by reasons of a domestic nature. That is, our job is constructed so that we are carefully considering every application, considering, consult with experts, once again getting in touch with the applicants, talking with them. If the instances of recruitment and missing people are confirmed, we send an appeal to the Russian Interior Ministry, and if there is a need – to the FSB.”
Speaking about the geography of the hotline, Sutormina pointed out that three appeals were from St. Petersburg, one from the Leningrad region, the Murmansk region, the Republic of Komi, 11 appeals were from Moscow, the Moscow region, Kaluga, Bryansk, the Kursk region, the Republic of Adygea, the Volgograd, Nenets and Kursk Regions, the Republic of Dagestan, the Republic of Crimea. From Crimea it was not a case of recruitment, namely, we have received links to extremist websites, we have been asked to close them.
The head of the project emphasizes a resonant appeal from the Republic of Adygeya about a missing 24-year-old resident of Adygeisk, who left with his wife and young child, he went to the Middle East. “The issue of Daesh ideology propaganda among some imams of mosques on the territory of Russia was raised in this appeal. I must say that this statement was brought by parents to the Public Chamber, and the applicants have collected about 3500 signatures of Adygeisk residents who supported this appeal. There has been a journalistic investigation, we appealed to the Spiritual Directorate of the Muslims of Adygeisk and also to the leaders of the Republic, and a journalistic investigation has been conducted.”
The analysis of our hotline shows that the Daesh threat is relevant not only to those regions of Russia, as it was considered previously, where there are mostly Muslim populations. The victims of such outreach activities are most often young people, citizens of the Russian Federation, the average age is somewhere around 23 years. Gender does not play a decisive role. That is, both girls and men are often subjected to Islamist propaganda.
“A very large number of converts have not been followers of Islam, in general, or have been atheists. The Islamists broadcast in 24 languages. The third language is Russian. They consider Russia as a promising country for recruitment,” Sutormina says.