By Paul Goble
Up to now, Viktoriya Gurevich says, officials in the North Caucasus republics have devoted insufficient attention to families and especially mothers as potentially critical allies in preventing the radicalization of young people there, preferring instead to use broader institutions like schools and media.
The political science graduate student at Ohio State University, says that an appropriate model has been developed over the last five years by Mothers without Borders/Sisters Against Violent Extremism (SAVE) in Nigeria, Pakistan, Northern Ireland, Israel and Palestine (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/344201/).
That program, Gurevich continues, involved close work with several thousand mothers, helping them to identify warning signs of radicalization and providing them with guidance as to how to prevent youthful experimentation from growing into alienation from society and a commitment to use violence. (See Sophie Giscard d’Estaing, “Engaging women in countering violent extremism, “ Gender & Development 25:1 (2017): 103-118.)
Russian officials have been reluctant to move in this direction possibly because of the difficulties of working inside often relatively closed family structures among the non-Russian nations of the North Caucasus; but Gurevich’s argument, presented now by the Kavkaz-Uzel portal, may now find more acceptance.
If that happens, it could represent a major breakthrough in combatting the spread of Islamist radicalism and terrorism there.