The Organized Crime-Terrorism Nexus in Post-Soviet Chechnya

  • Tomáš Šmíd
Keywords: Chechnya, Russian Federation, organized crime, terrorism, armed non-state actors


This article deals with the nexus between organized crime and terrorism in the region of post-Soviet Chechnya, and the primary goal is to show the connection between the phenomenon of organized crime and non-state armed actors who are generally labelled as terrorists. As a framework for the analysis, we chose the “Crime-Terror Nexus” typology of Tamara Makarenko. As organized crime and terrorism are interconnected in Chechnya, the organized crime groups in post-Soviet Chechnya usually employ terrorist tactics (and vice versa) for operational purposes. However, in some periods we can find examples of a strong convergence in which criminal and terrorist organizations could merge into a single entity that initially displays characteristics of both types of groups simultaneously. The article also shows that it is very difficult to categorize some Chechen actors, especially those involved in terrorist activities.

Author Biography

Tomáš Šmíd

Born in 1979, he studied History and Political Science at Masaryk University in Brno. He defended his doctoral dissertation in the field of Political Science at the Faculty of Social Studies at Masaryk University. At the same faculty he currently teaches Security and Strategic Studies. In 2009 and 2010 he worked at the MGIMO MID in Moscow, and in the years 2010-2011 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute (CACI) of The Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. Professionally he deals mainly with issues of armed conflicts, organized crime and failure of state power. In terms of territories he is primarily focused on the post-Soviet sector, particularly the Caucasus. He has authored or co-authored several monographs (for example, Organized Crime in Russia and, together with Petr Kupka, Czech Organized Crime: From Extortionists to Corrupt Networks), and numerous articles, conference presentations (for example, at Columbia University in New York), analyses and journalistic texts.