October 11, 2003


Russia: the impact of Islamic parties on the elections (RFE/RL (Un)Civil Societies, 9 October 2003)

There are about 20 million Muslims in the Russian Federation, or 15 percent of the population. Researchers at the Center for Strategic and International Studies say the figure could be anywhere from 6 million to 30 million, depending on the political and religious agendas of those counting, but the number of 20 million is now widely accepted, and used to determine Russia's quota for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, or the hajj.

Experts say that by 2010, if present trends continue, 40 percent of Russia's 18-year-old men will come from historically Islamic peoples within the Russian Federation. They will be of draft age -- and also of voting age. Their brand of Islam may be cultural and moral rather than spiritual. Only 4 million to 5 million of all Muslims in Russia are said to regularly practice their religion, experts say, although the higher birthrate of Muslims means they are likely to become more visible and active in politics. This growing Muslim population was a major factor cited in Russia's recent announcement that it intended to join the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), whose membership of 56 countries plus Palestine includes the Central Asian nations.

Manifest Destiny anyone?

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 11, 2003 7:50 AM

Or perhaps apartheid instead (i.e., Chechnya).

I wonder if Muslim groups have been evangelizing in Russia the way Christians have since 1991. Or has it been more like 650 AD?

Posted by: jim hamlen at October 11, 2003 9:30 AM

Can Russia and France just hand us a spare set of keys to the garage their nukes are in now, to be used only in case of the triumph of the Dar es Islam?

Posted by: Matt C at October 11, 2003 11:17 AM

About a decade ago the Russian Empire lost its 19th century accretions. Looks like sometime in the next couple of decades it's going to contract further -- back to the border before Catherine and Elizabeth -- as it loses Siberia and everything else east of the Urals and south of the Volga. Will be interesting to see if the Chinese will permit a Republic of Eastern Siberia (Vostochnii Sibir) that wants to be allied to the Japanese and Americans.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at October 11, 2003 2:07 PM