THE VERY TERM "ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALism" symbolizes religious fanaticism, terrorism, backward social and legal arrangements, and human-rights abuses - as much to Russians as to Westerners. Perhaps as a function of the need to find a post-Cold War enemy, Russian federal authorities characterize Islamic fundamentalism as an important external threat. The Russian government portrays itself as a bulwark against the Muslim extremism that it claims is making inroads in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
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