Browse Exhibits (3 total)

Containment of Islamic Insurgency (Teaching module)


This teaching module examines the case of the Basmachi movement as Islamic insurgency and identity-based conflict, and its containment by the government in Central Asia in the 1920s. Using the primary source materials from the RPI collection, students will learn:

  1. What political, economic, and social factors influenced people to join the Basmachi movement;
  2. What economic and social policies were effective in the containment of the mass violence;
  3. How the acceptance of both Soviet laws and the Sharia helped in fighting with the Islamist insurgency.

Included is a description of theoretical concepts, case analysis, and bibliograhy.

Imperial Management and Cooptation of Elites in Russia’s Wars: Past and Present

Stephen Blank is Senior Fellow at American Foreign Policy Council

July 2017

In the course of building and then losing an empire at least twice and striving again to recover at least some of its lost legacy the Russian state has acquired an immense amount of experience in what British analysts have called wars of imperial management, counterinsurgency, power projection beyond Russia’s borders, etc. One of the hallmarks of this historical experience is a repeated pattern of cooptation of elites in foreign territories and with it an unending tactical flexibility that exploits ethno-religious divisions among peoples on its periphery and even beyond to break up hostile or targeted states or at least to neutralize their ability to resist Russia’s strategies for advancing its national interest.

Russia: The Counterinsurgency State

Stephen Blank is Senior Fellow at American Foreign Policy Council

February 2017

The current war in the North Caucasus, in historical perspective (along with the ongoing war in Ukraine), represent the latest in an apparently unending centuries-long set of struggles over imperial “space” in and around Russia. Therefore the study of these wars sheds new light on older practices and paradigms and vice versa.  Looking backward as well as forward allows us to see what has worked and what has failed in Russian counterinsurgency (COIN).  Specifically, here we intend to reveal these ongoing paradigms in Muslim areas of the USSR, e.g. Central Asia and the North Caucasus by examining those practices of the 1920s in the light of the contemporary war in Chechnya that Moscow won but also in the light of the current struggle in the North Caucasus where no resolution appears in sight.