While Russia’s military involvement in the war in Syria has received great attention, less focus has been directed at the foreign fighters from Russia and other post-Soviet states who have joined the Islamic State and other Jihadist groups. The emergence of these Jihadists has been a gradual process, which began in the 1990s, and it has now led to a situation where an estimated 7,000 Russians and 3,000 Central Asians are fighting in Syria. These figures present a challenge for the various states fighting the Jihadist groups, but they pose a much greater problem for the Russian and other national authorities, who will have to handle the fighters, when they return home.
This policy paper presents an inclusive, region-wide plan for creating a South Caucasus Energy Security Management agency. Based on inputs from several multinational organizations, the proposed agency could play a role in the larger diplomatic process underway in the region.
These policy recommendations propose leveraging the South Caucasus media to reshape public opinion and to prepare for constructive change in relations among groups locked in frozen conflict in the South Caucasus.