Over the past decade, radicalization to violent extremism has become a matter of pressing public and political concern in Central Asia. Between 2000 to 5000 Central Asians have left their homes to join extremists in Syria and Afghanistan, and most of them were radicalized as foreign workers in the labor camps of Russia’s cities. While rates are low by global standards, the phenomenon has nonetheless spurred the governments of the region to respond.
Internews, with funding from the European Union, carried out two research projects:
Information flows and radicalization leading to violent extremism in Central Asia was conducted by Search for Common Ground and is aimed at gaining a critical understanding of the link between information ecosystems and radicalization leading to violent extremism (RVE) by identifying and analyzing local drivers of extremist sympathies, pertinent information flows, trusted sources of information, and necessary support to amplify respected and moderate local voices.
Violent extremism in Central Asia, digital space study, was conducted jointly by SecDev Group and Civil Initiative on Internet Policy. It sets out legislative definitions of extremism and extremist content in Central Asian and presents the results of analyses of violent extremism content on Central Asian open social media, blogs and online forums from late 2018, detailing the actors, their use of social media, and the narratives they promulgate.