RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL ELITES IN THE NORTHERN CAUCASUS: FORMATION, IDEOLOGICAL CONTRADICTIONS, AND PRACTICAL OPPOSITION

Vakhit AKAEV


Vakhit Akaev, D.Sc. (Philos.), Professor, Chief Researcher at the Ibragimov Scientific Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences (Grozny, the Russian Federation)


ABSTRACT

This article highlights the main factors relating to the formation of the religious and political (Islamic) elites in the Northern Caucasus caused by Gorbachevs perestroika, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the reforms conducted in Russia, the creation of an ideological vacuum, and the birth of market relations. The sociocultural context that formed has given rise to an Islamic revival, the penetration of Salafi (Wahhabi) ideas into the region, and the formation of a neo-clergy that is not only claiming a leading role in the religious life of Muslims, but also active participation in politics, right down to preparing a state coup.

Today, the official and unofficial Muslim elites of the Northern Caucasus are in a state of confrontation; despite this, certain steps are nevertheless being taken to establish relations.

Keywords: elites, religious and political elites, traditional Islam, the Northern Caucasus, Russia, Islamic revival, Sufism, Salafism, Wahhabism, conflicts, contradictions, formation of the clergy, neo-clergy.

Introduction

The word elite implies the part of society that, possessing real power, has an influence on social processes; it can be official (formal) or unofficial (informal); the representatives of the latter do not possess power, but have sufficient levers of influence on society. The elite is an important and inseparable part of society, often oriented toward resolving the economic, political, and..


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