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date: 18 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the factors behind the resilience and vitality of Islam in Central Asia and the Caucasus despite more than a century of Russian and Soviet rule. These include Islam’s deep historic roots; its central role as an identity marker for the peoples of these regions and as an ethical, moral, legal, and cultural framework for life; its role as an instrument of resistance against Russian/Soviet domination and Russification/Sovietization; the failure of the USSR to deliver its economic and political promises; and the inconsistent character of tsarist and Soviet treatment of Islam. The politicization and radicalization of Islam in the post-Soviet era is also discussed.

Keywords: Islam, Central Asia, Caucasus, Soviet Union, Russia, post-Soviet era, politicization, radicalization

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