How Serious Is the New ISIS Threat to Russia?

On July 31, the ISIS terrorist group published a video calling to kill Russians. Evgenia Gvozdeva, Director of Production at the Brussels-based European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center told about how serious these threats could be and how Russia should respond.

“This nine-minute video was released by the al-Furat Media Group, which is one of the official ISIS media groups releasing high-quality propaganda videos in English, French, Arabic and other languages. Considering the source that released it, this video should be taken rather seriously,” Gvozdeva told

“This threat directly parallels an address made by ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani in 2014, in which he called for the same kind of attacks: to attack infidels at their homes and to attack those who are closest by. This rhetoric, which has become increasingly frequent in ISIS propaganda in recent months, can be seen in the recent terrorist attacks in France and Germany. Today we see that the terrorist in the most recent video uses the same rhetoric,” Gvozdeva said.

She noted that the most recent threats from ISIS are addressed toward people who live in countries which are conducting military operations against ISIS in Syria.

“The first minute of the video has images of the leaders of the US, UK, France and Russia, so the video threatens the leaders of countries taking part in operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq,” Gvozdeva noted.

Gvozdeva also pointed out that this is not the first video threatening Russia to be released by the group.

“On October 14, 2015 Abu Mohammed al-Adnani called for jihad against Russians and Americans. Unfortunately, what we deal with is not an individual threat, but rather regular calls of Islamic terrorists for jihad in Russia,” she stressed.

Still, threats from ISIS should not be underestimated, according to Gvozdeva.

“Unfortunately, these types of threats should be perceived rather seriously because since the beginning of the Syrian conflict, many Russian citizens have joined ISIS, and some have already returned to Russia. However, the internal security policy that Russia has pursued in the past several years gives off a clear certainty that the necessary measures are being made to prevent any attempts of both individual attacks and attacks perpetrated by cells of the group,” Gvozdeva said.

She added that the Russian government is currently conducting an efficient monitoring system for ISIS sympathizers.

“It should be said that since the beginning of the Syria operation, Russian security forces are very vigilant and attentive toward people who could present a danger as a result of their confirmed or unconfirmed connections to ISIS. Russia is conducting a rather consistent and sensible policy to monitor all people who at a certain time traveled to ISIS-held territory in Syria, or were poised to make such a journey,” she said.

“Indeed, ISIS has demonstrated that its threats are serious, but at the same time Russia’s domestic and international policies allows us to say that there is no potential for ISIS supporters to organize any sort of large-scale terrorist attack on Russian territory,” she concluded.

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