Isis launches Russian-language propaganda channel
he militant group Islamic State has stepped up its Russian-language propaganda efforts, another sign it is becoming more powerful in the post-Soviet countries.
The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said recently that 2,000 Russian nationals are currently fighting in Syria or Iraq. In June, the country’s security council chief, Nikolai Patrushev, said that there was “no possibility” of stemming the tide of fighters.
Though Russian-speaking Islamic State (Isis) militants have put out their own messages for some time, in recent weeks a new Russian-language wing, Furat Media, has emerged, with Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts broadcasting under a river-themed logo.
It was through Furat that the militant group declared the establishment of a province in the North Caucasus, inside the Russian Federation itself. The propaganda wing also issued a professionally produced video, Unity Of The Mujahideen Of The Caucasus, which included interviews with Russian-speaking militants in Iraq and Syria. Dozens more are easily available for download from their site.
Previous Russian-language output had been piecemeal, with most videos either without subtitles or arriving after the Arabic versions were broadcast. Much was produced from outside of Isis-controlled territory.
Now Furat, which was announced on 5 June and began tweeting on 18 June, produces a mix of subtitled videos, addresses from Isis militants, DVDs, motivational messages, listicles, and propaganda in original Russian produced inside Syria and Iraq.
Despite crackdowns on pro-Isis accounts by Twitter and Facebook, the number broadcasting and sharing Jihadi material is vast – the Bookings Institute in late 2014 estimated that there were over 46,000 accounts with over a thousand followers used by Isis supporters.
Furat has so far been resilient to official takedowns, though its homepages on Russian social website VKontakte have been closed. A Facebook account has already been banned but the group opened a new, closed one in July. Just over a