Note: This is part of a series. You can read part one here.

The first part of this series demonstrated that Russia does not shy away from using Islamist elements as puppets or proxy soldiers. As proxy soldiers, the jihadists can be deployed outside of Russia’s borders while providing plausible deniability for Moscow as it shores up its near abroad in places like Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

Domestically, Islamists are manipulated by the Russian intelligence services to justify security crackdowns and the suppression of independence movements inspired by nationalism. By doing this, Russia is able to justify aggressive actions as being part of the fight against international terrorism, a narrative that plays quite well. That narrative has only been further legitimized by America’s Global War on Terror.

This article will take a closer look at the Chechen and Georgian Islamists who traveled to Syria and joined the Islamic State, some of them likely doing so under the direction of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).