Until recently, it was the insurgency in neighboring Chechnya that had posed the biggest challenge to Russian leaders. But now, it is the traditionally independent and Muslim Dagestanis whose resentments are turning violent, finding expression in a conservative form of Islam taking root.

In the northern Caucasus, any Dagestanis have joined the conservative Salafi approach to Islam but also see themselves as part of the young, well-educated Facebook generation who are taking a large roll in the uprisings across the Middle East. In Russia, being rebellious often takes the form of protesting the sale of alcohol and what they consider sexual promiscuity–sometimes through violent means.

[June 2011]

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