Factors in the transformation of extremism, especially political extremism into terrorism, are usually associated with economic, political, and ethnopolitical processes within which there are various social groups, including youth. These groups are forced to adapt to crisis socioeconomic situations and a changing social reality in which tension and discontent of people arise due to their poverty, and political and military clashes. In a crisis, people's adaptation is not painless. Many nations in these conditions are subject to globalization while experiencing a negative impact on traditions, local cultures, and lifestyles. In the context of globalization, local brokers, dealers, traders, and other commercial structures work for powerful financial capital, focused on large-scale speculation, making super profits due to the complete impoverishment of ethnic groups. Economic entities trade their ethnonational interests, cultural values, and human lives for financial gain. This causes protest moods in the society and corresponding actions, coupled with opposition and entailing violence.
The main key concepts of the article “radicalism”, “extremism” and “terrorism” are interconnected and are systematically used in political discourse and scientific analysis. Extremism as an asocial phenomenon is an extreme form of social manifestation that denies the laws and norms of behaviour established in the state. Being a social deviation, extremism, unlike terrorism, is not always violence. Terrorism is restricted to nothing but violence, threats to life, and the physical destruction of people. Terrorism is an extremely radical use of evil, it acts as a deterrent. In this case, the weak side is forced to accept the requirements and conditions of the strong side.
The spread of extremism and the strengthening of its threat on a global scale lead to the development of legislation that defines measures to combat extremism and its extreme forms, that is separatism and terrorism. In 1994, the United Nations adopted the Declaration on Measures to Eliminate International Terrorism 1994. For the first time, the legislative consolidation of the norms and principles of this phenomenon in the concept of "extremism" was found in the Shanghai Convention of June 15, 2001. On September 8, 2006, the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy was passed. To prevent extremist manifestations in Russia, a Presidential Decree "On Measure to Ensure Coordinated Activities of State Power Bodies in Fighting Fascism and Other Forms of Political Extremism in the Russian Federation" was issued. This decree was one of the first normative acts in the field of countering extremism in Russia (ChR Education Department, 2013).
Studying extremism in the youth environment, E. A. Pain connects it with various manifestations of social injustice, primarily with the deterioration of the financial situation of this category of the population, its discrimination, and the limited forms of their protection. These reasons, as this author notes, indicate that the main problems that cause various protest forms of youth self-organization are social injustice, and violation of the economic and constitutional rights of young citizens (Panin, 2002).
There is a concept denying that people are driven to terrorist activities by poverty and a low level of education. Statistics show that "half of the world's population lives on $2 a day or less. More than one billion people have only a primary education, and about 785 million adults are illiterate" (Krueger, 2007). Based on this, Krueger argues that "if poverty and low levels of education were indeed the causes of terrorism, then the world would be teeming with terrorists intent on destroying our way of life” (Krueger, 2007).
Regarding the explanation of the economic causes of terrorism, there is another point of view, stating that “individuals become terrorists when participation in the implementation of terrorist attacks is more profitable than finding a job in the labor market”. According to this concept:
With a growing economy and falling unemployment, individuals have many opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills, so terrorist organizations have to recruit from among people who are not capable of anything. In the context of the economic crisis, the leaders of the terrorist underground, on the contrary, can afford to recruit well-educated personnel who, for objective reasons, cannot find a decent job”. Supporters of this position believe that "acute unemployment in accordance with the standard deviation leads to an increase in the likelihood of hiring an educated terrorist by 34.3 %, an adult (over 20 years old) by 5.57 %, and an experienced terrorist by 33.5 % (Benmelech et al., 2010, p. 87).
The positions expressed are reflected in the socio-philosophical and political science discourse of Russian researchers, who often deny the socio-economic basis of terrorism. However, when considering the socio-economic condition of specific terrorists in Russia, we can conclude that they cannot be classified as economically secure people.
In Russia, at the state level, laws have been adopted that allow for the prevention of countering extremism and terrorism. A significant role in this is played by local political and religious elites, who use the ethnocultural resource, customs, and traditions of peoples as an instrument of counteraction. It also contributes to the formation of the correct view and behavior in society among the younger generation and aims young people at creative, cultural activities.
The phenomenon of terrorism as an anti-social and anti-cultural phenomenon, which has become widespread in the modern world and has become one of the global problems, is not something fundamentally new in the life of mankind. Its appearance is rooted deep in history. The creation of states and empires, conquests and wars, and the formation and spread of world religions were not without actions, which since the end of the 18th century have been called “terror” or “terrorism”. Terrorism has never disappeared from civilization, only its scale, methods, and forms of manifestation have changed. An important feature of terrorism in the late 20th and early 21st centuries is its wide publicity in the media. They are committed even in front of all mankind (suffice it to recall the television broadcast of the terrorist attack on the towers of the Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001).
Thus, there is a widespread demonstration of violence and fear. Societies and states are aware of the need to implement measures to counter and prevent extremism and terrorism, which should be based on a thorough knowledge of legal norms of an international and domestic nature. Within the state, it is also necessary to mobilize ethnocultural values that condemn evil, violence, and crimes in society.
The article reveals the content of the concepts of "extremism", and "terrorism", their relationship with socio-historical processes, the reasons for their determination, and the features of their distribution. A special danger of religiously tinged terrorism is revealed, hiding behind, for example, Islamic slogans.
The Russian revolutionary Nechaev saw the strategy of terror in the social struggle. The revolutionary enters the state and so-called educated world and lives only with the goal of its complete, speedy destruction. People who are especially harmful to the revolutionary organization must be killed. Such people, whose sudden and violent death can instill the greatest fear in the government and, depriving it of intelligent and energetic figures, deprive it of strength.
Fear is viewed by terrorists who bring violence and death as an important political weapon. Overcoming them is the major challenge of the state and social nature. To do this, it is necessary to eradicate the shortcomings that exist in the ideology and practice of confronting extremism and terrorism.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the paper is to identify the features of the manifestation of extremism and terrorism, their criminal nature, the negative impact on society, and, separately, on the younger generation. The development of measures to counter and prevent terrorism and extremism, as well as their successful use, is the basis for the socio-political stabilization of society in Russia.
The research methods in the article are analysis, synthesis, and generalizations, as well as general scientific methods that allow us to consider the problem as a system of interrelated phenomena and elements. A cross-cultural approach is also applied, based on which data from the media, statistics, and scientific publications are analysed.
The phenomenon of extremism under certain conditions turns into terrorism. Terrorism is an extreme form of radicalism that orients people toward the violence and cruelty carried out in the commission of illegal acts. To counter the manifestations of political and religious extremism in Russia, appropriate measures are being taken. The government of the Russian Federation adopts a resolution "On Military-Patriotic Youth and Children's Associations", the federal target program "Formation of Attitudes of Tolerant Mindset and Prevention of Extremism in Russian Society" (was designed for 2001-2005). The Federal Law “On Combating Terrorism” of June 25, 1998, and the Federal Constitutional Law “On the State of Emergency” of May 30, 2001, were significant steps taken to relieve social tensions and eradicate the causes and conditions that contribute to the emergence and deepening of socio-political, economic and other problems. They consolidated the main provisions regulating the conceptual and organizational foundations of countering extremism and terrorism.
The fundamental legal instruments that play a significant part in determining the limits and measures to combat the threats and dangers of the consequences of these social phenomena were the Federal Laws of the Russian Federation No. 114-FL “On Counteracting Extremist Activity” dated July 25, 2002, and “On Countering Terrorism” dated March 6, 2006.
These federal laws were aimed at protecting the rights and freedoms of man and citizen, the foundations of the constitutional order, and ensuring the integrity and security of the Russian Federation. They define the legal and organizational foundations for countering extremist activity.
Modern terrorism has several distinctive socio-psychological features. The essence of terrorism as a psychological pressure is the deliberate creation of an atmosphere of fear, depression, and tension created not only at the individual level but at the social level as well. This factor affects the hostages, forcing them to take some action in the interests of terrorist criminals. For terrorists, it is important not to kill people, but to intimidate and demoralize them.
The cultural basis of terrorism is nihilism connected with the immunity of ethical norms. Universal human values are rejected in terrorism, the fundamental human right, the right to life, is denied. Another essential feature of terrorism is the public nature of the crime. Terrorism is always a challenge to society; it does not function without wide publicity and open presentation of demands.
Demonstration of their crimes through the media is particularly essential for modern terrorism. Terrorists need a large audience and a broad response. Often, the media create a “virtual space” for terrorists, through which they try to achieve political and psychological influence on the authorities and people. Recently, the question of the moral responsibility of the media has been increasingly raised.
It is necessary to overcome the shortcomings in the ideological work against extremism and terrorism, which have a regional and international character. The Dagestan researcher Abdulagatov (2021) draws attention to this. He fixes these shortcomings in the events in Syria, as well as in the information and ideological work directed against Islamic radicals both in Dagestan and in Russia.
As a method of countering extremism and terrorism, it is important to widely use ethnocultural traditions as the foundation of the existence of an ethnic group. However, the pressure exerted by the innovations of globalism is enormous. Under such conditions, national leaders lose the will to resist the "neo-colonizers" who, under the slogan of de-Sovietization of ethnic cultures, impose a ruthless “capitalization”, a wild market culture, and a “fast food” culture. This causes opposition from the side of traditionalists, forces that do not accept radical, extremist “innovations”.
The conflict between global "cultural innovation" and local ethnic culture will hardly be resolved in favour of mass culture. It is not possible to implement it in a country with strong historical, cultural, and ethnoconfessional traditions and a high level of patriotism. Meanwhile, such countries include Russia, Turkey, China, Japan, etc. Patriotism, the concept of common cultural solidarity, and interethnic unity are relatively firm in these countries.
These values are also stable in the North Caucasus as an integral part of Russia, and their destruction under the influence of external factors of a global nature is not possible. This is evidenced by the experience of the brutal confrontation between traditions and liberal-democratic values (within which Islamist, radical extremist phenomena spread) acquired by the peoples of the North Caucasus in the 90s. At a new stage of their socio-cultural development, associated with the strengthening of Russia, they are united on the basis of national innovations.
Today, the term “terrorism” has an exclusively political connotation, it is inevitably associated with power, the pursuit of power, the acquisition of power, and its use to achieve political change. Terrorism is violence or the threat of violence used and directed to achieve or advance some political goal.
With all the modifications throughout history, the core of terrorism remains unchanged. Extremist-minded subjects (individuals, groups, and even the state), through demonstrative intimidation (psychological, moral, physical), and, if necessary, the destruction of people, seek to achieve the fulfilment of their state-political, social, ethnic, confessional, and other socially significant requirements and conditions.
Under globalization and the massive spread of mobile communications, terrorism has shed its former national and territorial boundaries and entered the transnational and international levels. Terrorism of the 21st century is not the actions of individuals and not single isolated acts of violence, but a multi-level and branched system of ideological and practical actions with different geopolitical, ideological, religious tasks and motivations. These actions are carried out by ultra-radical forces that have significant financial, informational, material, and technical resources and armed formations.
Abdulagatov, Z. (2021). Family and school in solving the problems of prevention of religious extremism and terrorism (on the example of the Republic of Dagestan). Institute of History, Archeology, and Ethnography of the Dagestan Federal Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Benmelech, E., Berrebi, C. K., & Esteban, F. (2010). Economic Conditions and the Quality of Suicide Terrorism. NBER Working paper.
ChR Education Department (2013). A unified concept of spiritual and moral education and development of the younger generation of the Chechen Republic. Grozny.
Krueger, L. (2007). What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism. Princeton.
Panin, E. A. (2002). The social nature of extremism and terrorism. Social sciences and modernity, 4, 113–124.
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23 December 2022
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Soltamuradov, M. D., Gatsieva, T. I., & Akaev, A. V. (2022). Political, Legal, And Socio-Cultural Measures To Counter Extremism And Terrorism. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization- ISCKMC 2022, vol 129. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1060-1065). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.12.135